We all have plans for how we want our lives to go. For some, this plan looks like a nine to five job that offers enough money to be comfortable. But for others, that plan includes starting their own business.
For those dreaming of starting their own business, the road can seem a little murkier. There is no clear map to creating a successful business, and even if you follow the steps of another entrepreneur, it doesn’t guarantee success.
It can be easy to become discouraged. Creating your product, gaining the money to produce that product or set up a physical shop to sell it, and finding the best way to advertise can all feel overwhelming.
But just because the path is difficult doesn’t mean it is impossible. With the right idea and some determination, anyone can follow their dreams to reality.
Age can be a huge stumbling block to starting your own business. Anyone under thirty can be seen as too young to be taken seriously.
So many people believe that you can’t start your own business if you don’t have life experience, but, the most important part of becoming an entrepreneur is not your age, but the idea you have.
An idea has to resonate with potential buyers or patrons, or it will never get off the ground, no matter how much business experience you have.
At just seven years old, Lily noticed her grandfather was knocking over cups because of his Parkinson’s Disease. Even though she was just a child, she recognized this was a problem, and she had an idea to fix it.
She created a cup with three legs that wouldn’t tip over that would make her grandfather’s life easier. Her father realized this invention could help more than just their family, and he helped his daughter to bring her creation to the market.
Despite her age, Lily’s idea was the perfect solution to a problem no one else had thought about, and because of that, she was able to change the lives for thousands of people with Parkinson’s.
Even if age isn’t an issue to starting your business, that doesn’t mean starting a business will be easy. With any new idea, there will be people who think that it’s stupid or won’t go anywhere.
For Neal Hoffman (Neal Hoffman on FB), that doubt is something he is very familiar with. Hoffman realized there was a gap in the market when his Jewish son asked for an Elf on the Shelf.
Hoffman devised the idea for the Mensch on a Bench on the spot and quickly created the toy that would help parents teach their children about Chanukah.
To try and obtain investors’ support for his new company, Hoffman turned to television and appeared on the show Shark Tank. Mark Cuban accused him of having no idea how to run a business, and that he was going to grow his company to destruction.
Kevin O’Leary told him “don’t quit your day job” because he believed Mensch on a Bench would only be a passing fad. Hoffman wasn’t deterred and ended up walking out of Shark Tank with Robert Herjavec and Lori Greiner as investors.
Today, Mensch on a Bench can be found in Target and Bed, Bath, and Beyond, and more characters are added every day.
Some business ideas fall more in line with traditional thought, and won’t be met with too much doubt. If you are dreaming to start your own restaurant, most people won’t tell you you’re crazy, but opening a brick and mortar store has its own challenges.
With so many options to choose from, getting customers through the door of your business presents a huge challenge. That is the struggle that John Nicolaides, the creator of Molly’s Cupcakes, faced when first opening his store.
Nicolaides created the store in memory of his third-grade teacher, who always made the best cupcakes. While Molly’s cupcakes are delicious, the store started in Chicago, a city with hundreds of confectionery stores to choose from, and it could have easily been swept under the rug.
Nicolaides needed to spread the word of his product to as many potential customers as possible and took the opportunity he received to be on Cupcake Wars to do just that.
After winning the competition and cementing his reputation as having some of the best cupcakes in the country, Molly’s Cupcakes has several locations through the East and Midwest of America and donates a portion of all proceeds to schools in need to honor the teacher that inspired the store.
Whether you have an idea for a product or want to set up a store, becoming an entrepreneur isn’t an easy road.
People will tell you that you won’t be successful, that your product or service isn’t as good as others, or that you are too young or too old to be any good at what you are trying to accomplish.
Sometimes that voice may be your own, or it could be those closest to you, but if you truly keep pushing through, you can create something that will make thousands of people happy.
You may need to adjust your idea as you learn more about the market, you may need to accept help from people who have more experience, and you may have to put yourself out there and take any chance that presents itself, but if you keep yourself open to possibilities and don’t let negativity distract you from your goal, you can make your dreams a reality and become a successful entrepreneur.
Sarah has been a freelance writer for the past year. She worked as a trainer for a telecommunication company for 2 years, before returning to grad school to work towards becoming an English professor. She has a focus on Creative Writing and plans to share her love of writing with her future students while writing her own novels.