People always ask, "What is youth entrepreneurship? Is it just some kid that starts a business?”
During 2012, this column will explore various topics in relation to youth entrepreneurship. It will be analyzed through an equation that applies to all the successful youth entrepreneurs in recent history.
“Youth” is a concept defined by the observer. If someone thinks you are young, then you are youthful to them. This means you could be 9 or 29 – but either way, motivated to start your own business. Therefore, a “youth entrepreneur” is someone that is considered a youth and is an entrepreneur.
The key to being a successful youth entrepreneur is the equation above, and young entrepreneurs have never been more important to the world. So let’s break it down, and start actualizing this equation today.
The main ingredient that makes the young so perfect for entrepreneurship is optimism. Believing that something is possible must be an element of any entrepreneurial endeavor, or it doesn’t have a chance. The next element is resourcefulness. This involves creativity and not running to get borrow money every time you hit a roadblock.
One of the two main barriers for young entrepreneurs listed in the “Young Invincibles” brief from the Kauffman Foundation was lack of financial resources (the other was training). Financial resources can be subsidized through infinite optimism added to infinite resourcefulness. Many major business expenses can be reduced or eliminated entirely by applying a perspective that combines resourcefulness and optimism.
The next element of any enterprise is the need for problems. You have to have a lemon to make lemonade, and you certainly have to make lemonade in order to open up a lemonade stand and turn a profit. Without the ability to identify, analyze and embrace problems as opportunities, there cannot be entrepreneurship on any level. Problems will occur in business, but the individuals with the youthful mindset of “anything is possible” implement the most creative solutions. The way this looks to a consumer is: “Wow, a unique and effective way to solve one of my big problems…I will gladly spend money on that!”
Once infinite optimism and resourcefulness have been combined and focused on a problem, there are two critical components necessary to achieve a young entrepreneur’s goals: resisting fear and taking action. Taking action even when you might be afraid is courage.
After all, what usually happens when people get a great idea? They let fear and inaction rob them of the opportunity to solve a problem, make money from the solution and change the world.
These two are the most difficult - even for young people. We start our lives without fear. We learn to worry about what others think, losing money and our creature comforts being taken away. Learned fear has conquered many would-be revolutionary inventors, societal innovators and empirical entrepreneurs.
In 2012, follow the equation of youth entrepreneurship, and share it with everyone you know. The next generation depends on it!
Amy P. Kelly is an entrepreneur that specializes in ways that businesses can support causes that improve communities and lives. She is Vice President of ClearPath where her team helps entrepreneurs achieve their goals. Amy started her first business at nine selling hair barrettes and is currently working on several new ventures while leading The Lemonhead Movement www.lemonheadsrule.com. Some of her projects include: BodyRejoice, The MomVest, Strategies for Life and YipDeals www.yipdeals.com. Amy has a particular affinity for youth entrepreneurship and is a wife and mother of four. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.