Any entrepreneur will tell you that launching and running your own business is hard, particularly if you’re doing it alone. Here Thomas Delgado, founder of We Buy Cars Today, tells us why, being a successful entrepreneur over the age of 30, is harder.
At 22, I launched We Buy Cars Today and seven years on, I am about to turnover £9m. Although I’ve achieved a lot in a fairly short space of time, the journey to this point has definitely not been easy but I actually think youth has given me a huge advantage.
In every other industry, age equals success but when it comes to entrepreneurship, the opposite is almost certainly true.
There are several reasons why CEO’s under 30 are more successful in business and you’ve only got to look at Mark Zuckerberg or Evan Spiegel to see why. In my humble opinion though it comes down to three key factors – commitment, energy and risk!
Being a young business owner without a wife and kids to worry about frees me up to work as hard as I want to – and this business is my baby.
On a typical work day, I’m up at 5.30am to walk the dog and ready to settle down to emails by 6.30am. I work from home first thing and head to the office for 10am, where I stay until 7.30pm. I’m usually home and having dinner by 8pm and then I work until 11.30pm most nights.
I typically work six days a week and enjoy minimal down time, except a nice holiday every 12 weeks and clay pigeon shooting on a Sunday.
In all fairness, I’m so passionate about my business, it doesn’t actually feel like work. So, while I don’t have any personal commitments, I can invest all my energy into making my company a success and not feel guilty about it.
As a young entrepreneur, I have a different kind of energy and maybe this goes back to being committed. Let’s face it I’m not yet experiencing sleepless nights with a newborn or having to share the school-run with my wife, which certainly helps me stay energised and focused.
Like most entrepreneurs, I have a never-ending willingness to do and learn, and seeing what I’ve built already just makes me more motivated.
Inevitably, the older I get, the less energy I will have, so while I’m chomping at the bit to grind as hard as I can, I’m going to embrace it!
In the early days of launching We Buy Cars Today – which is now the UK’s third most used online car buying company – Ididn’t have too many overheads and I was lucky enough to stay rent free at my Mum’s. The support from my family meant I could save money and also take a few risks, which I’ve learnt is important if you want to grow your business.
Also, unlike older entrepreneurs – who may have run several businesses, experienced bankruptcy or liquidation and are naturally more risk averse – I’ve always taken chances.
It might sound naïve but I personally think it’s a big advantage. The larger the risk the larger the potential return and that really excites me! It’s a big part of the reason I’ve managed to grow this company so quickly.
As a young entrepreneur building his first empire, I am learning as I go and that means having no preconceived ideas of how I should and shouldn’t run my business. I’ve got plenty of common sense which stops me from making blatantly bad business decisions but really, I’m free to run things as I see fit.
I don’t want to tempt fate but on the eve of turning over £9m, I can’t help but think, this young entrepreneur is doing something right!