The Mindset of an Entrepreneur (as a teenager!)
When I was in elementary school, I often associated business with men on Wall Street, men in fancy suits talking in big conference rooms, men like Warren Buffett and Bill Gates. For me, a young girl who lived in a suburban town her whole life, with a father who was an engineer and a mother who was a homemaker, starting a business was never something that was on the table. I didn’t have the resources to learn how far from the definition of business I really was, and I didn’t have the mentors who would help me explore the world of entrepreneurship.
Even today, it may seem daunting to start a business, especially without a bachelor’s degree or past work experience, which almost every job on the market requires nowadays. But the summer before my sophomore year of high school, I did just what I thought had been impossible: I started a business.
Like most businesses, my music lessons business started small and local. It all started with one student. And, it actually started as an accident. Again, I didn’t understand what starting a business really meant. I didn’t know what starting a business looked like financially, socially, or physically. As an introvert, I also feared what others would think of my business, and I often feared having to speak to other people about my business idea. If you are in the same boat, and you have an amazing idea but are scared to pursue it due to social reasons or you don’t even know where to begin, start a team! With more minds on the project, you can not only get more accomplished, but you can also get more ideas and feedback on what works for your business and what does not.
Back to my story: I started my music lessons business by accident. One of the students that I tutored outside of school told me one day that she wanted to learn how to play an instrument. In response, I gave her mom the number to one of my old piano teachers, hoping to help in any way I could. The mother called, they discussed pricing, and eventually the girl came back the next week and told me that her family could not afford the high costs that came with a professional music studio. Then, lightbulb moment: at that time, I was certified in ABRSM music theory and was in the process of becoming certified in my ABRSM Grade 8 exam. It hit me: what was I going to do after I completed my final exam? Let my certificates sit and collect dust on my shelf? Or could I use those certificates to make change in my community? To give the girl a chance to learn the gift of music, something her family could not give to her with the current pricing of other music lessons businesses.
At the end of the day, starting a business only requires four things: initiative, purpose, determination, and drive. As long as you are completely and wholly dedicated to the service, item, product, or idea that you are selling to the public, you will be successful. You don’t need to be a rich man in New York City, or the child of entrepreneur parents, or even a stock market genius who knows everything about moneys and finance; to start a business, you need to be motivated and creative. You will most definitely hit roadblocks and uncooperative teammates and bad ideas, but in the world of business, there is no such thing as a real failure. You figure out what went wrong, you revise, you adapt, and you continue marching. This is the secret to running a business, no matter how big or how small.