More and more teens prefer to become their own boss someday. They’ve seen the perks from famous young CEOs like Mark Zuckerberg. Then there are the teen influencers who make huge money on TikTok or Instagram, like Charli D’Amelio. Well, as the toxicities of the nine-to-five work culture become exposed, it’s no wonder teens don’t find office work appealing anymore.
The advantage of this is that teens learn to think more creatively. They find ways to succeed without wearing themselves thin. Some adults believe teens have it way too easier, but that’s not always the case. While teens are eager to avoid the things we adults have suffered from, they’re not necessarily afraid of challenges. In fact, they already challenge themselves by deciding to skip college.
Skipping college, though socially acceptable, can still be intimidating. We all know that a degree can promise more special opportunities compared to a high school diploma. But starting a business doesn’t require a college degree anyway, so should teens be discouraged?
If you think entrepreneurship is your calling, and you don’t want to wait until you’re in your 20s to start, ask yourselves these questions first:
1. Are you too young?
When you Google “Young CEOs,” the people on the list are mostly in their early 20s to early 30s. It can make you wonder if 16 or 17 is just too young for business ownership. Good news: it’s not. Famous young CEOs may be older than you, but some entrepreneurs are as young as 13 years old.
Hart Main is one. At 13 years old, he founded ManCan, which makes masculine-scented candles. Hart came up with the idea of his products after teasing his sister about the girly scent of the candles she sold for a fundraiser. With the help of his parents, Hart developed the business using soup cans to make the candles.
Caine Monroy is another incredibly young entrepreneur. He was only nine when he operated his own makeshift cardboard arcade inside his father’s auto parts store. His business becomes internationally known. It prompted the birth of the Imagination Foundation, a nonprofit organization encouraging creativity and business-mindedness among children.
So you’re not too young to start a business. When you already have a perfect idea, support, and resources, you’re all set to begin.
2. Will your GPA affect your business skills?
Your grade point average (GPA) measures how well you performed in school, not in business. As such, it won’t determine how good of an entrepreneur you could be. However, your GPA will matter if you’re still considering college. If you want to start a business now and get a degree later, universities will check how well you performed in high school.
To weigh your college options, use a free cumulative GPA calculator for high school students. But remember that even if you didn’t get the grade you’re expecting, don’t beat yourself up. Many entrepreneurs admit not excelling in school, yet look how far they’ve made it now.
3. Will you have a mentor?
Entrepreneurs need mentors. Seeking tips and business lessons from the internet isn’t enough. Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, and Richard Branson all had — and still have — mentors, proving how crucial this step is.
You don’t have to find someone famous to act as your mentor. The business world is full of experienced people who want to help beginners. Start by finding the entrepreneurs in your community. Your teachers may also be helpful. If you have family members in business, maybe they’d be happy to help you, too. It might be a bit intimidating to ask someone to be your mentor, but it will all be worth it in the end.
4. Are your parents supportive of your decision?
If your parents are hesitant to let you start a business so young, don’t antagonize them. It’s entirely normal for them to react this way. After all, a company is essentially a gamble. No matter how perfect your idea is and you have funding and support from your peers, nothing guarantees your success.
To convince your parents to allow you, ask yourself how committed you are to your decision. Do you see yourself running a business for the long term? Spur-of-the-moment choices don’t always have good outcomes, so don’t rush it. Develop the idea first, show your parents its potential, and you’ll convince them.
If they note your commitment, discipline, resilience, and creativity, among other key entrepreneurial qualities, they’d warm up to your idea and let you pursue it. If you fail, at least you have already built a solid foundation to start again.
Starting and running a business isn’t easy for anyone, so take time to think it through. But, by all means, skipping college to start a business isn’t a bad idea. Just don’t dismiss the importance of school because, at the end of the day, your education is your greatest treasure.