A Digital Guide for Young Entrepreneurs

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When I started exploring the internet, I experienced how it provides a vast content network. I decided to use it in the most promising way. Learning new skills, generating networks, and other essential things 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 making connections with people I could learn from. Thus began the journey to select the best strategies for growth, which so far proved to be successful.

I believe that the internet favors people looking in the right direction. To turn our disadvantage into an advantage, we must adopt new approaches and make innovations in our society, and here are some tips that could help you. Following these simple and effective strategies, you will be able to start or expand your Startup or business at a young age.

1. Never search ‘how to make money?

Internet is full of affiliate marketing programs, scams, and other inconsequential fake business opportunities, for which people are falling every day. 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 admit falling for things that promise 100-500$ a day. But I was quick to realize that it’s nothing but a fraud.

All the content out there, which claims to help you make money, is just another deep hole dug by the creator who is looking to make money too but this time using you as bait. So the first thing I learned was to make money, you need to provide value to a business or person. It can be providing a service or a product in return. Start using youtube to learn new skills or improve the ones you already have, instead of watching quick rich scheme videos.

2. Know your resources

After you have developed a skill or a service, now it’s time to start marketing it and offering it to others. This is the point where things start to form a structure, and we start laying foundation tools for our future Startup or project, but a common issue faced by many is funding or investment. I didn’t have any money to buy a domain name, hire someone to build a website, and maybe you would be facing the same issue, but I have a vast list of resources that can help you to get almost everything you will need to lay that foundation stones for your business.

3. How to get your first Customers

Usually, a business plan develops with a motive to eradicate a problem commonly faced by people. If your business is driven with the same motive, you can fetch your earliest clients through it. One of the mistakes everyone makes in the early stage is targeting customers who are hard to get and not ready to work with startups. Also, another mistake is offering your services for free. Your first customers should be businesses or individuals who intensively have the problem you are solving; they are ready 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. Then figure out your targeted audience, like if you are developing websites, go-to hashtags like #smallbusiness, and then check if they have a website or not or a professional website if the answer is no. Then you can drop them a message about what you do and how your service can significantly impact their business. That’s all it takes to get your first customers.

4. How to get Funding for your Startup

For startups operated by teenagers, getting funding for your Startup can be a daunting task. But, there are plenty of resources and organizations that offer grants, loans, or other forms of financial assistance to you, and here’s a list that you can follow.

  • Here are some University-Backed Venture Funds (Some universities offer venture fund programs designed to invest in student startups.)
  1. Colorado State University CSU Ventures
  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 Capital Fund
  10. Portland State University Venture Development Fund
  11. Stanford GSB Impact Fund
  12. UCLA Ventures
  13. University of Colorado Denver Rutt Bridges Venture Fund
  14. University of Minnesota Venture Center
  15. University of Rochester Simon School Venture Fund
  16. University of Tennessee Knoxville Boyd Venture Challenge
  17. University Angel Networks
  • List of University Angel Networks (Some universities are connected with angel networks, often made up of alumni investors who provide financial support to promising startup ideas.)
  1. Baylor Angel Network
  2. Berkeley Angel Network
  3. Carolina Angel Network
  4. Columbia Angels
  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 Sources of Funding
  • Business Pitch Competitions (If you have a strong business plan, entering a competition can be an excellent way to win more funding. Competitors may also offer networking opportunities that will assist your business. Some top business plan competitions include the following: )
  1. ClimateTech and Energy Prize MIT
  2. Ohio University EXPO Pitch Competition
  3. International Video Pitch competition
  4. Milken-Penn GSE Education Business Plan Competition
  5. NFTE National Investor Pitch Challenge
  6. Pear Competition
  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 truth is, no matter how much you enjoy your work and the success you’ve experienced in it, there will be days when you can’t do it anymore. The steps I mentioned don’t guarantee you win, but they will help you channel your efforts in the right direction. Entrepreneurship is a journey you will continue walking until you want; you will continue learning and being involved.

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