This is my first post in the business blog category. Like the other categories, each one is introduced with a general manifesto to explain my goals for the content I will write.
“I wasn’t the only kid born in 1955.” - Bill Gates
In an interview, Bill Gates (founder of Microsoft) was asked how much of an impact the timing of his birthday had to do with the fact that he helped pioneer the personal computer revolution. After all, both Steve Jobs (co-founder of Apple) and Bill Gates were born in 1955, the perfect age for them to be in the prime of their physical energy to work on exciting new business opportunities during the personal computer revolution. Surely, they were both in the right time and place for what they would end up doing for the majority of their careers.
But as Bill Gates mentioned, he surely wasn’t the only kid born in that year and he was indeed both gifted and talented when it came to his intellectual ability. The initial quote is interesting because it highlights an important myth in our society: only special people with special qualities are able to do amazing things. This myth could not be any farther from the truth. In 2014 (as I write this), we are also living in a special time where new opportunities are available like never before. Capital intensive industries have lower barriers to entry and almost anyone can start and succeed in business these days.
With my business blog, I hope to share wisdom and knowledge from my experiences that shows how business success (like most things in life), is achieved through experience, preparation and intense focus on a goal rather than timing and arbitrary luck. I’m not Bill Gates (nor would I like to be), but I do belong to a generation where young people are more enabled than ever.
Extremely low barriers to entry
The exceptional thing about 2014 is that starting a business is easier than ever. When my friends ask me what it takes to start a business, I usually tell them that it’s a good idea to start with buying a domain name for $.99 from GoDaddy. If you do some research, you will find that starting a new venture in the 70s was much more difficult. You had to worry about major costs such as professional service, marketing, advertising and such. However, with social media and cheap (and free) online software, this isn’t the case.
The table below shows how just a few expenses are really cheap compared to years before.
Before: Hire an accountant or spend hours trying to learn it yourself.
Now: FreshBooks, affordable cloud accounting software with free options.
Before: Hire a professional or learn to code.
Now: GoDaddy, Wix, Weebly, Wordpress or other free options.
Before: Spend $100,000.00 with Oracle or another vendor.
Now: MySQL, open source/free database.
Before: Manual records, typewriters or paid versions of MS Office
Now: Google Apps, Zoho, among others.
While these options may not all be the very best that money can buy, they are certainly good enough to look professional and stay organized while you get your feet of the ground. I hope to share more resources like this in the future.
A unique window of opportunity
Let’s face it, your 20s are a special time. You usually have fewer commitments (family, mortgage, children) and an unlimited amount of energy. It’s really unfortunate that the tough economic times have left so many younger people feeling powerless in a time of so much potential prosperity. I have always been a believer in making your own luck and being extremely focused on goals. It was only recently that I realized how my success has been so much reliant on the time that I live in.
I believe that a common myth has been centered around age. Many colleagues that I interact with tell me that it’s difficult to get a job without experience and that they feel disadvantaged. I argue that being young (a millennial) is a major advantage when it comes to preparing for the future. For example, a person in their 20s generally has more plasticity (ability to learn faster) than someone who is much older. Also, younger people tend to be more familiar with existing and emerging technologies.
Therefore, a major focus of my blog will be around how younger people should embrace their advantages and mitigate the risks/drawbacks of their disadvantages.
A matter of choice
Finally, I am a big believer in free will over determinism. The future is not set in stone and anyone can stake their claims in the world that we live in. Whether we know it or not, we are constantly making choices that impact us deeply. Sure, we all want to be financially comfortable, have nice things, and achieve our goals, but find that so many people make choices that go against these goals.
For example, when I was in college and enjoyed sleeping in, I realized that sleeping in wasn’t just my body saying “stay in bed” but a conscious choice that I was making. When we choose to sleep in we are making a choice that says that I would rather lay in bed rather than get up and do productive things. These “micro-decisions” that we make can often times be the difference between getting what we want or living a bitter existence where we don’t understand why we are where we are.
I hope that my blog will invigorate others to spend more time pursuing what they want through the realization that even far reaching business or work goals are attainable.
Besides what was mentioned, I hope to share my own useful business experiences and lessons with others. I have been lucky enough to have ups and downs as well as some major life lessons that I learned from experience as well as mentors. A major part of the reason for me writing it on my blog is because I want to reference it later as well.