The debate on what is the optimal age to start a business is divided between those who believe that in your 30s, 40s, and 50s you’ve gained enough knowledge, contacts and capital to make it a success, and those who believe twenty-somethings have the energy, passion and lack of external commitments to pull it off; but, what about teenagers? Could they be the key to entrepreneurial success?
Teens with an entrepreneurial spirit have qualities older generations generally don’t. Gone are the days where you need a little black book of contacts to open doors. Internet and technology advancements make the world smaller, with resources and networking opportunities available to us anywhere, anytime. There’s so much information, advice, and support out there from people with loads of experience and knowledge; teens can access seminars, advice clinics, and business events that can help them create successful businesses all from their iPhone.
“Teenagers naturally have an open mind and increased drive to take risks.”
All of this access allows teens to learn from other people’s’ mistakes, instead of having to make their own. They are social media savvy and know how to start a business utilising all the online tools to gain reach, momentum and branding – skills that most of us are struggling to get our heads around.
Teenagers have a lot less to lose than any other generation when it comes to starting a business from the ground up. Start-ups no longer require a hefty initial cost; we don’t need millions of dollars to get a company off of the ground. Your teenager can start a business online, from their bedrooms with minimal financial investment. With just a camera and an idea or opinion to share online, they are ready to work on building an audience, become a social media influencer or a youtuber. There is the potential for big earnings if they find their niche.
Teens and young adults need the ability to be creative and experiment but also need instruction; this is why education is a great place to start. There are plenty of courses available on entrepreneurship, which can help them to grasp which route to take and learn about leadership, time management, and communication, as well as connect them to mentors, leaders, and networks.
Teenagers naturally have an open mind and increased drive to take risks. They thrive on pushing limits, and because of where they are developmentally, teens aren’t usually affected by “knowing better.” They are more likely to try new things without a fear of failure. In fact, failing early on may make them more successful in the long run; studies have shown that even if a teen’s initial venture fails, they have the tenacity to try again, increasing the odds of success.
When it comes to business, not taking risks is even riskier for success. Fear and avoidance of risk taking can be the greatest roadblock to innovation, creativity, growth, and business success. Taking calculated, well researched and informed risks can lead to innovation and success, so a teenagers ability to comfortably risk-take could be their most important asset.
If your teen comes to you with an entrepreneurial idea, don’t dismiss them; ask questions, pose scenarios, and get their minds working. You never know what success your child may find on their journey with the right support and encouragement surrounding them.