The Story

3 Harsh Facts You’ll Have To Face In A Young Startup Career


Startup Life

While being a young entrepreneur you’ll face some interesting challenges. The old adage is that it’s great to be an entrepreneur when you’re young. You don’t have kids, a spouse, a mortgage, and so on.  And while that may be true in some cases, there are other interesting personal challenges to consider when starting young.

During my time in college, I was in a unique position in that I was an entrepreneurship major. While this may seem like something that would be absolutely wonderful, and in most cases it was, there is a double-edged sword to deal with. That brings me to my first point:

Not everyone shares your mindset

Even I, who was surrounded with what I thought were ‘like-minded’ people, had to really learn this lesson.  ‘Entrepreneurship’ and ‘startups’ in our age have become these chic words that seem to have lost their meaning.  Too often I would find myself in the company of others who were not truly interested in the hard work, dedication, and drive it takes to make things work. Often they are interested in the perceived glamor and fame that comes with it (although I would argue this is an illusion as well). The good side of this is that at an early age you can learn a vetting process. It will give you insight into people’s true intentions, show you indicators of what makes a good working team and what doesn’t. Those lessons are invaluable, and the younger you learn them, the better.

This brings me to my second point:

Many will not understand you

It is much easier at an older age to be dedicated to your ‘work’. I say ‘work’ because many entrepreneurs don’t see it this way, hence why this issue comes about. Yes, you may in fact deal with some social ridicule on this path you have chosen.  Many of your peers will still be immature and believe you’re an outcast for not coming out to the coolest party because you are busy working away on your product. This sounds silly to many of you and it should. But it is the truth. I can’t count the amount of times I’ve been frowned upon for turning down another party in favor of working on my craft. Get used to it.

And finally:

Embrace your ignorance

In the spirit of Socrates, you must understand that there is a lot you don’t know. And that’s ok. But knowing that is the first step to gaining any sort of knowledge in the first place (confused yet?). In college it is often easy to feel that you are enlightened, bright, and gifted. And in fact you may be. But when it comes to business there’s always learning to be done, always lessons to be absorbed. Accept this fact. Realize that every opportunity a learning possibility. Every failure is a building block upon which you get to stand higher. My main field of focus is technology. The minute I realized the vast sea of knowledge I needed to learn about the subject the quicker and easier I moved within it. Being knowledgeable is an inactive state. You can rest on your laurels and have no need to learn more believing that you already have a tight grasp of your field. The opposite is true for your ignorance; it forces action. And action is how things get done, changed, and moved.

So remember, the path isn’t always easy, but that’s really part of the fun isn’t it? There are absolutely sacrifices you’ll have to make. For some people those are very taxing, for some they’re not.  But nevertheless there are challenges. The sooner you understand the challenges that lie ahead, and the fact that you are not alone in facing them, the easier your journey will become.

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About Author

Nate started Yellow Box Studios, a digital advertising agency based in Chicago, in 2010 as a high school senior. He's graduated from the University of Illinois - Urbana Champaign with a degree in Creative Writing and is currently working on a Masters in advertising, also at the University of Illinois.