The Under-30 Philosophy: #5 Learning as an Entrepreneur

Source | Entrepreneur : By 

Starting a company in your 20s is very different from doing so in your 30s or 40s. It comes with some advantages, like having a lot of energy and hunger, and some challenges.

The core challenge, in my opinion, is learning how to build a company when you are still discovering yourself. The 20s are all about figuring out what drives them, their core strengths, their leadership style, their weaknesses etc.

Trying to create an entirely new company and a sound culture is different especially when you still are going through significant development as a person. 90% of the time you find yourself in situations where there is no precedence or previous experience you can draw lessons from, either to solve the problem or to manage your reaction to it.

However, this dual challenge does encourage a lot of self-reflection, and these are five core takeaways from my journey so far that I believe are important to consider before taking the plunge into entrepreneurship:

1. Make Sure you Truly Understand What you are Getting Into

In this day and age, it’s easy to get swayed by the glamour of being an entrepreneur. People even romanticize grinding away in a small office for a couple of years before magically seeing that hockey stick growth and becoming successful beyond their wildest dreams This does happen, but only to 0.1% of the 5% of companies that actually make it past the first three years. For the other 4.9%, the grind NEVER ends, and there is always a higher mountain to climb when you reach a summit. Unless you are the kind of person that thrives on unrelenting challenges, uncertainties, and tremendous pressure, think twice before diving!

2. Do Consumer Research, Don’t Just Say you Did

Every entrepreneur undergoes ‘rigorous research’ before launching his or her idea/product. Unfortunately, this ‘rigorous research’ involves asking friends, families, or dinner companions for their opinions. But more often than not, this is not a representative sample of your target market, and will not give you honest feedback in fear of hurting your feelings. In our company, we have launched initiatives supported by heavy research and initiatives supported by gut, and let me tell you that more often than not, research wins. Research gives you indication about design, price, marketing, and significantly increases your chances of success.

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