How to Become an Entrepreneur (Even If You’re Starting at Square One)
The path is windy, random, and filled with some successes and a bunch of failures.
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I'm 15 years old. I want to be an entrepreneur. How do I get started? originally appeared on Quora: the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world.
The best entrepreneurial advice I can give is to just start. Don't worry about how big of a business it can be. Whether it's a lemonade stand (literally), a lawn mowing business, or a mobile app -- it doesn't matter. Practice makes perfect.
When I first started high school, I bought and sold sports memorabilia on eBay and used my earnings to buy Knicks season tickets. I then sold 36/41 games so that I could go to 5 games a year for free.
At the end of high school, both my parents needed a cane from experiencing a stroke. I hated seeing them in pain so I developed a patent-pending cane tip that absorbed the shock and reduced the vibration in the hand, wrist, elbow, and shoulder. This dramatically reduced the pain they each felt after chronic cane use.
In college, my friends and I built a file sharing site for students to share study guides (the administration did not like it, haha). We then built a free market for parking spaces in NYC that won a NYC Big Apps Award.
After college, I started a company that went through YC. Soon after, my sister was diagnosed with a brain tumor and I returned the majority of funds to investors. More on that here. (Why You Should Pick Your Investors Based On Their Failures).
After that, I became an entrepreneur in residence at a venture studio, and worked on various projects with friends (a burrito restaurant, "future" airbnbs, visa application automation, etc.). This is where I met my co-founders Saman Rahmanian and Rob Schutz.
As I hope you can tell by now, the path above is not straightforward. It's windy, random, and filled with some successes and a bunch of failures (and lots of burritos).
Here are few of the pieces of advice I would give my 15 year old self (I know they are hard to practice):
1. Worry way less about grades and any form of external validation and just go where your brain takes you.
If you're doing your science homework, and you read something interesting, let yourself go down the rabbit hole (even if you haven't finished the section).
Want to learn how to build something? Take classes on Udemy, Codecademy, or Youtube.
2. Value skills and foundational knowledge over facts
Don't worry about memorizing facts. It's a waste of time. You have Google.
Learn the fundamentals. Learn the 0s and 1s of basic math, physics, chemistry, writing, and design.
I'm sure other industries are different, but in tech, it's all about what you can do. An incredible portfolio will crush an ivy league school on a resume every day of the week. Learn how to do the things!
3. Make others feel good
My mom always says -- "It's so easy to make people feel good. Do you want to be one of those people who makes people feel better or worse after spending time with you?"
Being an entrepreneur is hard. You will need other people's help. In good times and bad.
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