Do I regret?

A little while ago I wrote about “starting your at entrepreneurship” and how at a young age I wrote my own business plan for a few ideas I had. The content also contained a description of something which happened over Christmas that I was really impressed by.

The content seemed to gain a little interest and Ashley Baxter posted the comment below;

I don’t think it’s wrong for young people to be entrepreneurs, and I definitely don’t think it’s generally seen that way? Look at The Prince’s Trust charity; they are actively encouraging and funding youngsters to get into business. It was likely a few small minded adults who looked at you oddly, but I very much doubt people think it’s wrong. Sure, these kids are so few and far between that they can’t help but be seen as ‘different’, especially as kids are more so inclined to have fun than dedicate their time and energy into a profitable business (even though that is fun).

Your last paragraph says you shouldn’t hold back if you have a great idea. I couldn’t agree more myself and think too many people sit on their ideas, but do you ever regret not giving any of your early ideas a whirl?

I’d like to thank Ash for her comment, I wanted to reply straight away but then wanted to take some time away and taken her comment in to consideration and possibly reply later when had thought more about it. After much deliberation I thought it would be better to actually write a new post as to why I did/did not follow any of my ideas along the way of my youth.

Never hold it back

Like I said in my previous post, it’s definitely not wrong for a young person to be an entrepreneur or have the ideas to enable them becoming one. I think it would be defeatist to restrict an entrepreneur whether young or old. It’s something that is in ones blood and should be left alone. One hundred ideas could go wrong and one could go right and of course it could only take one idea to make someone a very comfortable lifestyle for the future.

I do believe, just like Ashley, that many people hold back on their ideas instead of taking them forward. More so because of their fear of risk. Risk can be looked upon in many ways, however, I believe in most cases it would either be the fear of failure or financial instability that stops entrepreneurial ideas from taking places. You can look upon risk in another way and view it as the difference to either making a decision or not… I wonder how many entrepreneurs have thought “what if…” long after they held back on taking an idea forward.

Regret

I have a lot of regret and it’s something that I think about quite a lot. I generally come up with crazy ideas quite often, of which I’m working on one at the moment. Looking back at my previous post about the business plans I wrote then I was 15, the idea would have needed to start almost immediately as at the time there was a surge of broadband connectivity throughout the country and it would have only lasted for 2 years. In that 2 years had I made any money I would have more than likely invested it in something else. That particular time of my life when I wrote them wasn’t the part I have regret about, I thoroughly enjoyed sitting with my Dad learning about cash-flows, targets and foot-fall. I do believe in fate and that everything happens or doesn’t happen for a reason, had I produced those businesses I might not be where I am today enjoying everything I am doing.

The only area of my youth that I regret giving up on is nVmax, the two and a half years that Andrew and I spent on creating the community based around nVmax was amazing. I’ve never been able to really put in to words what it was like maintaining a site of such size, working with all of the gaming companies to receive preview and review material (hardware, software and games). Back then, 2001 to 2003 we were getting serious amounts of traffic and had we taken it further we may have been able to make something of it. When we were working on it there wasn’t as much revenue involved in advertising online that we knew of, however looking back on it now I think we would have been more than comfortable had we carried on.

That is as far as the regret goes, whilst I miss nVmax a lot as it did take up much of my life whilst I was working on it, it did give me such a lot of experience for what I now do everyday. I am more than sure that the experience I gained through working on nVmax all those years ago has enabled me to succeed in the things I’m working on now.

In essence I regret giving up because of what could have happened, however I don’t regret getting the experience. That experience has helped me out in more ways than I’ll ever realise.

Starting young at Entrepreneurship

Entrepreneurship is described by dictionary.com as being;

a person who organizes and manages any enterprise, esp. a business, usually with considerable initiative and risk.

I was 15 when I wrote my first mini business plan. It was before the big boom of internet cafes and well before fast broadband lines were plumbed in to houses up and down the country. My business plan was scribbled down on two sheets of A4 with an attached profit/loss and growth analysis sheet. I sat with my Dad on a sunny afternoon in Exeter whilst we were on a summer break, scribbling down an idea of setting up an internet cafe with the extension of it actually providing food to increase the turnover. I worked out roughly how much people would pay to use the service and on average how much they would spend on Food/Drink whilst they were there.

I also had the idea of setting up a roaming LAN Party company, where I would tour the country visiting major cities and bringing the PC Gaming community in to one large hall for a gaming competition. I looked in to the kind of sponsors to approach, how much it could cost to setup an event, how much to charge entrants, the likelihood of being able to sell food/drinks on site etc

It’s not usually normal for a 15 year old to write business plans, which showed when I told people about it and they’ve given me funny looks and said that I should have been out playing football or some other youthful past-time. Even though both ideas never came to fruition, I still felt that at the time they could have worked. I’ve always wanted to make money from a very young age, I’ve always had an interest in business and I’m not really sure where it came from. I do however believe that entrepreneurship is something that is instilled within our genes, just like being creative.

It’s not a bad thing…

If you look at a list of top entrepreneurs, the people involved generally started making their businesses and money well before they were 30. Most 30 year old people haven’t even achieved a management role with their companies at that age yet, young entrepreneurs who have created their idea in to a business have often started making serious cash.

The question is, why is it so wrong for young people to be entrepreneurs? Would it really be beneficial for them to have more of a ‘life’ and be more child-like by playing football/rugby on a Saturday instead of scheming away on their new business idea? Should adults hold back the thought process because they think it is wrong?

Making £2 per pathway

During the Christmas break, we saw about 12 inches of snow fall over a weeks period and our entire street came to an absolute standstill. Under the snow there lay at least an inch or so of solid ice which showed no signs of defrosting because of how cold it was. There was no movement from cars let alone anyone wishing to gamble on the ice covered pathways. One Sunday morning there was a knock at the door, living in a quiet street it’s usually odd for us to get visitors when we’re not expecting them. On opening the door there were two young guys, about 14/15 years old holding shovels and brushes.

They came up with the idea of helping everyone to get mobile by clearing the pathways of ice and were charging £2 a garden path. Genius! They must have cleared around 60 houses that day giving them £60 each for a few hours work. I couldn’t help but be impressed that they had used their own initiative to make some extra money from the bad weather.

Whilst this was a very small show of entrepreneurship, they still went out to make money from something that hadn’t been done in the estate at that time. Who knows if they have another idea of making money for something else but I certainly don’t think they should be restricted in their endeavors. Who knows whether a £2 pathway could turn in to a £2 million business in ten years time.

Never hold back…

I just wanted to say that you should never hold back if you think you have a great idea. Give it a whirl, if it doesn’t work out then you’ve just acquired one of the best things in life. Experience.