Thursday, September 21, 2023

10 tips young entrepreneurs can use to be taken more seriously in their field

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Shreya Christina
Shreya has been with for 3 years, writing copy for client websites, blog posts, EDMs and other mediums to engage readers and encourage action. By collaborating with clients, our SEO manager and the wider team, Shreya seeks to understand an audience before creating memorable, persuasive copy.

One of the hurdles many young entrepreneurs face is that they are taken seriously by other established leaders in their fields. Even potential clients can often have a hard time trusting a young, new entrepreneur with their projects and requests. But age and lack of experience need not create an insurmountable barrier.

Below 10 members of Council for Young Entrepreneurs give the advice they would give to any young entrepreneur currently facing this hurdle and explain why these specific tips helped them on their own journey as young entrepreneurs.

1. Believe in yourself and your product

Young entrepreneurs must have a deep faith in themselves and their product. At such an early and vulnerable stage in business, it is easy to be influenced by others, especially those who are considered experts in their field. You may have an idea that no one has thought of – not even the experts – and you need to protect yourself and this idea from the opinions of others. You may find yourself being persuaded not to pursue it or be convinced that you cannot achieve it because no one else could, but that should never stop you. – McCullough Shriver, Sweetflexx

2. Focus on learning your craft

Remember that any disadvantage is nothing but a positive advantage in disguise. I started out as a 14-year-old entrepreneur who absolutely struggled to be taken seriously. That had an advantage, though: my approach brought out the mentoring instinct in many of the people I worked with. If you’re not taken seriously because you’re young, don’t focus on the respect that decades of experience earn people. Instead, focus on learning your craft as thoroughly as possible and approach others with questions. The rest will come with time. – Tyler Bray, TK Trailer Parts

3. Develop thought leadership

Entrepreneurs and everyday people alike are drawn to leaders who can put a unique spin on things and provide real, actionable advice. That’s why I recommend demonstrating your expertise through content. This could be producing short videos, writing long articles on quality websites, or even building your LinkedIn or Substack following by offering intriguing content. Over time, thought leadership will help you earn respect and even get some established entrepreneurs to follow suit. – Ron Lieback, ContentMender

4. Listen more than you talk

There is a fine line between necessary trust and unnecessary arrogance. As a young entrepreneur, one must understand this simple difference. Often, hubris leads to arrogance and contempt for others. I try to listen to people more than talk. Listening to someone with full attention is a great way to convey a sense of respect. When I’m in a team meeting or sitting across from other senior entrepreneurs, I try to be the last one to share ideas. This simple yet brilliant technique has been adopted by some of the most influential and successful people in the entrepreneurship field. This is because, when you listen to people, you have more context about each issue, and it allows you to look at that issue from every angle you need to sound smart and earn respect. – Kelly Richardson, Infobrandz

5. Become the best at what you do

I started a painting business in my second year of college when I was 19 years old. Not only did the “good ol’ boys” in construction have their own opinions, but many potential clients also believed that because of my age, I was unable to complete their projects to the same specifications as someone in their 30s, 40s, or 50s. could. I kept pushing forward, making sure I got the… best in town at what I was doing. A good word travels much slower than a bad word, so after time and perseverance I started developing a name as the best in town, and my age didn’t matter. Be top notch in your services and your customer service, and always make sure your word means more than your signature. – Jonathan Clausen, Lilac City LLC, AAG LLC, AR-TT LLC

6. Let your passion shine through

I constantly felt underrated when I was a young entrepreneur, and I still feel that way today. However, I found that if I stay committed and passionate about my business, most leaders will see that I’m doing this for the long haul and that it’s something I care about deeply. Running a business is tough, but if you let your passion shine, customers, investors and partners will see and respond. You can’t expect people to be passionate about the company if you’re not enthusiastic yourself! – Shu Saito, All filters

7. Find a balance between confidence and humility

One of the most important things any young entrepreneur should do is feel comfortable with themselves. Be sure of who you are and what you have to offer and then be open about it. You don’t have to be jolly or constantly looking for approval, but if you can strike that balance between being confident and humble, people will respect you and take you more seriously. – Kristin Kimberly Marquet, Marquet Media, LLC

8. Solve a problem no one else has solved

My advice would be to challenge the established leaders in your field to help you prove your worth. If you can show them that you are as capable and knowledgeable as they are, then they have no choice but to take you seriously. One way to do this is to find a problem they haven’t been able to solve and offer your solution. By demonstrating your skills and abilities, you prove that you are not to be underestimated. It is important to remember that you have just as much right to be in your field as anyone else. So don’t be afraid to stand up for yourself and show the established leaders that you are a force to be reckoned with. – Abhijeet Kaldate, Astra WordPress theme

9. Focus on your customers instead

What helped us during our early days was sticking to the first principle of running a business: know your customers and the problems they face. The rest is all distraction. Understand your customers’ requirements and pain points thoroughly and work on coming up with effective solutions. Once your customers know you value them and take their business seriously, they’ll respond appropriately, regardless of your age or experience. When your customers take note of you and see you as a capable partner, even established leaders—whether competitors, suppliers, or other customers—will begin to take you seriously. – Vinay Indresh, Joy of space

10. Find a mentor to guide you

The best advice is probably not to give up, but the next best advice in my opinion is to find a mentor who is already an established entrepreneur to help you navigate in the beginning. I am a mentor myself and I know others who enjoy helping others settle in and become successful. So be brave and, once you get to know them better, ask your mentor to go to some events together. This way you get the chance to meet new people, and being at that event with an established entrepreneur will help you build your brand. Also go to conferences, network, meet people and use LinkedIn to communicate and share your opinion so that people will notice you this way. – Alexandru Stan, tekpon

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