Being a high-achieving, college-bound young entrepreneur means more than taking all AP classes. It means starting a business and working hard to see it succeed. But aside from an email inbox full of acceptance letters and a shelf full of trophies, how do you recognize when your enterprise has reached something you can truly call “success?”
1. YOU’RE THINKING ABOUT EXPANDING THE BUSINESS
When you started your soap-making business, you were happy to have customers from around your neighborhood. But now, you’re looking at website builders and calculating shipping costs so you can sell to customers you’ve never met who live in different time zones. What’s more, you’re making enough profits to pull it off – easily.
No matter how big or small your dream began its life, you are now at a point where you may need to hire a team just to keep things running.
2. OTHERS ASK FOR YOUR ADVICE
Someone at school you barely know has sought you out and asked for your help because they, too, want to start their own business. Your younger sibling is copying you (again). A teacher asks if you’ll mentor a younger student.
When you’ve reached a certain level of success, others definitely notice. And a lot of times, they want in! When this happens, feel free to pat yourself on the back and call yourself a success.
(Do keep in mind that you don’t need to overextend yourself by mentoring anyone. You can simply offer a few words of wisdom.)
3. YOU’VE FOUND YOUR CONFIDENCE
When you feel that boost of confidence, that’s a sign of success. It means you’ve faced challenges and conquered them. You’ve learned a lot about yourself and the business world.
Finding your confidence also means you trust yourself to make good decisions. You speak up for yourself. You don’t back down when you know you’re right. And the best part? That’s something no one else can do for you!
4. YOU CAN SAY ‘NO’
The early stages of any young entrepreneur’s journey involve spending plenty of time seeking out new opportunities. You may even overextend yourself by saying, “yes” to everyone and everything simply because you don’t want to miss something.
Reaching a certain level of success can involve becoming busier than ever. More customers, more responsibilities (remember that team you hired in #1?), and…just more. By this point, it’s time to start saying “no” to things that won’t help you, don’t interest you, or you don’t have time for. You can do this politely and without burning bridges. Successful entrepreneurs know when and how to turn people down.
5. YOU’RE SURROUNDED BY OTHER SUCCESSFUL YOUNG ENTREPRENEURS
The hard work you’ve put into launching and running your small business probably allowed you to encounter at least a few other young entrepreneurs. You may have moved along your entrepreneurial paths together for a while. Maybe you partnered up for a project during a pre-college summer program.
Even after you were done working together, you kept in touch. And now you’re both hugely successful!
You definitely shouldn’t ditch your current social circle, but it’s a great idea to create a network of other successful young entrepreneurs. And you’ll know you’re successful, too, when they want you along for their journeys!
6. YOU’VE LEARNED HOW TO HANDLE MONEY
Everyone needs to start somewhere. And for some young entrepreneurs, having a dream is a long way from understanding how to raise capital, create a budget, and keep track of your business’s finances.
One way to know you’ve become a successful entrepreneur is that you now understand all these things. From spreadsheets to invoicing software, you’ve got the hang of this. You can track every penny you make and every penny you spend. Not only that, but you can budget for future growth and maybe even have some emergency funds set aside. Look at you, financial genius!
7. FAILURE IS YOUR BEST FRIEND
OK, maybe not your best friend. But you’ve faced it, experienced it, and come back from it stronger than ever. You now know that failure is not the end of the world, but rather a learning experience that you can take with you going forward.
The opposite of failure is success. So, once you’ve dealt with failure, you’re already a success! In fact, the only true way to fail completely is to quit. Successful people don’t quit. If you can look back at your entrepreneurial journey so far and see places where you could have quit but didn’t, you can absolutely think of yourself as a success.
8. YOU’VE DEVELOPED GOOD HABITS
Good habits in life lead to success. But it goes the other way, as well. Once you have gained a certain measure of success, you may find yourself translating that feeling into other areas of your life. Everything from what you eat to your nighttime routine might benefit from your success in entrepreneurship.
Once you’ve had a taste of how good it feels to reach a goal, you’ll be more motivated to achieve your goals elsewhere. Why stop at business success when there are so many other ways to crush it?
9. YOU’RE A PROBLEM-SOLVING MACHINE
Early on, when your lawn-care business was just a dream, you had a laundry list of problems to solve. Not the least of which involved buying equipment, getting yourself from place to place, and attracting customers. These days, though, you’re the most in-demand lawn mower in town.
Your success came from applying creative solutions to common problems. Every obstacle thrown your way was squashed by your brilliance and energy. This, in turn, has helped you strengthen your problem-solving muscles. When new problems arise in your business, in school, or with friends, you know how to successfully navigate even the trickiest waters.
10. YOU FEEL HAPPY
It’s not that you don’t have bad days anymore. Just that, in general, you feel quite happy with your life. That’s success!
Congratulations, young entrepreneur! You’re officially a success!
Florida’s young entrepreneurs are encouraged to apply for a Kantner Foundation college scholarship. Learn more by clicking here!