There are plenty of reasons to start a business while you are still in your 20s.
Many people shy away from it — not because they don’t believe in their idea, but because they think they will be better at executing it once they are older and have more experience, more knowledge and more connections. Some of these arguments might be relevant, but most of them are just excuses not to step out of your comfort zone, so you continue the normal, everyday path of life.
Once you start thinking seriously about the advantages of starting a business now versus starting a business when you are older, you realize being young has several invaluable advantages:
1. It’s a learning opportunity.
Starting a business teaches you more than any university business course ever could. You get hands-on experience and get to see if the principles you learned in your classes are applicable in the real world.
You also learn a lot about yourself: What are your strengths? Your weaknesses? Are you a people person or a number cruncher?
The number one argument of people who want to wait with regard to starting a business is they feel they don’t know enough, and hope they will be better equipped after a couple years of work experience.
The counterargument: If you start your business now, you might fail miserably, yes. But at least you’ll learn to do better next time around.
Maybe your business idea is not the best. You might have to end your project after a couple months. However, this has a positive aspect.
Once the real big idea crosses your mind, you will already have the experience and knowledge of how to start your own business.
What if your first idea is, in fact, the big one? Well, you better start executing it immediately, before someone else capitalizes on your idea.
2. Your opportunity costs are very low.
You just finished your undergraduate or graduate degree, and chances are, you will start with an entry-level job. The position’s pay is not enormous and the position will be offered to you again, if you apply a year or two later.
So, whats the opportunity cost of starting your own business? It’s very small.
Compare that to a working professional who has a couple of years of industry experience. In her situation, leaving the job and starting a business would mean foregoing a good-sized salary and great benefits. As a result, she would have to adjust her lifestyle dramatically.
Want to bet she would have loved to start the company years ago?
3. Later in life, you will be responsible for other people, besides just yourself.
Another factor you cannot underestimate is that as you grow older, you will be responsible for other people rather than just yourself.
Right now, it might seem that taking care of yourself and figuring out your own life is a big enough task. Imagine what it feels like to have a partner, kids or parents you need to take care of.
If you are in that situation, leaving a job with a stable income to fulfill a dream of yours is not only risky for yourself, but puts other people’s lives on the line as well.
4. You have time now, but you might not later.
As well as having more responsibilities, you will also have less time.
Family will take up a large part of your time. That is a great thing, but it will leave less time to build up your business.
Moreover, as long as you are young, you don’t have any pressure regarding by when your business has to be successful. If you start making money within two, six or ten months, it does not really matter.
However, if you just left your job and with it, left a stable income, you need to make money as soon as possible. You can’t afford being entrepreneurial for half a year without making any money.
This leads to another problem: You might quit and go back to your old job just before the business would have taken off.
5. You can enhance your personal network.
Having a large, powerful, personal network is important. Among other things, it can help you get a foot in the door of a well-known company, get you ahead if you are stuck somewhere and allow you to access knowledge outside your own expertise. All good and well.
But how do you build your network in the first place?
Well, it helps if you have something to offer. If you have something to offer to people, they will want to have you in their network because you add value.
When you start your business, you will have a product to offer. This product will give you exposure to people you would have never met otherwise. If you can impress these people, they will not only be good for your business, but also become part of your network.
If you cultivate these relationships, they will be beneficial to you, whether your business succeeds or not.
6. If nothing else, it helps you build your résumé.
What’s the worst that can happen? You fail and your business goes bankrupt. Okay, that’s a bummer, but not the end of the world. In fact, you learned a lot and had an experience at a young age that many people won’t ever have.
Employers look at that very favorably. They want people with an entrepreneurial mindset. These are the people who come up with ideas to improve the company and do more than is expected of them.
If you can walk into an interview and tell the employer you had your own business, and explain what this experience taught you, you will automatically be ahead of others.
7. You can take advantage of the good will of professionals.
“Why would anyone invest in me or support me? After all, I’m just inexperienced and young.”
Stop that right now. You are not “just” inexperienced and young. You are inexperienced and young. Use that to your advantage.
Seasoned professionals will help you or invest in you, not only because they think it will be profitable, but also because they like the fact that a young, passionate Millennial is following his dream.
In other words, they act out of good will.
However, you are only offered this good will when you are young. If an experienced professional starts a business, she better not expect any help from anyone based on sheer good will.
So, do you want to start you own business? Do it now!