The Founder and CEO of GoldieBlox is an engineer, a spokesperson, and one of the most influential voices in the movement to encourage girls’ interest in engineering and technology. Her name is Debbie Sterling; and yes, she is an astonishing example of the entrepreneurial spirit of the Millennials. Debbie’s success is now recognized worldwide, but she started from scratch, and here is her advice for those struggling currently. “My biggest fear before I started GoldieBlox was, ’What if I put everything into this and still fail at the one thing I’m truly passionate about? ’ Then I realized that I can’t fail if I spend every day following my true passion and contributing my all to a cause greater than myself.”
Kathryn Minshew was born in 1985 and was recently recognized with the Workforce Magazine 2016 Game Changer award – a title many people would love to hold. This inspiring young woman has been featured in all the major publications including Wired, Forbes, Huffington Post, Inc. and Teen Vogue. She is also the CEO and co-founder of The Muse, a career development platform. This is her advice for fellow Millennials: “When starting out in your career, it’s easy to think that many learned skills are actually innate. From being diplomatic to managing well, all of these are skills that you can (and should) learn, just as much as Excel is something that you can learn.”
So Millennials, start working on the so-called soft skills if you wish to take your business to the next level.
So far we have heard that following your passion and working on your diplomatic skills is crucial; however, Jordan Kretchmer believes that one should also always take the time to recognize the advances you have made so far. “Your vision might be the end game, but you’ve got to dodge a hundred bullets to get there. In the beginning, it’s impossible NOT to sweat the small roadblocks you hit. Just be sure to celebrate ALL of the small wins, too.” Now remember, this advice is coming from the founder and CEO of Livefyre, a platform that brings the social web right to any publisher or brand website that wants to have live community engagement.
The massive increase in the relevance of community and a healthy work environment is evident with Millennials, and they are not willing to compromise on those issues. Shama Hyder, the CEO of Marketing Zen says, ”Learn to be an editor! Progress, not perfection, should be your goal. Be willing to hold everything with a certain amount of flexibility. The more you are able to genuinely listen to feedback and evolve your ideas, the better your chances for success.” FYI, Shama, besides being the CEO of a major online marketing and digital PR company, is a bestselling author, a visionary strategist for the digital age, and a web and TV personality.
So the next advice on how to make it big comes from an exceptional Millennial named Kegan Schouwenberg, the CEO and co-founder of SOLS. Her company is 3D Printed Insoles, and it’s currently priced at $20M. How did she do it, and what is the shortest advice she can provide for fellows entrepreneurs? “Network! Create a dream list of targets and aim high! Never be afraid to email some who is ‘too big’. Attend as many events as possible, and do your research beforehand.”
So preparations and people are among the keys to success. Adam Lyons, founder and CEO of The Zebra, also shared his wisdom for his generation. He stated:” “Be focused, clear, and determined on your goals and ambitions, but be flexible on how you get there. You don’t know anything starting out, and you’re going to make a ton of mistakes.” Fellow Millennials, don’t be frightened by your mistakes, just make sure they are correctable.
Kirsten Blowers, owner, head-buyer, and designer @ Riffraff, also struggled in the beginning, but today she employs 35 people while doing what she loves. So listen and learn from one of the top entrepreneurs: “There were many times in the beginning when I could have thrown in the towel and walked away from the idea I was curating, but I didn’t, because I love the challenges. Put in the long hours—your future self will be more interesting and very thankful.”
So Millennials, you have heard it all – put in long hours, network, celebrate, stay true to yourself, communicate, and we’ll see you at the next Inc.’s “30 under 30”.