If I were young and just starting out, knowing what I do now about business, education, and careers, I would have done things so differently. But, since I’m well past those years, now I take that knowledge and experience and help youngsters find their passion and a way of earning a decent living.
One thing we can all agree on is the fact that it’s stupid to choose a career based on how much money you can make. Between the rapid advances in technology that eliminate jobs almost as fast as they create them, and the fluctuating financial markets, you could be out of business a year after you go into it.
You can’t assume that the career you’ve chosen will always give you a good income so I would handle it very differently in today’s world. I would train for it differently, concentrate on my goals, and set myself on a definite path that would get me there.
The first thing I would recommend is know yourself. It sounds easier than it is but, even when you’re very young, there are certain traits that will follow you forever. No matter what is going on in your life, these characteristics will always define your life.
When I was young, it was assumed that after college graduation, you get a job and you feel fortunate if you get a good boss. At some point, you get married and have a family but your goals don’t change and neither do your expectations. Now, I know better.
Now I know that I don’t make a good employee; I have too many of my own ideas about how to run a business and I don’t want to take orders from someone who knows even less than I do. I also know that I am more of an entrepreneur and should always be self-employed, in my own business, and should follow my own intuition instead of someone else’s.
Notice that I didn’t say you should start your business without getting input from those who have more expertise than you do. To go into something blindly, without asking people who have been through the growing pains of starting a business, would be beyond stupid; it would be irresponsible.
But it’s knowing yourself well enough that will put you on the path for success. If you have enough faith in your ideas, get the education that you need, do the kind of networking that will put you in contact with people who can arrange financing when you’re ready to go out on your own, and go into a field that you love passionately.
And, most of all, don’t be afraid to take risks, at least educated risks. No one succeeds without experiencing some failures along the way. It’s often our failures that lead us in the direction of our greatest successes. If you haven’t failed at something, chances are you might be limiting your chance of success. After that, have a business plan, be bold and go after what you want.