Did you know that Coco Chanel was a young woman when she started on the path towards creating her fashion and cosmetics empire? By getting her first job as a seamstress in 1900 at age 17, she was exposed to an industry that would change her future by allowing her to create beautiful high end hats. Fast forward to today, and the name Chanel is synonymous with fashion, innovation, beauty and style. She is the bar that anyone in the industry strives to reach, with due reason. and you’ll find many teen innovators creating remarkable products.
Think that dream is out of your reach? Fear not. Teens are built for entrepreneurship.
Ann Makosinski, a Filipino Canadian 15 year old student, has created a flashlight that uses body heat for power.
Abi Smith, at age 11 has created a mini empire for her innovative sandal design.
Noa Mintz is the 14 year old powerhouse behind the burgeoning business, NYC’s Nannies by Noa which pairs families and child caretakers.
Anya Pogharian, at 17, is stretching her investing muscle and has working on a product that takes portable dialysis around the world.
While the path to entrepreneurship might seem overwhelming, these teens, and may others, have proved that anything is possible with a dream, some passion and drive. But how?
Here are five steps to help you get the ball rolling:
1. First and foremost, identify something you are passionate about. If you love makeup, how about developing your own lip balm line? Start a freelance artistry business for Prom and Homecoming. Find yourself painting or drawing in your free time? Market yourself as a freelance artist. Do you love baking or cooking? Perhaps a dessert or meal delivery service is in your future. You get the point here. Businesses are much more likely to be successful if the founder loves what they do. Find your passion and explore from there!
2. Find a role model. If you know somebody in the industry you are looking to explore, talk to them. Business owners often can’t wait to help the next generation of entrepreneurs and will give their time and advice to help you be successful. This is also good practice to help you articulate what you want to do, another important skill. Don’t be afraid to reach out.
3. Start at the start. List out all the things you think will need to happen, and in what order. Start at the top of that list and make your way down. With this approach, your tasks become more manageable and you’ll make steady progress towards your goal.
4. Test and iterate. Approach product/service development early as little pilot projects, testing your ideas along the way and refining as you get input from potential customers. No product or service is perfect when it begins so don’t be afraid to ask opinions of others and listen to their input. They are trying to help, not hinder your progress.
5. Get the word out. Once you feel good about what you want to create, get loud! Social media is one of the most effective ways to tell the world what you are doing. Use Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube to promote your business.