June 01, 2012

Now’s The Time To Go for It

Shortly after publishing my careers chat interview for Huffington Post with Colin from Channel 4, I received an email whilst in Greece from an entrepreneur called Alex. It was an invitation to the launch of the Young Brits Network.This is a new venture founded by Alex Mitchell who is heavily involved at the IOD amongst other projects, and Glynn Pegler, the CEO of his communications company he founded when he was 15. To quote someone we were mingling with on the night after my housemate and I revealed our ages (we’re both 23), “you’d better get a move on then”. And there I was thinking I was still young.

The evening was great, we networked with lots of different people: TV, business, finance, media. There were young entrepreneurs there and also people who were looking to invest in an idea. Alex was right when he said that in that room we had the ideal mixture of professionals that could together get something rolling. If you have an idea, then surround yourself with the right people, and get it out of your head and into the world. (Before someone else does).

A few things came up when we were circling the room and chatting. And many of these points I believe the Young Brits Network will do a great job in helping conquer:

  • The Fear Factor– There is still an underlying fear factor associated with starting your own company. Working in a corporate job means a steady income and routine – there’s no real risk of everything ‘going under’ overnight. Even if you wake up each morning thinking you are bored with going into the same office, at your same desk, in your same suit, that inner voice will still manage to bat away the ideas of your kooky new start-up and ask you: “Will you FAIL?”  This reminds me of a quote I recently read by Paul Graham who said:“That [new idea] might sound like an attractive prospect, and yet when describing these ideas you may notice you find yourself shrinking away from them. Don’t worry, it’s not a sign of weakness. Arguably it’s a sign of sanity. The biggest startup ideas are terrifying.”
    -To also quote Arianna Huffington (one of my favourite career ladies): “A lot of the time we do have good ideas, but we are afraid of failing. Fear of failure is what stops us more than anything. But failure is not the opposite of success – it’s a stepping stone to success. There is no one that hasn’t fail along the way”. If you don’t fluff it up sometimes, how do you learn?
  • Not knowing who to contact – Unless you know someone or have an ‘in’, people feel worried that they are putting their trust in the right people. Finding a mentor/older experienced person to give them a helping hand is very important. With networks such as Young Brits, you’ve got people there who might be able to point you in the right direction towards mentorship.
  • Finances –  Yep, of course – to start your own company, you need MONEY. At this moment in time, people are feeling lucky that they even have a job, let alone risking it all to start your own company. People are wanting personal happiness from many things: getting on the property ladder, running a household, buying nice things and our ever-increasing consumer need for the latest technology. So how are we able to reach into our pockets for something that is not a guaranteed success?  However, if you successfully network and sell your idea in the best way you possibly can – I think it’s surprising how many people are willing to invest in an innovative idea.

So, my point is, yes there are drawbacks, and concerns. But that’s why I am supporting the Young Brits Network wholeheartedly as I believe it’s things such as this (something created by entrepreneurs for entrepreneurs) that will help people succeed by providing a support network and a global voice for upcoming innovators. Youthful naivety mixed with a crazy idea can actually be good thing. I’m sure Zuckerberg would vouch for that.

Check them out here: http://www.youngbrits.com/

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