How to Be a Young Entrepreneur

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How to Be a Young Entrepreneur

How to be a young entrepreneur seems like a simple question with a simple answer: develop a product or service, then market and sell it. It’s not that easy, though. The Internet provides savvy young people easy access to a customer base, but getting seed money can be tough.

Successful Young Entrepreneurs:

Entrepreneur

Age

Company

Catherine Cook

15

MyYearbook.com

Pete Cashmore

20

Mashable

Mikaila Ulmer

11

Me & the Bees Lemonade

Moziah “Mo” Bridges

14

Mo's Bows

Aaron Easaw

18

ACE Venture Capital

Rachel Zietz

16

Gladiator Lacrosse

Ben Pasternak

17

Flogg

Mark Zuckerberg

19

Facebook

David Karp

21

Tumblr

Blake Ross

19

Firefox

John Collison

20

Stripe

Young Entrepreneurs FAQs:

How do young entrepreneurs start?

Like all successful entrepreneurs, young entrepreneurs start with an idea. They see a problem, figure out a way to fix it, and then market their solution. In many cases they'll get help from either their families or seasoned entrepreneurs who see their concept's potential and invest.

Young entrepreneurs have many of the same characteristics of all successful businesspeople: creativity, ambition, excitement about their product, the ability to spend time perfecting and marketing their concept. Today's young entrepreneurs, however, may have an edge in that they've grown up with computers and the web, so there's far less of a learning curve when it comes to using all available tools to promote their products.

Are there available small business loans for young entrepreneurs?

One of the stumbling blocks a young entrepreneur can face is that it's difficult for someone with no appreciable credit history to secure a loan. This is why many young businesspeople start with seed money provided by family members or friends.

Sometimes, however, savvy marketing via social networks can help a young entrepreneur's business take off without much capital. In addition, when a young person can prove that their fledgling business has a sizeable market, they can obtain loans through banks (when a parent cosigns, if the founder is under 18) or established businesspeople looking for investment opportunities. There are also special funds available that are specifically for young entrepreneurs; there's likely a sizeable amount of competition, though, so some of the more risky-seeming endeavors might be overlooked for "sure things."

How Do You Become a Young Entrepreneur?
How Do You Become a Young Entrepreneur?
  • Develop your idea.
  • Research the market.
  • Get seed money.
  • Find a mentor.
  • Create your product.
  • Market appropriately.
  • Evolve accordingly.

What are some good young entrepreneurs' ideas?

From running the local lemonade stand to creating a breakout iPhone app, there are many ways young business owners can become successful. Some ideas may sound as though they wouldn't have huge potential, but young entrepreneurs across America and the world have built companies using these skills:

  • Lawncare or landscaping.
  • Pet walking or pet sitting.
  • Computer programming or repair.
  • Small engine repair.
  • Recycling services.
  • Grocery shopping / food delivery.
  • Senior care.
  • Snow shoveling / snowblowing.
  • Furniture refinishing / repair.
  • Handmade gifts.

Is there a young entrepreneurs' academy or organization?

There are several. Many local Chambers of Commerce or Small Business Associations have classes and programs for young small business owners. In addition, the Young Entrepreneurs Academy, or YEA!, has programs nationwide for potential business owners from grades 6 through 12.

YEA! provides young people the opportunity to develop a business idea, research the potential market, come up with a solid business plan, pitch their ideas to a group of interested investors, and launch their own companies. They also visit local companies to learn more about how businesses are run, and successful local businesspeople visit to tell the young entrepreneurs stories of their journeys through entrepreneurship.

How to Encourage Young Entrepreneurs
How to Encourage Young Entrepreneurs:
  • Help them brainstorm their idea.
  • Advise them to find a mentor.
  • Encourage them to learn from other young entrepreneurs.
  • Invest in their business.
  • Support them through failures and successes.