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September 10th, 2015

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5 Things I Learned From Being A Young Entrepreneur

Leah Larson, Founder of Yaldah Magazine, Knowledge Level: Moderate, Keywords: entrepreneur, lesson, tips, tricks, young, leah larson, yaldah maagazine

I never thought of myself as a businesswoman.  I actually thought of myself as a kid. That's because at the age of twelve I sort-of landed in my own business, and the rest is history. Now I'm seventeen, and my business, Yaldah magazine, has grown tremendously. I've learned quite a bit about running a business throughout these five years, and I've learned that it really can be fun! But if I had to narrow it down to the five most important things I've learned, it would be:

1. Notice a Niche

I never decided to start a business. What I wanted was a magazine for Jewish girls, and when I saw that there was no magazine like that available, I decided to create my own. I figured that if I wanted a magazine like Yaldah, there must be many other girls out there looking for the same thing. And I was right. As soon as the first issue came out, word of mouth spread quickly and I soon had hundreds of subscribers. A business has to fill a need, and who's a better person to identify what you need than yourself?

2. Act on a Dream

It all started with a dream of mine, and it could have ended with the dream as well. The hardest part is to act on your dream, even when everyone else doubts you can do it. As a twelve-year-old with no experience in the publishing business, people had valid reason for thinking that it was impossible for me to succeed. But I kept my dream in mind and my goal in sight and moved forward, learning from my mistakes. Sometimes to everyone else your brilliant idea is just impractical and, well, just a dream. Believe in your idea and you can make it happen.

3. Value Time

As a full time high school student, magazine editor and publisher, and freelance graphic designer, I've learned that every minute counts. In fact, every second counts. I always have to prioritize: What must get done today? What can wait until tomorrow? I keep a detailed to-do list on my computer; I can't trust my memory any more. Each night I take the most urgent items from my to-do list and schedule them into the next day. That way I have a realistic expectation of what I practically have time for the next day, and what will have to wait. I wake with a fully organized schedule ahead of me, knowing that I've already prioritized, and I'll be spending my time on the most important tasks.

4. Network

Networking happens everywhere, not just at official conferences or business functions. Carry business cards, brochures, or samples with you everywhere. You never know who you'll meet at a dentist appointment, family party, or even in the grocery store. You may also meet someone who knows someone. Many people are eager to share their advice and ideas with you. Carry around a notebook to jot down the advice people share - it just might come in handy in the future!

5. Think Positive

I believe that thinking positive is the key to a successful business, or at least enjoying what you're doing. Realize that there will be challenges and setbacks to overcome, but they are just bumps in the road leading to your final goal. Keep your goal in sight. Whenever there's an option to worry or to hope for the best, definitely hope for the best. Positive thinking will bring positivity to you and your business, enabling you to succeed. When people see you believe in yourself, they'll believe in you too.

Leah Larson, age 17, is from Sharon, MA and is a senior at Bais Chomesh High School in Toronto. She is the founder, editor, and publisher of YALDAH Magazine, a magazine for Jewish girls, by Jewish girls. Leah is currently one of 5 finalists running to win $100,000 to expand her business. Vote for her (Evelyn from MA) today at WellsFargo.com! (Voting ends November 10) . Article on entrepreneur, lesson, tips, tricks, young, leah larson, yaldah maagazine by Leah Larson, Founder of Yaldah Magazine