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Young Entrepreneur Stories

Hey - I’m Matt Parkin! I’m a student entrepreneur and 4x founder who started a consulting firm, an educational nonprofit (LEAP Canada), a career coaching company, and a tutoring company over the past two years. This article will give you a glimpse into my entrepreneurial experience with learnings and advice for curious futurepreneurs.

Initial Advice

My first piece of advice is to go out there and just do it. Don’t let others tell you “you’re just a student”. All you need is an idea, passion, and grit to turn your concept into a reality. I decided I was going to start a tutoring company as I realized there was a gap in the market, and 8 weeks later I had scaled my business to 10 tutors, 40 clients, and $5,000 in revenue. I didn’t spend countless months doing market research and making plans, I got my feet wet right away, learned by doing, and continued to iterate as time passed.

Why Entrepreneurship?

Why do people enjoy being entrepreneurs? Here are three of my personal favourites:

Flexibility. It’s great to be your own boss and make decisions about where, when, and how to work without going through multiple levels of bureaucracy to receive approval to do something.

Learning Curve. You learn a lot on the fly as an entrepreneur and this provides a stimulating and challenging environment for those who enjoy problem-solving and critical thinking.

People. You get to meet many amazing people whether they be clients, colleagues, partners, etc. These relationships will last you a lifetime, likely longer than your first business will last.

How do I Find Customers?

Have a great idea but no audience to buy what you have to sell? Here are three tips to get you started:

Testimonials. Offer your product/service to five friends for free so they can test it out, give you feedback, and provide testimonials to enhance your brand’s credibility.

Referrals. Now ask those friends to each refer four friends and then you have 20 customers without spending any money or time on marketing.

Cold Messaging. Once your initial referral chain dies down, you’ll need to reach beyond your network to people you don’t know. This can be intimidating for some people, but with practice, it gets much easier. The worst thing that can happen is they don’t reply or say they aren’t interested.

How do I Motivate Teams?

While some of you may be successful solopreneurs, others will surround themselves with a team of individuals who can complement their skill sets. For example, I’m not the strongest at graphic design so I filled out my career coaching team with individuals who are passionate about and skilled in graphic design. This lets me focus on other areas where my strengths and interests lie.

Sitting down with your teammates and talking through strengths, areas of development, skills, and goals can help you better understand how to support your team. This will also motivate them as they’ll feel heard, supported, and valued.

Final Advice

Put Your Mind to it. Don’t worry what other people will think about you. If you have an idea, run with it and see what happens - you’ll be pleasantly surprised. Did I think I’d scale a consulting firm to 70 consultants or create career content for job seekers in 36 countries?

Absolutely not. I started small, put my mind to it, and never gave up. LEAP started as an idea and now look how far we’ve come. If we can do it, you can too!

Want to Learn More & Get Started?

Invest in Yourself. I’ve compiled my tips and tricks about entrepreneurship into a digital resource that will show you how to build and scale a business to $5000 in 8 weeks with learnings, stories, and anecdotes from my experience as a student entrepreneur. This will save you the countless hours of research, failures, and struggles I went through as I was learning the ropes of entrepreneurship.

Feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn so I can follow along on your journey!


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