Last week, we took a look at 10 teen entrepreneurs who told us about their experience getting started with their own business. This week we’re talking to our panel of 40 twentysomething entrepreneurs on being fearless, driven, and energized when it comes to running their own businesses and building up their brands!
1. “The best thing about it is that all my friends constantly complain they’re shackled to their desks in jobs they absolutely hate. I get to meet a wide variety of interesting clients on a daily basis and implement my own ideas whenever I want. I work on my own terms, doing what I love. I love what I do every single day - you can’t put a price on satisfaction in your work life.”
– Nick Whitmore, 24, Managing Director, contentwriter.co.uk
2. “I think the best part about being an entrepreneur at my age is the opportunity to build my own legacy. I don’t have that complacency or false sense of security other people my age have when you’re getting a fixed salary at the end of the month. There’s a fire under me every morning! I work from home & I’m in control of my own time and I can fully enjoy work and spending time with my baby girl.”
– Ruth Noel-Samaroo, 25, Online Accounting Specialist, Noel Bookkeeping
3. “I’ve been living from my ventures for the past 4 years now, grown one of them to up to 30 employees and loved every moment of it. The thing I like the most about it is the complete freedom you have both in location and the way you schedule your day.”
4. “#RAWR: The best part about being an entrepreneur while being in your 20’s is the understanding that you have more time than most current successful entrepreneurs. Time is life’s most important aspect and time can allow you from one day being good, to one day being great!”
– Johnathan Grzybowski, 20s, Marketing Director, Dino Enterprise
5. “I started my entrepreneurship journey when I was 17. I started off by selling eBooks, games, and watches on Ebay. It’s extremely fun being an entrepreneur. Every day is a new challenge. I get to work on new ideas every day and you never get bored. I have come to realize that achieving your goals can give you immense happiness. Thus, I create both short-term and long-term goals for myself. By the evening when I check off all my short-term goals for the day, I am a happy and content person. I can then get on to writing my book with a pleasant mind (currently working on my 2nd book).”
– Harshajyoti Das, 24, Founder, FireYourMentor
6. “The best part about being an entrepreneur at a young age is that you get to fail early and often. Not the bankruptcy type of failure, the learning from your own mistakes type of failure. While your peers are busy working every day in one specific job role, you have the opportunity to be exposed to every area in a business. You have to trust your gut and overcome new obstacles every day. Being able to face those obstacles head on and learn from your mistakes accelerates your learning and increases your chances of success.”
7. “I started Waterway Financial Group, an online life insurance agency, with my business partner 11 months ago when we were both 26 years old. The first thing you are probably thinking is ‘Life insurance? Old men usually sell life insurance.’ We have found a way to incorporate this hundred year old business into the modern world of technology. My favorite part is being able to work anywhere in the world we want, as long as we have an internet connection. While many 20-30 year olds are dealing with the corporate ladder, we are coming up with new ways to market online without a boss breathing over our shoulder. Sure, there have been some hurdles along the way, but when you are this young you have to realize the potential of putting yourself in the right position for where you want to be in the future.”
– Chris Herath, 27, Partner/Co-Owner, Waterway Financial Group
8. “The best part of being an entrepreneur is the freedom and flexibility. I can work whenever I want and wherever I want. If I want to launch a new product, I have the free reign to do that. Just a few weeks ago I realized that we need a cool summer product to make up for our lack of sales in our baking products. A week later I had a product made and was getting my graphic designer to create packaging. I have ownership of everything I do and I would never have this kind of freedom, responsibility and experience at another corporation. This makes me more valuable than another 28 year old, should I decide to sell the company and go back to corporate America.”
– Kelly Costello, 28, Owner and Founder, Puppy Cake LLC
9. “I will be turning 29 next week and every time I think about the fact that I have launched a successful company before 30 I get goosebumps. I have recently launched a company called The Mommy Spot Tampa which is a local events company and website for moms. We had a two month social media campaign and had a sold out Launch Event with 75 women! What I love most about being a young entrepreneur is that I have a head start on life! I’m setting myself up for success at such a young age that if I fail, I have a lot of time to get right back up and try again.”
– Christina Campbell, 29, Founder & CEO, The Mommy Spot Tampa
10. “I started a shuttle bus company that runs for private parties, concerts, weddings, and day trips to the Saratoga Race Track and Casino! I am 26 years old and started it in 2013 when I was still 24. Best part about running my own business is the flexibility I have to be able to control my schedule. I also coach lacrosse for a local school district and work in real estate. Without the flexibility I wouldn’t be able to do all these things!”
