With Forbes announcing Kylie Jenner as the world’s youngest self-made billionaire, it seems like the world has become obsessed with young and super-successful ultra-wealthy business people.
The problem, though, is that despite dreams of fast success, many young entrepreneurs can find themselves hitting a wall.
The good news is that becoming a millionaire before you’re 30 isn’t just possible: it’s been done. Many times, in fact.
The team at Callcare spoke to some of the experts who’ve done it themselves, about working from the right foundations, choosing the right investments, and what to avoid like the plague.
As with anything challenging in life, there are certain pitfalls that stand between you and the gold prize.
Erica Wolfe-Murray, one of the UK’s leading business experts and author of the book Simple Tips, Smart Ideas, warns that young entrepreneurs can often make the mistake of thinking they need to know everything already. “You don’t know what you don’t know, so you need to continually talk to people to discover your own blind spots,” she says: “then you can learn how to mitigate them taking another leap forward in the process.”
Relying on one enterprise is risky, too, says Rob Moore, the man behind the podcast The Disruptive Entrepreneur(which currently has over 2 million listeners) and author of over a dozen books; “Be careful not to put all your eggs into one basket. I would definitely not put all of my assets, my income, capital and risks into one thing because if that one thing doesn’t work, it’s very hard to recover and move on.”
And sometimes, that one basket might be, well, you! Nathan Cable, who founded travel brand Party Hard Travel as a university student in 2014,explains that it’s important you have a business partner or a mentor who can spur you on during the tough times. “There were so many times in the early days where either myself or [Party Hard Travel co-founder] Barry would be feeling down and want to chuck in the towel.
“If you don’t have that other person to help keep you positive and striving forward through the hard times I imagine it could get very lonely and negative really quickly.”
Words of wisdom
We asked the experts what they would tell their 18-year-old self now if they could do it all again.
“I’d recommend to my 18-year-old self to work out exactly what I want to achieve and how I’m going to achieve it,” says Tom Bourlent, Instagram travel blogger and founder of multiple businesses (including the upcoming Drinks Pal), “I was too eager to get good at everything, rather than setting my focus on one area.”
Sara Lou-Anne Jones, founder at Centre for Excellence, tapped into the opportunities of the current business climate. “Set up an online business with a subscription-based business model like Netflix, where customers pay a monthly fee to use or purchase a product or service. This type of business model can be grown quickly once you get the offering right, something that will appeal to the masses.
“It’s also quick to scale; with good marketing, you can be hitting the million mark in no time.”
The most straightforward advice. Start today.
“So many people are afraid to start building their business or brand because they are concerned that they don’t have enough industry sector experience, or that they don’t have enough capital to support growth,” says Reece Mennie, CEO of investment firm Hunter Jones. But entrepreneurs that fail to start rob themselves of the learning and earning opportunities that only being in business affords.
Age is just a number… right?
Though the modern business world is certainly more meritocratic than it used to be, you’ll find that many people still look at experience beyond talent or the quality of your idea. That’s the challenge that a young entrepreneur must face.
Nathan Cable emphasises the importance of believing in what you’re selling. “As long as you are 100% sold on your offering and your vision,” Nathan says, “you will get people believing in you too.”
Erica Wolfe-Murray agrees that it’s best to let your product do the talking. “If you have an exceptionally good idea with a well thought-through route to a growth market that taps into a rising trend, age is irrelevant,” she says. “The customer is totally unconcerned about your age — they just want to know whether the product or service delivers.”
Business school or the school of life?
Most of us are told from a young age that one of the best ways to ensure you’re successful is to get a degree.
But is it really that important for budding millionaires?
“It may take far longer to become a millionaire [by going to university],” says Rob Moore.
“If you want to be a millionaire by the time you’re 30,” says Rob, “you need an entrepreneurial business that solves a big problem, that can scale fast, that can reach a lot of people such leverage or the technology industry or new media.”
However, Tom Bourlent insists that university might actually be the best decision for you if you’re not sure yet which direction you want to take.
“The hardest part is getting your foot through the door without a degree,” says Tom, “University offers an extra tickbox for your CV and also offers you more free time to build a strategy for your future.”
Nathan Cable says that university can actually be a great launching pad for your first business. “Being at university can often help you to set up a business in the most effective way,” he says. “Portsmouth University (where I studied) now offers an entrepreneur workspace, along with mentors and resources to help students turn their ideas into a real business.”
Making a good investment
As business picks up, having some capital in your pocket can be very exciting for a young business owner. But without understanding how to invest properly, that capital can quickly drain away and leave you back where you started.
So how can you make good investments early on?
“If it’s popular, it’s already late,” says Tom Bourlent. “You need to spot opportunities before the media has taken hold of it, but don’t feel that it will instantly make money. You have to be willing to take risks in order to see results.”
That said, there are certain sectors that will consistently reap higher rewards than others.
“One of the best sectors to invest in is property,” says Reece Mennie, “Even during periods when the property sector falls, it inevitably rises again, providing the opportunity for investors to build assets through a property portfolio or to generate an effective ROI through capital growth.”
Of course, raising the capital to begin investing in property is a task in itself. First, you need to have put your business on the map.
“Investing in marketing is vital, in my opinion,” says Rob Moore. “A lot of companies don’t invest nearly enough in marketing. I’ve known lots of small companies in the past where the MD says he relies purely on word of mouth for marketing and taken great pride in that fact, but, in my mind, that’s the reason they’re still so small.”
So don’t be scared to take risks. By the end of your twenties, you could be keeping up with the Kardashians.