At just 17 years old, Sawyer Howitt has already accomplished much more than many could achieve. Working as a project manager at Meriwether Group, a Portland business development service, he helps businesses both large and small to find opportunities for adapting to fresh new technology.
Aside from his professional acumen, Howitt is a student and philanthropist, championing especially for youth mentorship. Through these interests, Sawyer Howitt has worked with a number of entrepreneurs of all ages, from the business owners who consult with the Meriwether Group to fellow students at his school and in internships. Working with other budding business people has provided him with insights on the traits all successful young entrepreneurs must cultivate.
What Young Entrepreneurs Need to Know Now to Succeed Later
With new technologies emerging every day, young people have greater opportunities to make a mark in the business world. Young entrepreneurs are perfectly poised to deliver innovation and new ideas. By capitalizing on their strengths and following some basic guidelines, individuals in their teens and early twenties can lay a foundation for future success in business. Here are five lessons from Sawyer Howitt that can help an aspiring entrepreneur of any age:
- There Is No “Right Time”
Starting a business, like any other major life decision, takes careful thought and preparation. However, there comes a time when there is nothing to be gained from waiting. Many young people may feel that they need to wait until they’re older or more experienced before getting started. However, in many cases, waiting simply leads to missed opportunities for growth.
If you have a passion for something, start working toward achieving success in it right away. Whether this means finding an internship, taking specific courses or starting up an online business, the time to start is now.
- Being Young Has its Advantages
As a young entrepreneur, you may lack the practical work experience and knowledge of an older person in your field. However, what you lack in experience can be made up for in energy, persistence and a willingness to look at things in a new way.
Many young entrepreneurs also have a financial advantage over their older counterparts. Young people without families and mortgage payments have greater flexibility and a chance to take risks. Capitalize on this in order to make the most of your available opportunities.
- Practice Self-Confidence
Many people are likely to discount you based on your youth or perceived lack of experience. This makes it especially important to maintain confidence and learn how to be self-spoken and assertive when necessary. You are your own self-promoter, and it’s your job to ensure that others can see and respect your skills and contributions.
Self-confidence is a trait that must be learned, and it takes practice to find the right balance between confidence and arrogance. Practice by stepping up and taking ownership of your achievements, and pay attention to the way professionals you respect react and behave. As you improve your skills, you will find that others treat you with more respect as well.
- Don’t Underestimate the Power of Networking
You never know when a simple conversation could lead to a powerful opportunity. Something that entrepreneurs understand is that business opportunities are not limited to business hours. For this reason, it’s important to consider every interaction as a way to make a good impression on a potential future colleague or customer.
Young people are often in a position to meet a wide variety of people, often much wider and more diverse than what those outside of college might encounter. Make the most of these opportunities and keep track of names and contact information for people in your industry; you never know when that might prove useful later.
Learn more about Sawyer Howitt and his career and educational background here.
- Surround Yourself with the Right People
In the beginning, your business may be a one-man operation. However, once the time comes to begin adding employees, it’s important to be mindful of who you’re hiring. You need to strike the right balance between the right skill-set and the right personality to fit your operation’s company culture. Someone who is very talented may be a terrible fit for your overall big-picture goals for the future of the company.
Whenever possible, it’s important to surround yourself with people who are knowledgeable and talented; you want to build a team of people who are better than you at their specific niche. In this way, you can build quality talent and learn from your employees. Also be sure to do what it takes to make your employees happy: Reward achievements, provide space for them to pursue work goals in the way that they’re most comfortable, and work swiftly to answer their concerns. Happy employees are the cornerstone of any successful business.