– Traci Cornwell, 26, Owner, The Giddy Up
11. “My favorite things about being an entrepreneur are flexibility and vision. Instead of being locked down to a single job, you get to custom build your own. It’s a lot of hard work, but you get to choose a direction and a project that you are passionate about – and pursue it in the way that best fits you and your company’s goals.”
– Jonathan Weber, 22, Founder, Marathon Studios Inc.
12. “The best thing about being an entrepreneur at this age is that I get to lay the groundwork now. My age gives me a slight edge because people want to see what I’m about and they’re more likely to give me try. The quality of my work is superb so I retain most of my clientele.”
– Je Tuan Lavyonne, 27, Owner, Je Tuan Lavyonne
13. “I am 29 and have been running my business for a decade. Yes, a decade! I started a little website in 2004 right after I entered college because it seemed like more than a few people were asking me to do graphic design projects for them. I ended up learning about printing & production because people then wanted me to print what I designed for them. I now make printed fridge magnets, cards, invitations, stickers, and even small flags. After I graduated college, it was a tough choice- I could either get a computer programming job, as I had originally intended, or I could continue with the design & print business that I had created. There would not be time for both; the business had grown too much. I decided to stick with my business, and have made a lot of improvements over the last few years now that it is my sole focus. The best part about going this route is that I can move whenever I feel like it and live wherever I want. My customers find me through the internet- no matter where I go, I can work with them and make them awesome things.”
– Angela Bauter, 29, Designer, Save the Date Originals
14. “Several months ago I opened The Law Office of E. Edward Qaqish. With an abundance of young lawyers and a limited number of jobs, law firm jobs are no longer the viable options that they once were. After a couple interviews and seeing peers getting laid off, I decided I didn’t want someone else controlling my future. I’ve learned lessons along the way and look forward to growing in the near future.”
– Ed Qaqish, 29, Owner, The Law Office of E. Edward Qaqish
15. “The best part about being an entrepreneur in your 20s is the crazy feeling that anything is possible and if you want to turn the world upside down, you can do it. Our generation is interested in more than just profits – we want to leave a mark on this world and do good. That’s what drives me every day with all the ups and downs that come with being a young entrepreneur.”
– Tom Harari, 29, Co-Founder/CEO, Cleanly
16. “The perks of being a young entrepreneur (mompreneur in my case) are endless! There’s the balanced life that I’m able to lead around dynamic work habits, no more oppressive bosses in 9-5 settings, and no more layers of decision making to please clients. At Aveya Creative, my growing team and I work intelligently and efficiently to transform ideas into top of mind brands. We offer branding and marketing services exclusively to entrepreneurs and have so much fun doing so. It’s exciting to be part of the next big thing with every client. Working out of co-working spaces makes work fun and clients love our flexible schedules; we’re always able to meet deadlines for any project large or small.”
– Mariya Bouraima, 29, Founder, Aveya Creative
17. “Being an entrepreneur is great, especially when you are young. I can afford to risk everything and lose if things don’t go well. It also gives me a new perspective on how the business world works.”
– Bryce Conway,25, Founder, Get Free Flights
18. “I think one of the best things about being a business owner at a younger age is having the ability to learn and build skills in many areas. When you are running your own business no matter how large or small you have to be able to juggle many different roles at once: sales, accounting, legal, social media, marketing, etc. I’ve had to learn a lot of these things as I go and having that experience has helped me greatly. You also learn to be very proactive. If you aren’t taking care of something then no one else is. It’s not easy at first but you learn to quickly get things done and focus on the most important aspects of your day. The best thing however is that you get to build your own company. Don’t get me wrong it is a ton of work, but it feels great to be building your vision every day.”
– Matt Forrest, 26, Principal, Cardinal Maps and Design (Cartographic Design)
19. “As a college student, I was discouraged to see most of my peers take corporate jobs in finance and consulting. I felt that as young people, we could be using our youth to do more for our country – to take a risk, but to push innovation forward, while creating real jobs.
