5 Tips for Young Entrepreneurs
For as long as I can remember, I’ve looked for ways to make a buck. I began working as a delivery driver in my dad’s ice distributorship as soon as I got my license (or maybe a little bit before). I earned my real estate license before I even had a college degree. And while in school at Iowa State University, I soaked in everything I could in my business classes with an eye toward developing a product – something – that would have mass appeal.
I had dozens of ideas during my college years, but it wasn’t until I had an actual assignment that I moved from thinking to doing. That project pushed me to develop a product, come up with a business plan, present it to a panel of students and instructors, and convince them all that it was better than anything else they’d see from any other student.
Guess what? The Arctic Stick, MY Arctic Stick, was judged the best. With that single experience, I had found my life’s passion. I had developed the concept for my first product and I was going to do all I needed to do to get that product to market.
Now two years into the process, I’ve learned that being an entrepreneur involves a whole lot more than simply kicking back and cashing checks. It’s a lot like making sausage… you’ve got to get down and dirty and put in hours of hard work to come up with something that’s palatable. That’s the only way to advance your dream. Along the way you get quite an education. Here are the five things I’ve learned so far:
1. Surround Yourself With Great Minds: In no way can you go it alone. If you are to develop a product that is going to have mass appeal, you need a group of minds that can help you think through every possible benefit (and defect) that exists in that product. And don’t just surround yourself with academics or bean counters or creative types. You need a little bit of everything. And you need ALL OF THEM to be honest and frank. I assembled a diverse Master Mind Group (check out Napoleon Hill’s “Think and Grow Rich” to learn more) that includes a business man who has seen dozens of products through, a manufacturing CEO that could steer me through the complicating process of actually making something, a shrewd marketing executive and former reality TV star that could give me insight on effective networking, and a creative talent that could push my brand to new limits. Together we’re making it happen.
2. Make Mistakes: It’s important to enter the process with a mind open to making mistakes. That doesn’t mean you should TRY to make mistakes. It’s just having a mindset that acknowledges it’s going to happen and pushing you to learn from them instead of letting them derail you. I’ve made plenty of mistakes in the last two years, but they’ve done nothing but provide an opportunity to further improve my product. If you’re going to bail at the first sign of a challenge, you may want to do something else with your life.
3. Remove Failure from Your Dictionary: See above. The fear of failure can be paralyzing. But here’s the thing: You cannot fail if you don’t admit to failure. Setbacks are part of the process and if you don’t learn to effectively deal with them and use them to inform better decisions moving forward, you are in the wrong line of work.
4. Do Work: Speaking of work, you better be ready to put some in. Perform a quick review of some of the most successful entrepreneurs in history. They didn’t work a few hours on the weekend in creating a product and business model that made them millions or billions or trillions. They worked CONSTANTLY. Their minds were always on the ultimate goal of developing something that people had to have. Again, I urge you to check out the works of Napoleon Hill to learn about the power of a singular focus on achieving success (and the hard work it takes to get there). And this doesn’t mean you should quit your job with your first bright idea. But it does mean you should be ready to commit every free moment to seeing your idea make it to market.
5. Relish the Experience: If there is one thing I’ve learned from the ups and downs of my young entrepreneurial journey is that it is one wild ride. I’m not a huge adrenaline junkie, but I have learned to soak it all in and get a thrill out of what I’m doing. I’m not saying it’s all sunshine and roses, but there is something special about seeing your idea grow into a reality. And that alone, material riches notwithstanding, is worth its weight in gold.
About Brandon Adams
Brandon Adams is a 2012 graduate of Iowa State University and inventor of the Arctic Stick, a device designed to keep bottled beverages colder, longer. In addition to the Arctic Stick, Brandon has invented a line of flavor and energy shots to be used with the Arctic Stick. In addition to being an inventor and entrepreneur, Brandon is a licensed real estate agent and co-owner of the Adams Ice distributorship. You can connect with Brandon by downloading the MyPeopleApp on your smartphone. You can also follow the Arctic Stick online at www.arcticstick.com, on Facebook by searching “Arctic Stick” or on Twitter @badams75.