This feature was written by freelance writer Shelley Louise Baker
Is 2016 the year that you’d like to put that business idea into action? Perhaps you just don’t know where to start or how to finance it? Or, maybe you’re lacking the Kimye-style confidence to just GET IT DONE?
Don’t sweat it. We asked three young successful entrepreneurs, who all launched their blooming businesses aged 24 and under, and have been there and got the t-shirts, to give us their top tips and tricks to help us make it happen. Lord Sugar: watch out!
1) Just Get Started
It seems simple, but as 21 year-old designer Lola Hoad (who started her handlettering biz LH Design when she was made redundant, aged just 19) told us; sometimes you just need a push to put your plans onto paper. “Just get started!” she says. “I spent the first few weeks dreaming up plans for the business, but never actually putting them down on paper and doing something about them.”
“I know now that if you want things to happen, you need to get on with it and do the work, because otherwise you’re just a dreamer, not a business owner. It can be scary putting plans into action, especially when you’re just starting your venture, but you’re going to feel amazing when you see the success!”
2) You Don’t Need Qualifications To Run A Business
Yep, you read that right. Don’t let the fact that you didn’t pass maths, do business studies or have a degree hold you back – as long as you have your idea and passion to do it, go for it! “Anyone can run a business,” award-winning florist Jay Archer, who launched Jay Archer Floral Design without many qualifications, aged 24, says. “I never thought I could run a business – I thought I was too young, not qualified etc. etc. But you know, you realise you just have to stop making excuses and get on with it.” Jay’s work now features in a plethora of bridal mags each month and she’s just opened up a Flower School to inspire newbie florists too. Qualifications, schqualifications, eh?
3) Think You Need A Loan? Think Again…
One of the scariest things about starting your own biz is worrying about finances, but if you can prove to yourself that you can make money without investing a whole lotta dough or borrowing from the bank, you are onto a winner. 24 year-old Sam French, owner of Sam’s Kitchen (famous for his fashionable gingerbread men, which were even raved about in Vogue!), experimented on a small scale before he started baking full time: “Try your idea without spending any money or getting a loan!” he says. “I had a stall at a village fete to test my idea – cheap, but effective! I’ve met a lot of people that have lost a lot of money!”
4) It’s OK To Say No
Think you’ve gotta hit up every opportunity that comes your way? You really don’t. If anything, politely turning things down that just don’t float your biz boat, can actually make you more successful, as Jay explains: “You can say no. Learning the power of no is exhilarating and will actually push your business further,” the florist told us. “You don’t have to say yes to everything someone asks of you, especially if you feel uncomfortable, stretched or unsure.” Just say no, folks!
5) Be Positive
Starting your own business can be daunting and at times; you might get knock-backs. But that’s cool, right? How many times has it not quite worked out for Sir Richard Branson? EXACTLY. By remembering that you have totally got this and that you believe in your idea; the power of positivity will see you through. Designer Lola, found this out first-hand: “Your positivity can change your future. Keeping a positive outlook on my business and its growth is what has helped me get through the slow patches, and I think that is what has been somewhat responsible for the success of it all. I’ve always tried to stay positive in my plans, understanding that I am making the right decisions for my business and brand. You know your brand the most, so take pride in your decisions,” she says.
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