I convinced my co-founder to drop out of law school and we went at it, going through two failed business ideas before arriving at Illustria, which solves the creative recruitment problem for businesses. We’ve signed on 50+ customers in the last nine months and have a team of 10 full-time employees and growing. The best part of being a young entrepreneur is seeing that my ideas can become a reality and an agent for positive change. Pushing the world forward doesn’t require a certain age, just a willingness to persist.”
– Katherine Long, 22, Founder, IllustriaDesigns.com
20. “I’m an entrepreneur in my late twenties, and have now built a couple of multi-million dollar software companies. I think the biggest advantage of being in your earlier years is that you’re a lot more adaptable to failure. Successful companies take on many iterations, and I feel that it’s easier to take punches when you’re younger and can bounce back.”
– Daniel Lambert, 20s, CEO, boardvitals.com
21. “What’s the best part about being a young entrepreneur? The freedom! I started my business when I started college (at 18), so I’ve always loved the idea of owning a business and having that freedom. When I graduated from college in May 2013, I decided to pursue my business full-time. Being 23, with no family to support yet and no college loans fortunately, has allowed me the opportunity to pursue my own business and take risks with my company. Since my emphasis in college was entrepreneurship, I learned that being a start up takes some sacrifices, which I can happily take at my young age.”
– Megan Reynolds, 23, Owner/Designer, Flawed Perfection Jewelry
22. “Being an entrepreneur at such a young age allows me the opportunity to take risks and chances on new business ideas that I normally wouldn’t take later in life. Not having to support children yet gives me the liberty to potentially forgo a salary at times in order to get a new business off the ground.”
– Alex Miningham, 29, Founder/President, Discount Park and Ride
23. “To sum it up, my wife left finance to go back to school and become a veterinarian. We traveled 10 hours south from Connecticut to Southwest Virginia. Within 6 months, my employer let me go. We had just dropped from a dual-income family, to a one-income family and had bought a house. Within two months of being let go, I was able to start a marketing consulting company helping people like myself launch a business. 3 years later, we’re still here and doing great!
The best part about being an entrepreneur is being in control of your own destiny. I love the fact that I can set my own schedule, work when I want, how I want and report to nobody but my clients. Being an entrepreneur is about lifestyle redesign and creating the life that you want to live.”
– Chris Mitlitsky, 29, Owner, Automation Playbook
24. “Leigh-Anne Anderson and I Co-Founded Anderson Miller PR to share lifestyle brands and services businesses with customer’s that need solutions, as well as to help businesses doing good reach their full potential. The best part about being this age in public relations is that we are the same age as most of our client’s target audience. We’re accustomed to working with digital media, and we are comfortable speaking to those platforms.”
– Nora Miller, 28, Co-Founder, Anderson Miller PR
25. “The best part of being an entrepreneur in your 20s is the feeling that you are in control of your financial future. Success isn’t tied up in the work, planning, or vision of another individual. If my plan is successful, then great! If it fails, then I take the hit, but at least it’s a result of my failure and not something beyond my control.”
– Brandi Going, 22, Designer/Owner, Hemp Galore
26. “Having started this business at 21, it has been an interesting road throughout the last 8 years. For me, the best part about being an entrepreneur at my age is knowing that I have indeed created something that is having such a positive impact on people’s lives around the globe. Created to give a little dose of happy healing to those recovering from a bone break or surgery, Casttoo has truly made a difference for some many individuals throughout the years. Knowing that you made someone smile, or eased their pain even just a little, is an absolutely wonderful feeling.”
– Jessica Smith, 29, President, Casttoo Inc.
27. “I started out doing web design as a freelancer, but people would always ask for additional services when their website was ready. For example, I would design a site and then the client would want hosting, search engine optimization, social networking, blogging services, etc. As a result All My Web Needs was born.
The best part about being an entrepreneur at this age is that people are pleasantly surprised by my age and take me more seriously as a result. I guess they are impressed because they see that I am much younger than most business owners and they know I had to work that much harder to get here.”
– Brandon Howard, 26, Owner, All My Web Needs
27. “I’d worked in the social media field for 5 years, and after seeing the success my husband (also in his 20s) had working for himself, I was inspired to do the same. I created a website, told all my friends and family about my career shift and quit my 9-5 job.
It was certainly a nerve-wracking decision, but I knew if there was ever a time to try to work for myself on my own terms, now was the time – before I got too settled in a corporate environment. It’s so rewarding to choose the projects I want to work on with the people I want to work with. The freedom is incomparable to any other job I’ve ever had.”
