CEO of Funnalex Ltd and the Forflies brand
I'm 19-years-old and I've built a £1m online business. I've learned that it is necessary to make some painful sacrifices in order to achieve what you what,. Here are 5 tips I'd like to share with any other young person dreaming of starting their own business or just starting on their entrepreneurial journey.
1. Less socialising with friends and family
One of the biggest drawbacks to becoming a teen entrepreneur is that you lose your ability to socialise. It’s not that you no longer have the time (although that can be a factor.) It’s that your whole outlook on life and perspective changes. I used to hang out with school friends playing computer games and talking about pointless things, school gossip or girls but once I started my business, I gained new interests and was more aware of more meaningful issues like the ideas of the world, climate change, politics. I find it hard to relate to people my own age now and I find a lot of my friends are older, in their 30s. As an entrepreneur, your perspective changes and you think differently to other people. I’ve talked to other entrepreneurs about this and they say the same, about often feeling alienated within your own mind. You lose the ability to talk about everyday things and find yourself unable to relate to friends and family like they used to. It can be a lonely existence.
2. Not meeting dreams of parents
I decided to follow my dream to become a teenage millionaire whilst I was still at school. I quit education at 17, leaving without any A-Levels. I was always a bright kid and my mum had aspirations for me to be the first one in our family to get a university degree. She always dreamed I’d graduate, get a fantastic job then settle down and start a family. By pursuing my entrepreneurial dream so early I’ve had to sacrifice my education, but I don’t regret this as school wasn’t teaching me what I needed to know to succeed in business. But I have sacrificed part of my mother’s dream - and that’s my only regret.
3. Your health and wellbeing
This is the one thing that’s absolutely crucial to success and you can’t be a successful entrepreneur without a healthy mind and body. Unfortunately, it’s often the thing that’s put to one side or forgotten as things take over. For me when I was younger I spent a lot of time playing computer games, then when I started working on YouTube I still spent vast amounts of time each day sat in front of a screen to the detriment of my health. I was overweight and lacked confidence but as my business started to be successful I felt better so I exercised. As I got thinner and fitter I felt better, this reflected in my work and vice versa. I now know that health should be number one and having a healthy mind and body is imperative to succeeding in business regardless of the industry.
4. Less mental freedom
I’m sure this is true for many working people but it’s just exacerbated when you’re an entrepreneur. To be successful you have to put 100% into your business and this means the line between work and personal life are blurred or rarely exist. I’m constantly thinking about what I need to do or tasks that need to be completed or form that need filling in. All my time is spent thinking about work, sometimes to the detriment of my personal life, which could be particularly hard for a teenager.
5. Fewer opportunities to be silly and have fun
I miss the vibrant social life that other teenagers have as standard. I’m busy with my business and I think I’ve just grown up faster than other people my age. As well as a busy social life I’ve missed out on the silliness and making mistakes I’ve seen others make while they’re young. When you’re a teenager it’s meant to be a time to try new things and sometimes do stupid stuff. And while I don’t regret doing some of these things I know I’ve become more sensible than maybe I should be. I still have fun and I’ve done fun things that other teenagers can only dream about, like driving my Porsche through the Californian mountains. But as I now think differently to many people my own age I feel I can’t just join in with the silliness like I used to be able to.