Most teenagers will finish their A-Levels aged 18 and continue on to study at University or go out and find a job. A new phenomena is the rise of the ‘entrepreneur’ – go-getting individuals who will make an impact from nothing. That might be social action, or it might be making money.
My school life wasn’t the most pleasant, after being shunned for being a high achiever and feeling victimised by staff and pupils alike (most strongly my headteacher, she hated me!) I felt a strong flame of desire to prove skeptics wrong and make something of myself. This accidentally led me into entrepreneurship, but by the very nature of my person it seemed to fit me. I liked the idea of having to take responsibility for my own success and for being the master of my own destiny.
For the past year I have managed my own IT consultancy ‘UnITe Computing.’ Last week we celebrated our first birthday at an event held in London and I’d like to share with you a few lessons I’ve learned in this past roller coaster of a year.
First of all, networking and a strong brand presence are absolutely VITAL in solidifying your base and in transforming you into a golden nugget which potential customers and partners can’t not notice. It might be slightly pushy and extrovert to brandish your ideas and your message in front of as many influential and prospective stakeholders as possible – but it’s worked for me. Only sheer determination and pitching has helped me to gain Levi Roots (of Reggae Reggae Sauce) as my mentor; has helped UnITe Computing to work with clients such as Google UK and ex telecoms giant directors.
Fight fire with fire – if you’re young and in business then be prepared to be knocked down and made to feel like you’re worthless, it seems to be a a given that this will happen to the majority of go-getting, ambitious individuals. Someone will always tell you you’re wrong to have the courage of your convictions. If that happens, simply move on and prove to them that you’ve got a burning desire for what you’re doing and that you are making a success of yourself. It’s important to make a distinction between hot-air marketing and actually proving your progress to people. You really need to get your PR right, and it’s tricky to manage, but positive boosts to your reputation and partaking in an endless continuum of networking both on and offline can only help you to build a strong and reputable prevalence in your field.
My final and most important lesson to share with you is that you never know everything. Being the ‘director’ of a company can sound really exciting and make you feel like the King or Queen of your own new territory, but there’s always something new to learn. It costs nothing for you to listen and to realise when you might need to adjust what you’re doing. Your critics should be your best friends and you should always value the feedback you get. I have to admit, at times I’ve thought I had the upper hand in situations where I clearly didn’t… Keep real, be honest and respond to the needs of the environment around you. Not everything is going to be perfect the first time around and the sooner you realise this – the better. Nobody likes a cocky know-it-all!
With that, here’s to another year of success! Good luck!
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