– Lisa Parkin, 26, CEO/President, Social Climber
28. “The best part of being an entrepreneur at 29 is the time I still have left on this path. I can pivot when necessary and it not make too much time to recover. I started at age 27 leaving education not knowing anything about running a business. Less than 3 years later I am an expert in creating intimate national tours. The biggest lesson I learned as an entrepreneur at such a young age is patience. In business you will have to learn how to patiently wait and develop relationships in order to successful thrive at any state in the economy.”
– Vernetta R. Freeney, 29, Fusion Tour Creator, Women Are Gamechangers LLC
29. “One of the great things about being in our 20’s and 30’s is that while most of our friends are doing their masters we are running a business which we consider it’s a master’s program all on its own. And instead of getting in debt we are making revenue. The second thing is we aren’t afraid of making mistakes we have learned the value of each lesson and we have been able to adjust accordingly and quickly.”
– Samantha de la Fuente, 27, Co-Owner with Alberto Torres, Ixi Studio
30. “After I spotted a student riding around campus one night with Christmas lights duct-taped to the bottom of his skateboard, I started my business, Board Blazers LED Underglow Skateboard & Scooter Lighting, as a 20 year old sophomore at Arizona State University. Now in our third year, we’ve sold lights in 15 countries and in almost every U.S. state. The best part about being a young entrepreneur is *freedom*. Because I can set my own schedule, I get to take advantage of my youth to travel, spend time with friends, and pursue other hobbies and interests while I have the opportunity.”
– Greg Rudolph, 22, Founder, Board Blazers LED Underglow Skateboard & Scooter Lighting
31. “Youth is often negatively equated with naiveté, but naiveté can also enable creativity and fearlessness. The fact that our team of entrepreneurs are all in our twenties likely means that we are more naive about the risks our startup may be incurring, but also more energized about the possibilities and opportunities inherent in our work. Having never built anything like SpotRocket before gives me such a thrill – the knowledge that we are able to help others by creating a novel, valuable connection between students and startups keeps me thinking about SpotRocket at all times – in the shower, at meals, or even at 2AM (as my email-burdened teammates will attest!). Our youthful exuberance enables the enthusiasm of our users, which in turn gets us more excited about them every day.”
– Hann Yew, 25, Co-Founder, SpotRocket
32. “The best part to me about being an entrepreneur in my later 20s is that I get to mess up, learn a lot, there isn’t a lot that is tying me down so I can really explore, and have the freedom to learn.”
– Michael Flanigan, 27, Co-Founder, Covello
33. “I am building my site to encourage students to choose a better academic future. It is aimed to show students another way of researching a university, which will result in a higher level of happiness. Being an entrepreneur is the best, because you become a jack of all trades and are forced to constantly broaden your knowledge in different subjects. Overcoming challenges makes you a better person and you meet the most awesome, positive and talented innovators in the world.”
– Tatiana Sokolova, 25, Owner, MajorAide
34. “I’m a 26 year old woman with her own thriving photography business. I’m originally from MA but moved to NY a few years ago to pursue me dreams and now I’m trying to make them happen each and every day. The best part of being an entrepreneur at my age is that I get to experience different things than most people my own age. As an entrepreneur, you can’t blame anyone but yourself for things that go wrong – at the end of the day, you pay yourself and in order to do that, you have to be 100% invested in yourself and your business.. It’s been a long hard journey to where I am today but honestly, it’s been the greatest experience I could have asked for.”
– Meg Raiano, 26, Owner, Fashion, Dance & Portrait Photographer
35. “The best part about being a 29 year old business owner is the ability to take risks. Without having a family to support, I have adopted the Fail Fast mentality of the Lean Start-Up business model. Being in my 20s, I do not have a fear of failing, so can take calculated risks and try new ideas without being held back by fear or obligation. I am also gaining insights into every aspect of the business world, from sales to finance to digital marketing. These experiences, like a Real World MBA, will help me throughout my career.”
– Michelle Stansbury, 29, Founder & CEO, Little Penguin PR
36. “I like that I can take my company in any direction. If I want to be more involved in a particular sector of the economy, I can do that. I also like that I am responsible for my own success or failure. So when I’m looking at taking on a project and managing the associated risk, it’s up to me how risky or safe I want to play it.”
