The young generations of today are heavily influenced to believe that the 9-5 route is the only route to success; if we put ourselves through education and gain a degree, we’re bound to be successful. Whilst that outcome is true for the minority of graduates, over half are left in jobs that do not require a degree. We’ve been made to believe that if we’re qualified, in anything at all, the world is our oyster. Whereas in reality, most are left with a bit of paper, thousands of pounds in debt and a loss of three or more years earning potential.

BY ROBBIE WALDER

Ok, to be clear, the aim of this blog is to not slate the current education system.  It’s a solid system that caters for the masses, but it still leaves much to be desired in terms of how it supports those among us who naturally exhibit entrepreneurial flair.

Today’s students are surrounded by entrepreneurial opportunities, all maximised by the support of new technology, funding options such as ‘crowd funding’ and marketing platforms. We have the potential to reach millions of people from the comfort of our own living room and can inspire the world we live in from the click of a button. We’re more connected than ever before and have the tools to create a business from home. Even businesses as large as Apple, Amazon and Google all started up from a garage. Take advantage of the tools around you and start building your future today. I’m not suggesting that starting a business is easy, however, now is a better time than ever to get started.

Being young is not a drawback; in fact, it’s quite the opposite. Despite the occasional phone bill, we have very little financial commitments. This means we can spend time on different projects and ideas without having to worry about covering any financial responsibilities. It’s here where we find value in our free time and can explore our ideas with close to no risk, and you do not have to wait for someone to create a curriculum for you – take the leap yourself. The sooner you start setting targets, the sooner you can start gaining experience and knowledge. Embrace your age and start using it to your advantage.

“The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago.  The second best time is now.”

You don’t need a perfect business plan, huge office and a million pound bank loan to start up a business, nor do you have to drop all your commitments and dive straight in. You can start off with something as small as you’d like. At the end of the day, as long as you’re doing something you enjoy you’ll find that investing the one thing you do have, your own personal time, into your business idea is very easy indeed.

I started off by selling sweets at secondary school. Despite my limited audience, I still learned more about business through selling sweets than I did within two years of Business Studies. It taught me the fundamental basics of procuring stock at a cost and selling it on at a profit, and helped me to think creatively and come up with other initiatives such as loyalty schemes in order to grow my client base and build repeat business opportunities. Whether you’re selling yourself for a promotion at work, looking at different ways for solving problems in class, or trying to turn an idea into a potential business, thinking like an entrepreneur will have many hugely positive effects on your life, so don’t just assume that the term ‘entrepreneur’ applies to multi-millionaire business owners.

Despite the fact that our education system isn’t currently that well suited for young entrepreneurs, you can help yourself by looking outside of your everyday situation and start building your own network elsewhere. One of the best ways to do this is by joining a community such as The Entrepreneur Network. TEN is a community created by entrepreneurs for entrepreneurs, with the aim of aiding your journey from start-up to establishment. Content such as articles, vlogs and live forums create a motivational and educational platform, produced by entrepreneurs from all ends of the spectrum. By simply following the website you can gain a huge insight into the knowledge and experience that isn’t available anywhere else. Even signing up is a step towards getting your profile out there and starting your journey.

With an open mind, strong work ethic and can-do attitude, you WILL succeed. It’s important to accept fear and push yourself out of your comfort zone, while looking at every barrier as a challenge and opportunity to learn. You WILL make mistakes, and many of them, but don’t look at them in a negative way. Mistakes and even failure is all a learning curve, and without them you will not succeed. Just remember – YouTube started off as a video-dating site.

Almost all entrepreneurs I have spoken to since beginning my journey have told me that they wished they had started sooner. I intend not to be one of them.  If you have ambitions around starting your own business, don’t make the same mistake – start your journey today.