Young Entrepreneur In Training

Hello there. It's been a while, but I'm back with another post. Apologies, but it's been a busy spring for me. What can I say - I'm now 15 and the stressors of everyday life are starting to take its toll. Seriously though - I'm a freshman in high school and the homework has been a bit much. Besides that, I'm still training and trying out the new surf board when I can and ordering my Summer One collection, so there hasn't been much time to write. But - here I am; as you can hopefully tell by now.

I'm struggling to find the balance with the amount on my plate, but I think I've got my priorities straight up to this point. Let me tell you though it ain't easy. I am learning a tremendous amount about being a business owner, but IT IS NOT EASY. As it is now summer I really want to kick it into third gear. I have two investors in my business (aka: the folks), so I have to move things along and plan accordingly, but my investors are giving me guidance along the way. It's been helpful. Like any other kid with the internet, I find myself out on the line always looking for new information to help me along on this journey. The other day, I stumbled upon an article from called '7 Proven Tips for Young Entrepreneurs to Start Off Strong'. I'd rather YouTube, but this wasn't a bad read.

My goal with starting my own business was not as much about making money, as it was about learning about business. This includes running a business, planning in advance, dealing with vendors, etc. I have a lot to learn, but I'm off to a good start. The article is a couple of years old, but I'm sure these tips apply to me. As a sort of benchmarking exercise, I asked myself - where do I stand? As the title states, they listed 7 'proven' tips: 1) Find your passion, 2) Know your market, 3) Get your finances in order, 4) Prepare to make sacrifices, 5) Find a mentor, 6) Tune up your business knowledge and 7) Be a planner. 

Ok, it sounds like great advise, so let's begin:

1) Find your passion: Great tip, but this is a tough one for me. As stated above, my passion is more about learning the ins and outs of business more than being passionate than any specific type of business (if that makes any sense). I have been passionate enough to get me to this point, but I'm not sure if being passionate about anything specific is a great business strategy. You can be very passionate about something...and not be successful. I'm on the right path, so I'll give myself a 5. Oh, I'm ranking myself by the way. Let's go with a 1-10 scale for this exercise.

2) Know your market: My market. Hmmm. Ok, my market is headwear, so anyone with a head qualifies. The question is - how people with heads feel about my headwear and will their heads wear my wear? Considering everyone (hopefully) has a head then I would think this market is a no brainer; get it because brains are in your head. As I don't know where I'm standing in the market I'll go with a 5. I'm learning. 

3) Get your finances in order: Check (pun intended). I have two great investors in my new business and they help me with everything. That said, I've been given limited capital to start this adventure, so I'm required to 'stay within my budget'. Starting up a new business is quite taxing (again, pun intended), but I do get a lot of help in this particular category. I have a long way to go here - 3 or a 4. 

4) Prepare to make sacrifices: With every word I type, I sacrifice. Seriously. I choose to write this blog and I choose to work on this new business venture. I'm a full-time student, full-time nord and part-time business owner. I wish I could surf and game more, but alas...sacrifices must be made. Let's all say it together - 5. 

5) Find a mentor: Here we go. Mentors are what got me to this point in the first place. I have been fortunate to have crossed paths with a number of business owners and some of them have inspired me to act. There are 2 owners in particular that I look up to historically, but since starting this business there are more. I will continue to lean on mentors as much as possible. Why recreate the wheel? I'm a solid 7 on this one. 

6) Tune up your business knowledge: I came into this project with (wait for it) no business experience or knowledge of business. I'm probably on the way young side of being a 'young entrepreneur', but I'm tuning as I go. Let's say I'm a 4.

7) Be a planner: Wow. I'd normally say that I am not a planner. Let's face it, I'm a guy. But, I am my mothers child. Well, I am, but I say that because my mother happens to be a planner. I don't use that term lightly either. She's a planner. By extension, I am learning to plan. Sure, my Summer One collection isn't in just yet, but it's still spring. I'm slowly becoming a planner, so I'm going with a 5.

In summary - good article that helps me think about what I've been doing and what I must continue to focus on in order to become a better small business owner. So, how did I rank? I got a 35 out of a possible 100. Considering last year I would have ranked with a 0, I'll call it progress. I'll come back to this post in the future to see how I'm tracking as we advance. Thanks for reading.

- Zach

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