– Josh Simon, 28, President, SimonCRE
37. “Becoming a successful entrepreneur has been a lifelong dream of mine, and my previous job of working as a Customer Sales and Service Representative for a travel agency inspired me to take the plunge and purchase a CruiseOne travel franchise so I could become an independent travel agent and business owner. It was the best decision I ever made.
The best part of being a successful entrepreneur at a young age is that my company has time to grow. I am excited for my upcoming plans to add travel agents to my team, launch a new ad campaign and revamp my marketing strategy. I believe these expansion plans will solidify a foundation for many years of success by enabling me to enhance my profile, create lasting impressions and build stronger relationships with current and future clients.
The possibilities for my CruiseOne franchise are endless and I look forward to seeing my lifelong dream continue to grow. Managing and operating my entire franchise has been an exciting learning experience and I look forward to what the future holds.”
– Michael Ramdial, 28, Franchise Owner, CruiseOne- Michael Ramdial
38. “I am an international student in the Netherlands. I arrived here at the age of 18 and just like everyone had trouble finding housing accommodations. In fact, I almost ended up homeless. Out of this experience grew Nestpick, a platform that enables students to rent their rooms entirely online. With this simple mechanism, Nestpick enables students to rent places they could have never rented otherwise and increases the supply of student housing dramatically.
This is exactly what I believe is one of the greatest powers of entrepreneurship – the opportunity to solve problems, change things for the better, and to make the world a better place. Even though I am young, I feel this is exactly the right time to start a business. As a student you do not face such an unbearable risk of losing it all and every bit of experience you gain will have a greater value as you grow older. It is all about believing in yourself and the motivation to take control. The sooner you do this, the larger the fruit of your early experiences.”
– Fabian Dudek, 21, Founder, Nestpick BV
39. “I am the 23-year-old co-founder of a boutique public relations firm, Belle and Bold Public Relations in San Antonio, Texas. My business partner, Natalie (25 years old) and I just celebrated our one year and have achieved very special (and somewhat unexpected — i.e. #3 “Best Start-Up in San Antonio!) milestones in such a short amount of time since starting last March. When people ask us why we love what we do or what we love about being young business business owners, we always have the same answer: passion projects!
We have woven philanthropic efforts into our business plan. Although we are young, we really want to give back to the city that raised us. I love having the ability to decide whether or not I want to work pro-bono on non-profit clients or cut budgets in half due to fascinating and worthy clients that may not have the PR budget at the time. When you are at larger firms, it’s hard to have a say in who you work with because you are trying to make sure you have enough clients/projects to pay your bills every month and compensate your large staff and/or make sure you are at least breaking even every month. I love being able to take on various clients, work at my own pace, make executive decisions that I know will positively impact my company and my clients and lastly, I like that I have a voice. I have a voice that matters, that makes a difference and that is being heard.
Most freshly-graduated students are going out into corporate America and starting from the bottom without having their voice being heard. I love the fact that while I am a new graduate, I am able to make decisions that will make a difference, that I can see make a difference. Being born and raised in San Antonio and having families very deeply rooted here, Natalie and I like to say that we are the “new wave” of what our families have previously established here in the community; this is our chance to give back, pay or no pay, to the city that has raised us .
Although we are two twentysomething’s navigating in a city of known for baby boomers, that does not stop us! We live by and promote a lifestyle of ‘Be Bold’ and encourage fellow millennials to go out and go after what it is that they want! We are hoping to start a revolution.”
– Alanna D’Antonio, 23, Co-Founder, Belle and Bold Public Relations
40. “I started my business while I was still working in the IT company. I had a full-time job as a manager and I must admit that I learned a lot about websites and internet business while working there. However, I always wanted to have my own business and work for myself, because I didn’t like an idea that I am working for someone else and making someone else’s dreams come true. So I started to work on my own website after work hours. To be honest, that was very hard. You feel tired after 9 hours at the office, yet you have to spend another 3 – 4 hours working at home every evening. It took me a couple of months to finish my website and to make the first sale. However, that was very satisfying and I just felt that this is what I want to do. My sales were increasing every week little by little, but it took me another half a year to finally reach the level of income that would allow me to quit my job. I think this was the best decision I have ever made.
The thing I enjoy most about being an entrepreneur at such a young age is that I am a boss of myself. Of course, you have to work hard if you want to succeed, but I just feel free. I like an idea that I can plan my time by myself.”
– John Perry, 24, Muse Templates Pro
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