“The secret of getting ahead is getting started.” – Agatha Christie
20s are a great time; you are young for the last time in your life and you are fully independent for the first time in your life. They mark the end of the beginning of our lives. All the efforts that we make in the first two decades of existence, finally bears fruit in our 20s and what we do in this decade, will determine every day of the rest of our lives. 20s, oh! What a great time they are in anyone’s life. A lot of life changing events take place. We step out from the comforts of our homes and go out there to make a name of our own, we get married, plan our lives ahead and amidst all this we make some really important career choices.
For some making the right career choice may be to take a job while others might be brave enough to venture out and create something of their own. I would say the latter is a better option than the former. Surprised? But then think about it some of the top pioneers of modern business started out while they were still under 30. Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Warren Buffet had all set their shops in their 20s. While in this century people such as Mark Zuckerburg and Daniel Ek changed our worlds for ever before they turned 30. Here are 10 good reasons why it is a great life decision to start a company in your 20s.
Energy and Youth
A startup requires energy, enthusiasm, motivation, leadership and passion. One word to sum it all up-‘youth’ and, in case you did not know this, today you are as young as you will ever be for the rest of your life! Think about it, aren’t these qualities simply synonymous with the youth of this country. Running a business requires a lot of energy; one has to always be alert and ready. In the initial stages the required effort is even more. Start ups require self motivated and enthusiastic individuals, people whose simple presence is enough to inspire their subordinates. All these qualities are inherently present in every 20 something person.The energy of a 20 year old person just need to be harnessed in the right direction and it can produce wonders. How many times have all of us in college, partied all night and then made it to the 9 am class on time. You can’t expect that from people of any other age group. If that energy can be spent in running a company, the company would certainly be doing great. Health wise, a 20 year old is a lot fitter than a 40 year old or even a 30 year old. Its natural, you just have more gas in the tank. At 20 if you need to work 18 hours a day, surviving on a diet of nothing but Maggi Noodles for 3 months and then recover to reach office on time the next day, then be it, you will manage. Ask this from a 30 year old, with a family to feed and you are in for a nightmare.
Innovation and Passion
Albert Einstein once said ‘Logic will get you from A to B, Imagination will get you everywhere else.’ At 20 it is easier to imagine and easier to innovate. As we grow we come to accept a large number of social prejudices and predominant mindsets; at 20 we are free of such constrains. Your imagination knows no bounds and it is easier to think out of the box. Same goes for passion. Passion is in the blood of a 20 something person, we all are passionate about something or the other in our own ways. Your passions in a way defines you at this age. To pursue something in life about which you are passionate as a career is the best thing you can do for yourself. It makes work play. And besides passion is contagious, it spreads like wild fire. Your passion will open doors for you that in later life will never bulge. People tend to give more importance to a 20 year old passionate and innovative entrepreneur than a 40 year old.
Combine the two, innovation and passion and you get a dynamic person, full of energy, waiting to conquer the world, to leave his mark behind.
As we grow up so do our responsibilities. When you were 5, your mom would pack your school bag and sit beside you while you did your homework. Fast forward 10 years and here you are, probably studying for your 10th boards. You are no longer dependent on your parents for your basic needs but you still depend on them for a wider scope. Fast forward another 10 years and now you are at 25. You are expected to have started earning a living, probably most of us are no longer living with our parents, we have become independent individuals, who can look after ourselves. Another 10 years down the line we would have settled down, started a family and their well being will be our responsibility.
So when you are in your 20s you have the least amount of responsibility that you will ever have again in your life. Mind you, this can be very important when you start a company. At an initial stage every company requires certain sacrifices. Building a startup is not that different from bringing up a baby. It does not just require all of your time but money and energy as well. You have to spend all you can from your pocket and the little that the company is making in the hopes of a better tomorrow. With a family to provide for this can be a burden like none other, but in your 20s it can be an experience like none other. The initial days of struggle, the times when you didn’t have enough to eat – not because you were broke but because you had to fund your startup; ask any 20 something CEO and he will tell you his version with a certain sense of pride.
It can be a great learning process
Life is just too short to stop learning and when it comes to learning no one is a better teacher than experience. An experience managing a company can prove to be more educative than an MBA.
You shouldn’t give up on trying just because you are scared that it might fail and even if the company doesn’t quite kick off, it doesn’t make you a failure. It was just an endeavor of yours that didn’t make it. But in personal terms you would learn more from a failure than from a success. Your experience with your company will teach you how to do it better the next time. The next time may be another adventure with some new startup or it may be a job this time around. But in both the fields, your lessons from the first time will always be your armor under the coat, your secret weapon.
If you’re not living life on the edge, you’re taking up too much space. Running any company always requires taking a certain amount of risks to live off the edge, every moment of your life. For a startup it is even more. As some anonymous entrepreneur once said ‘A startup is always just a few steps away from becoming a footnote in history’. Young people are always more prepared to take risks than older ones. The choice between ‘All or Nothing’ is a much easier one when you are 20 than it is when you are older. So, while it can be a risk, the rewards are out there to be weighed and dreamt of.
You have great idols to look up to
What do Facebook, Microsoft, Apple, Twitter, Branch and Spotify have in common? And don’t say all their founders are mentioned in this article (the founders of Branch are not mentioned here). The answer is they were all those once in generation idea, such ideas are mostly if not exclusively conceptualized by young people. Maybe you are sitting on top of that idea and are just too scared to let it out. Trust me it would be a hell of a burden to carry on your shoulders for the rest of your life. You don’t know how good your idea is unless you let it out and don’t wait for the future to do so. If you can think of it now then the time for it is also now.
The greatest power in man is the power to create that is what distinguishes us from other creatures. Your chance to create something truly astonishing and marvelous is when you are still fresh, when the mind has nothing to focus on but the idea, the time is in your 20s.
Retirement at 30! That’s the dream
This point can be best understood by our fathers. Ask them if you don’t believe me. Most people would love to retire at a date chosen by them and if given the chance to do it at 30, they will take it. Retirement does not mean you don’t have to work, it simply means that you are no longer required to earn a certain amount of money to maintain your lifestyle. It means that you have the resources to sustain yourself and your family even if you cannot earn a basic living.
Starting a company in your 20s is the best chance that most of us have to retire at 30.
If you ever have a chance in your life to create something that you can sit back and enjoy for the rest of your life then it is in your 20s. Yes, it is a risk. To start out so young, there is always the risk of failing. But then does age really matter when it comes to failing. No. And beside what is a better time to take a risk, when you are 20 and have an entire life ahead to make it work if it doesn’t to go out there and make a new venture or when you are 40 and your actions will not just change your life but also that of your family. The choice is yours to make, the dream is yours to live.