After graduating college, I started BuzzBurrito, which is a mobile marketing company. I mean, doesn’t that name scream mobile marketing? I bet you thought it was a restaurant selling beer and burritos. So I’m a young entrepreneur, chasing my dreams, and after almost a year, I’ve learned a lot. There’s a lot to learn when you’re fresh out of college and starting a business. It’s one thing to study entrepreneurship, but it’s another thing altogether to entrepreneur. Yes, I used it as a verb. The following are lessons I learned, lessons of a young entrepreneur.
5 Lessons and Observations of a Young Entrepreneur
Entrepreneurs must be self-starters.
That seems obvious but it’s so true. Situations constantly arise in bootstrapping startups in which you need take initiative. You need to be comfortable researching, educating yourself, learning new skills, and applying that newly found knowledge and skills. As an example, during our last partners meeting, the idea of an affiliate program was tossed about. Moving forward, I’ll research and educate myself on affiliate marketing and then apply that information to BuzzBurrito. Startups are full of situations like this, which require you to research, learn new information and skills, and take action.
Start selling NOW!
Start selling as soon as possible! As a perfectionist, I had wanted everything to be perfect before BuzzBurrito started selling its products and services. But when it comes to a startup, you can’t wait for everything to be perfect. It’s not likely that everything will ever be “perfect.” If you’re not selling, you’re not making money and able to pay business expenses, let alone personal expenses. Sales are absolutely necessary to move the startup forward.
Sales aren’t easy. Don’t expect them to be.
As a first-time entrepreneur, I found out that sales are much harder to come by than I expected. During college, I expected us to make sales, but I never planned how to make those sales, which was a big mistake. In the back of my mind, I had hoped social media would play a significant role. But social media can’t be your primary marketing strategy, unless you have a fun and unique consumer product. Cold calling and emailing is much more difficult, but for B2B, it’s absolutely necessary. So be prepared to pick up the phone and call someone you don’t know.
Learn more skills.
The more skills you have, the more you’ll be able to bootstrap your startup and limit expenses. I was introduced to Photoshop as a 12-year-old, thanks to an illegal installation by my brother-in-law. Over the years, I learned how to use Photoshop. Now, I create quality graphics for marketing materials and our clients’ mobile apps. During college, I was introduced to WordPress and SEO, and I continued that education after college. Now, I’m able to develop WordPress sites and optimize them for search engines. Thank goodness our site was developed on WordPress. The more knowledge and skills you have, the more valuable you are to a startup. More skills equal fewer expenses.
Mobile is the future.
According to the Pew Research Center, 58% of Americans possess a smartphone, but that’s not the impressive statistic. 83% of Americans between the ages of 18 and 29 possess a smartphone! Before studying mobile marketing in college, I knew little on how to market through mobile devices. I didn’t even own a smartphone until last June, so I never considered mobile marketing as a way to increase sales and customer loyalty. After studying mobile marketing in college and starting a mobile marketing business, I know it’s the future for businesses. Not only is it future, it’s the present.
Photographs courtesy of Autumn Kern, a photographer in Gettysburg, PA