We live in a world that’s less Rockefeller and Vanderbilt, more about Zuckerberg and Frankel. CEO titles are no longer just for white-haired men. If you don’t want to wait to hit 40 before you go after your business-owning dreams, here are some ideas to keep in mind as you get started:
Keep it simple…
Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook changed the way we interact, keep in touch and waste time. The concept of Facebook seems huge, but the idea behind it is basic. All it takes is one good thought that fills a void.
There’s a fine line between simple and overdone. While there were other social networks (looking at you, MySpace), Facebook was more innovative than its competitors. If you want to start a coffee shop, find a way to separate yourself from that place down the street. Whether it’s variety or prices, give customers a reason to choose you.
Know your audience
Bethenny Frankel is an entrepreneur with an enviable career. Despite her hectic schedule, Bethenny is always connected with her audience through social media. Because of this, she knows what her fans want. Let’s go back to our coffee shop. If residents in your town can’t stand the thought of another coffee shop then you’ve got a problem. But maybe they’d love a java joint that also serves breakfast. Find the demand and provide the service.
You’re selective about relationships and friendships; be picky about your business, too. Frankel is insistent that when she puts her name on a product, it’s something she’s proud of. If you skimp on ingredients for your lattes to save cash, people won’t enjoy your product and won’t return. Set reasonable prices, figure out how you want to market yourself and stick to the plan.
Do what you know
Despite her fame, fortune and great hair, at her core, Bethenny Frankel knows food. Mark Zuckerberg knows computers. Don’t force yourself to open a math-tutoring business if you could barely pass calculus. You’ll be extremely bored, and you’ll have no desire to grow your business.
So how does someone go about becoming the next Zuckerberg or Frankel? You may not read about Pat Mooney, Ann Marie Stonecypher or Kira Sabin in the pages of People, but these entrepreneurs are making money doing what they love.
Mooney is the president of Mooney Marketing Group, an advertising agency based out of Syracuse, N.Y. He began his career in radio advertising sales, and eventually took some of the relationships he made in that field to start a base for his own company.
“It’s got to be something you want to do,” Mooney said. “It can’t be thrust on you from a boss, spouse, co-worker or a family member. It has to be an inherent gene that you have.”
Stonecypher owns AMS Models and Talent, a talent agency that provides models and actors for commercials and print ads throughout upstate New York. Her job is made easier thanks to social media.
“Years ago you had to use different, more expensive media,” she said. “Now you can do so much more on your own.”
Sabin’s business also relies heavily on the Internet. She’s a life coach and founder of The College Crush, a dating and love website aimed at college students. Sabin credits her success to the research she did before she launched her own operation.
“Some young people say, ‘I’m going to be a social media expert.’ But how do you create a business around that?” Sabin found inexpensive ways to learn more about her industry, including interviewing people whose careers she admired.
If you’re looking to become an entrepreneur, but aren’t sure where to start, there are some helpful resources available to you. Sabin recommends joining the Young Entrepreneur Council, and there’s also a website called SCORE.org that lets you receive free mentoring from an experienced entrepreneur. Whether your thing is cooking, candles or coaching, being a business owner is no longer just a twenty-something’s pipe dream.