I have had several great meetings in Australia, many terrific products ready to take to the market. The guest on my global radio show today on VoiceAmerica Business Channel is Paul O’Byrne who worked with Cate Blanchett for several years.
When it comes to the most critical business skills, most startup entrepreneurs have simply taught themselves. They get a lot of the skills they need, such as legal requirements, book keeping, accounts, graphic design, building a business plan, marketing strategy, social media and website creation from YouTube.
Mary Gouganovski decided to overhaul her family’s candle business three years ago. Now the director of newly-launched Mary Grace candles and skincare, she has grown the company’s Instagram from nothing to more than 40,000 followers, brokered collaborations with brands like The Langham and oversees turnover of $1 million. She is one of tens of thousands of 20-something business owners chasing large revenues and negotiating work-life balance on the side.
Many realize that the school and university systems, even a business degree, do not deliver the practical application required to really prepare entrepreneurs for addressing all of the issues faced as a new founder or CEO. The other issue is that we are in a period of dramatic disruptive change and a total revolution of the media landscape and yet many of the case studies are more than five years old. If you have been out of college for a few years, then much of what you learned is obsolete.
In place of formalized study, young entrepreneurs turn to the internet, including Facebook groups and YouTube, to up-skill themselves. This is such an extraordinary time because there is so much free information available, often by people who have been there and done that, so you can learn from other people’s mistakes and successes.
Harry Sanders says self-teaching and grit were the key to getting his $1.5 million business StudioHawk off the ground. It was really just getting out there and getting out of your comfort zone. He started teaching himself search engine optimization techniques when he was 14 and worked part time in agencies while studying at high school. He says while his high school supported him well, there are business and finance basics that were left out of the curriculum and would have been useful. Things like the different business structures, how taxes work, who pays what. That is something that everyone, every entrepreneur is going to run into at some point.
When my son was at high school , the kids had to create a business, think of a name, create a logo and strap line, register it, conduct business, prepare balance sheets, calculate taxes etc. This was a great foundation for future entrepreneurs, or even for senior roles in business.
Founder of e-commerce training site Ecomm Warrior, Matthew Lepre, says high school was enough foundation to launch a business but he ended up abandoning his university studies because they weren’t relevant enough to his business. Matthew now produces courses for others to learn how to set up businesses and rakes in $1.4 million a year. Much of his business knowledge has come from trial and error, though high school taught him how to set goals, be focused, and work for long periods of time.
There’s been a strong focus on teaching kids coding and science knowledge in recent years with startups like Girl Geek Academy stepping up to grow young entrepreneur’s tech skills. Young founders say upskilling has been more valuable than traditional education, so universities are rethinking their approach to business acumen. Most now offer online courses to the broader community with an increasing focus on digital business skills. While traditional business courses are a fantastic way to learn about the fundamentals of all aspects of business, these short courses are designed for often time poor professionals who see the need to upskill specific areas of their existing business knowledge.
I’m looking for a job as a CEO in a startup where I am politely ignored and left to my own devices. With unlimited Internet access, doughnuts, and coffee