What is one thing you wish your parent(s) had taught you before you became a successful entrepreneur?
The following answers are provided by the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only nonprofit organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, the YEC recently launched #StartupLab, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses via live video chats, an expert content library and email lessons.
Unlike elementary schoolwork, life is not conducted on a linear grading system. Instead of striving for “what gets the A,” strive for what’s problem-solving and impactful. This is especially important when considering the connotations of failure we place on young people with “F”s, which can ultimately make them risk averse in entrepreneurship.
School places a huge emphasis on covering all the basics and, I believe, spend too much time on improving your weaknesses. Business is all about honing in on your strengths and sharing your gifts. Hire support for all the things you’re not great at and continue to focus on what you do best.
One thing modern society (schools, corporates and governments) teach you is that it is normal to do work you are not passionate about in order to earn good grades and money, which will lead to a happy life and a ‘retirement.’ This is ridiculous and creates a miserable society — entrepreneurs are those who follow their passion, and I wish kids would be told to do so by parents and the system.
Life goals can be intimidating, especially if you’re an entrepreneur. Breaking them down into easier, more manageable tasks can help make them less threatening. And remember, celebrate all your little successes!
I spent a lot of my life packing my brain with facts, aiming for the straight A’s, the multiple university acceptances, and later, the solid “first real job” out of school. I did this because I was taught that that’s what you do to be “secure” later in life. But what nobody told me is that ironically, security is an illusion that breeds fear. Today, I choose happiness over “safety” any day.
It’s easy for us entrepreneurs to be extremely driven and ambitious, and to let our relationships and personal lives fall by the wayside. However, being in business for yourself means building the life you want too. So don’t let your relationships t ake the backseat in your life, because the people in your life are a lot more important than your website stats!
Everyone has a blueprint they follow in life. Your blueprint today is from your past experiences, values, surround ings, and beliefs. I wish my parents taught me that I should set my own sets of values and beliefs before going into business.
I wish I learned much more about personal finance from my parents before diving into entrepreneurship. I encourage everyone t o talk to their parents about the best practices they’ve used over the years when it comes to money management. Understanding how business and individual taxes work can be especially helpful so you’re savvy about all aspects of your business.
I believe the biggest risk you can take is playing it safe. Entrepreneurs who don’t take risks in their business are rarely the ones to succeed. I am not saying to take foolish risks, but calculated risks. What we fear may happen rarely does happen, and if it did happen it is rarely as bad as we think it may be. The payoff is usually always worth the risk.
I wish my parents taught me how important credit was. By the time I was 19, I had already trashed my credit score. It was a struggle to be an entrepreneur with bad credit.
You never know who’s friend-of-a-friend could be a critical addition to your team, or possibly an angel investor who’s looking for something to get involved in.
I wish my parents had taught me how to better deal with setbacks and failure. I was always encouraged as a child to be entrepreneurial, but when it came to how to handle setbacks, my parents basically said you have to get back up and get back at it. I wish I had been given more specific, applicable advice on how to learn from my failures.
I wish I’d learned management skills early, but looking back, I don’t know how they could have thought those would have been important at all! Kidding aside, management skills are those things you have to pick up via observation and trial-and-error.