A digital guide for young entrepreneurs

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When I started to explore the internet, I decided to use it in the most promising way. Learning new skills, networking and other essential things have accompanied my growth. I founded my company, InstaEASY, in 2018 with just two employees. As an entrepreneur, I started building my network, developing my skills, and connecting with people I could learn from. This started the journey to find the best growth strategies, which so far have proven successful.

The internet favors people who look in the right direction. To turn our disadvantage into an advantage, we must adopt new approaches and innovate in our society.

Here are some tips that might help you, and by following these simple and effective strategies, you can start or grow your startup or business at a young age.

1. Never search “how to make money”

The internet is full of affiliate marketing programs, scams, and other bogus business opportunities. Even a single Youtube search can reveal millions of videos on how to make money sitting at home, and unfortunately, that’s how everyone starts. I even admit to having fallen for things that promised 100 to 500 dollars a day.

However, all the content that claims to help you make money is just another deep hole dug by a creator looking to use you as bait. The first thing I learned was that in order to make money, you have to bring value to a company or a person. Start using Youtube to learn new skills or improve the ones you already have instead of watching quick and rich videos.

Related: The pandemic has created the next generation of great entrepreneurs

2. Know your resources

After you’ve developed a skill or service, it’s time to start marketing that skill and offering it to others. This is when things start to take shape and we start laying the groundwork for our future startup or project.

A common problem that many face is financing or investing. I had no money to buy a domain name or hire someone to build a website. You might face the same problem, but there is a wealth of resources out there that can help you get almost anything you need to lay the foundation for your business.

3. How to attract your first customers

One of the biggest mistakes everyone makes when starting out is targeting hard-to-get customers. Another mistake entrepreneurs make is offering services for free. Your first customers should be companies or individuals who have the problem you’re solving intensively – they’re willing to pay and work with startups.

You can start your journey by creating a social media account on Instagram and sharing posts about solving your problem. From there, you can determine your target audience. For example, if you develop websites, use hashtags like #smallbusiness and check whether users have a website or not. If the answer is no, you can send them a message about what you do and how your service can have a significant impact on their business. Sometimes that’s all you need to get your first customers.

Related: What I Wish Someone Had Told Me When I Was a Young Entrepreneur

4. How to get funding for your startup

For teen-operated startups, securing funding for your startup can be a daunting task. But there are plenty of resources and organizations out there that offer you grants, loans, or other forms of financial assistance, and here’s a list you can follow.

University-backed venture capital funds

  1. Colorado State University CSU Enterprises
  2. Ohio Innovation Fund
  3. TechGROWTH Ohio
  4. Bobcat Seed Fund
  5. Cornell University BRV
  6. Indiana University Innovate Indiana
  7. NYU Innovation Venture Fund
  8. Oregon State University Funding Opportunities
  9. Penn State University Garber Venture Fund
  10. Portland State University Venture Capital Development Fund
  11. Stanford GSB Impact Fund
  12. UCLA Ventures
  13. University of Colorado Denver Rutt Bridges Venture Fund
  14. University of Minnesota Risk Center
  15. University of Rochester Simon School Venture Capital Fund
  16. University of Tennessee Knoxville Boyd Venture Challenge
  17. Academic Angel Investor Networks

University angel networks (Some universities are connected to angel networks, often made up of former investors who provide financial backing to promising startup ideas.)

  1. Baylor Angel Network
  2. Berkeley Angel Network
  3. Carolina Angel Network
  4. Angels of Colombia
  5. Duke Angel Network
  6. Harvard Alumni Angels
  7. MIT Alumni Angels
  8. Stanford Angels and Entrepreneurs
  9. University of Virginia Angels
  10. Wharton Angel Network
  11. Wharton Alumni Angels
  12. Additional Funding Sources

Business pitch competition

  1. MIT ClimateTech and Energy Award
  2. Ohio University EXPO Pitch Competition
  3. International video pitch competition
  4. Milken-Penn GSE Education Business Plan Competition
  5. National NFTE Investor Pitch Challenge
  6. pear contest
  7. Rice Business Plan Competition
  8. Social Enterprise Conference Pitch Competition
  9. Startup World Cup
  10. University of Oregon New Venture Championship
  11. Visa Everywhere Initiative

The steps I mentioned won’t guarantee you a win, but they will help channel your efforts in the right direction.

Related: Meet 16 Teen Founders Who Are Building Big Companies and Making Big Money

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