Your 10s might sound like the time to enjoy high school and eat pizza after football, but as a 19-Year-Old, thinking about success in your 10s is a huge competitive advantage. No draining 9-to-5, no marriage, no kids, just pure energy to set yourself on the path to success. Well, not exactly. Figuring it out in your 10s poses a number of challenges, or otherwise everyone would be doing it. Lack of credibility, lack of a network, and confusion to name a few.
When you start trying to “make it” as a young adult, you quickly realize that one of the biggest problems isn’t the work itself. Getting people to take you seriously can pose a huge barrier to success. Much of that difficulty stems from unmatched expectations—people won’t expect you to be an entrepreneur. There’s also the challenge of staying focused, when everyone is telling you to sign up for clubs and prepare for standardized tests.
But the greatest problem is a lack of clarity. You haven’t built up an understanding of business, market value, and social dynamics that someone would have in their 20s or 30s. Over time, you build up these skills by engaging in the job market, but how do you catalyze that process? Over the past few years I’ve developed a few key methods to gaining business opportunities.
These first tips focus on tweaking your mindset and actions to create credibility.
1. Give yourself permission
The biggest problem you’ll face as a teenage entrepreneur is your mindset. If you think, “I’m just a kid,” every adult in the world automatically has a competitive edge on you. Give yourself permission to start a business, sell products and services, and be successful.
Instead of thinking that you can do it in your 20s, ask yourself how to do it in your 10s. What’ll work even better is journaling. Write down your goals and what you want to accomplish. Feel free to be unrealistic.
2. Change your timeline of success
When you’re in grade school, you assume that the normal path is the best path to take—go to high school, then college, do internships and low paying jobs along the way, and hopefully find a 9-to-5. The problem is that following someone else’s path will take years away from your own unique journey.
To make it concrete, think about what the goals of a four-year college education are. It probably is something like this: You want to have fun and learn some things. However, if you want to be successful in a certain industry, you’ll do much better executing tasks for that industry, rather than learning general theory. If you want to have real fun, and have a tuition-level of money at your disposal, you can travel to concerts around the world.
3. Get virtual mentors
In your 10s, it will be incredibly difficult to get a real-life mentor. You don’t have much to show for yourself, and you probably can’t add a ton of value to an already successful person’s life. However, you can read their books, watch their vlogs, and listen to their podcasts. Books like #AskGaryVee, The 10X Rule, and The Willpower Instinct were massively influential for me. Even today, I watch Gary Vee’s YouTube videos for actionable tips and mindset improvements.
These next steps are highly actionable things you can do right now.
1. Create and optimize a LinkedIn profile
If you’re like any other teenager, you probably worry more about your Instagram than LinkedIn. But the reality is, LinkedIn is the best social selling platform in the world, and it’s surprisingly easy to get to the top. If you only start in your 20s, you’re competing with waves of people. As a younger adult in the business world, your age is a selling point. You also have more time to build up momentum while your peers are doing their homework and going to parties.
2. Learn public speaking and do it
Most people have a tremendous fear of public speaking. For you and me, that’s a good thing, because it means that if you can public speak, you’ll be greatly rewarded for it. If you carry that fear into your adulthood, it’ll be harder and harder to get rid of it. It’ll be easiest to crush your fears as a kid, so take any opportunity you can to talk at meetups, events, or even just groups of people at a party.
3. Create content online
One of the best ways to gain credibility, add value to the market, and create a network is by generating content. By learning about the topics you’re interested in, and making blogs, posts, videos, and more about them, you’re hitting many birds with one stone. By the time you’re 20, you’ll be a full-fledged “content creator,” instead of a “consumer” of textbook material.
These tips worked well for me, and hopefully some of them will help you as well. Above all, always look for ways to self-improve and expand your mindset. With these ideas in mind, you’ll find that making it in your 10s is entirely possible!