One hundred years ago, what did your great-great-grandparents do for a living? What about your grandparents back in the 1970s and 80s? Chances are they had a career that either no longer exists, or has changed so drastically that they wouldn’t recognize it today.
According to BBC Business news, in the 1920s the average lifespan of any given business was 67 years; fast forward less than a century, and by 2012 that average had dropped to just 15 years. So, how can a young entrepreneur like yourself hope to make an impact in the world without knowing which jobs and sectors will still be around?
As technology drives us forward, so, too, does it change the nature of the workforce: in particular, what jobs are out there, who will be doing those jobs, and how you need to train for them. Entrepreneurs are key to the success of the future economy. Specifically, young entrepreneurs are the greatest hope. Who else out there has the drive and energy to start up a new enterprise in times of economic stagnation?
America is built on entrepreneurial spirit, on the idea that anyone with a dream can build and run a successful business. As we move forward into new industries and ways of doing business, there are three key ideas to help propel young people into the world of entrepreneurship.
1. Learn the skills of successful entrepreneurship
Some people are born with a disposition that suits the entrepreneur lifestyle: they already have drive, ambition, and talent. For the rest of us, the fine points of starting and running a business is something that needs to be taught. Think of it like this: some people are born into families and cultures where they learn English as a first language. They don’t even think about how they know it, they just do. Others want or need to learn English, and some of them will go on to do beautiful things with their adopted language.
This is why entrepreneurship courses and books exist. If you think about entrepreneurship as a skill you can acquire, rather than a talent you either are or are not born with, then you are already in the mindset to go and learn how to get started with your enterprise.
2. You’re not too young
The earlier you take on a skill, the easier it is to learn and retain. Young minds are elastic and easily able to stretch and accommodate new information. Steve Jobs was 21 when he started Apple. Bill Gates was 20 when he created Microsoft; so was Mark Zuckerberg when he launched Facebook.
Young people have nowhere to go but up, so now’s the perfect time to get started on your business idea. According to Forbes magazine: “Largely unburdened by familial or financial constraints, young entrepreneurs are often the most attractive targets for investors in both for-profit and non-profit realms.” This means your youth is working in your favor!
You may not have been born a CEO billionaire, but you can certainly learn the skills and acquire the tools you need to become one. In fact, the earlier these skills are taught, the better. Schools can help raise entrepreneurs so that anyone can feel ready to start no matter how young they are: from putting up a lemonade stand, to creating a global sensation that changes the world forever.
3. Everyone can benefit from entrepreneur skills
According to Review42, as of 2020, the statistics show that 90% of new startups fail. That’s nearly all startups. What sets the winning 10% apart from the others?
Agility. Flexibility. The ability to see every failure as a chance to learn and improve. How many iterations did Steve Jobs go through before Apple became the $2 trillion business it is today?
If you lack self-confidence, you’ll never be able to pick yourself up from your failures and move on. Learning good entrepreneur skills means learning how to believe in yourself enough to take the bad in stride—something everyone, even non-entrepreneurs can use.
Entrepreneurship skills also include tenacity, otherwise known as stick-to-it-iveness. Not quitting when things get tough. Not giving up at the first obstacle. Learning how to solve problems, or to at least work around them. This is another skill that benefits not only entrepreneurs but pretty much everyone in life.
While there’s no way to predict the future and what jobs will look like, teaching entrepreneurial skills to children as young as grade school promises that whatever comes, they’ll be ready. Young, flexible minds such as yours are designed to soak up the skills and training you’ll need to march into the future with confidence. You’ll be there with ideas and know-how to meet the new needs arising every day.
All children should be learning essential entrepreneurial skills as part of their regular school curriculum. That generation—your generation—will be the ones to grow up and take on the role of innovators, creators, and world-changers. Start young, and the sky’s the limit. Success is claimed by those who work for it, and that work is made easier when the necessary skills are taught to everyone.
Will you be one of the next recipients of a Kantner Foundation college scholarship? If you are a Florida high school entrepreneur, click here to learn more!