Written by R.C. Thornton
R.C. Thornton is a young entrepreneur who wants to encourage others to get in the game. Check out his blog, Decoding Startups.
Many of you in the UnCollege community love the idea of becoming a young entrepreneur. But are you actually doing it?
I remember when I first tried building a startup. Even though this was something that I’d wanted to do since I was ten years old, my fear got the best of me — I was scared stiff. I didn’t take action on my dreams until I looked around me and saw that young entrepreneurs had so many resources available to them. Then I realized that I had no excuse not to be an entrepreneur. Below are four tips to aspiring entrepreneurs in the UnCollege community:
1. Take advantage of your local university. Even if you’re fully dedicated to the UnCollege way, don’t discount the resources that colleges have for young entrepreneurs. Arizona State, for example, boasts the Skysong facility, a whole office complex devoted to student entrepreneurs, and grants the Edson award, which awards students up to $25,000. Your local school probably has similar.
2. Attend meetup events. Go to as many startup events as you can. Meetup.com is a godsend for entrepreneurs who want to build their network. While the more prominent groups meet in New York City and Silicon Valley, they’re really all over the place (there’s even one in my small town of Hartford!).
3. Start an “easy” business first. Who cares about starting the next Google? Why not just start a great eCommerce store? Being innovative is important, but first you need to actually get started. By building smaller business, you can develop the entrepreneurial mindset and learn the necessary skills, without taking on a huge risk. Another plus — building a defined business means that there is tons of written advice to guide you through the basics.
4. Learn from your peers. A lot of young entrepreneurs blog about building startups. You should read these blogs. It’s a great way to learn from their successes and avoid their failures. Cool places to start: Retire at 21, Location180, and Decoding Startups (my blog!). Spend some time learning about what it really takes to start a business, and you’ll feel a lot more confident about your chances.