Ten reasons young people don’t start their own businesses

This is a great article on why people won’t start their own businesses.

My first observation is that I think you can remove “Young” from the title and it still works. People are afraid to make big risks, regardless of how old they are. And in the modern world where “40 is the new 30 and 30 is the new 20”, the fear of “not knowing enough” continues to dominate you for a very long time.

Here’s one thing I do know – the young people who start successful businesses generally have no idea how to do most of what they want to accomplish. Grad school doesn’t prepare you to start a business. Even an MBA’s value is questionable, targetted as it is towards consulting and management. These people had no idea what they were getting into, and they did it anyways. And they often failed.

I was once told an anecdote about Sam Walton – how did he make Wal Mart so successful – “I made a lot of good decisions” he answered. “How did you learn how to make such good decisions?” “I made a lot of bad ones.”

But how are you supposed to learn from your mistakes if you refuse to let yourself be put in a position where you make mistakes? Do you really think that minimizing mistakes is the way to get ahead in this world? Because I think that a moments consideration of the world around you indicates that very few of the great success stories of our lifetimes have come from incremental change (that’s one thing I do feel comfortable stating as a general principle).

If you’re a lawyer or a doctor, there’s no doubt that you want to minimize the mistakes when working with your clients. But what about minimizing the mistakes in how you bill your clients, or how you acquire new clients? Isn’t there room for you to grow and experiment there? Do you really think that putting your business’s name on the side of a bus is a way to stand out and create big success?

Will you get burned? Will you upset a potential client, or inadvertantly hurt a friend’s feelings in the process? Probably. I know I have.

But I learned from those mistakes.

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