Having worked on and run building sites from an early age, I was always struck by how care free most of our young labourers lives were, which i envied the simplicity and care free spirit of their lives. They worked all week, got paid on a Friday. Spent it all on the weekend and you knew they would arrive on Monday or Tuesday worst case if hungover; as they needed to repeat the above week after week for basic survival reasons.
For those of us blessed or cursed with traits of over thinking, overly driven, competitive and wanting to create an empire or legacy, the labourer life isn’t an option for us, however appealing it maybe sometimes, whilst we must try and understand why we are wired like this, noting and aware of our flaws, we mainly have work to do, get on with it and make it. I would suggest doing it whilst you are young is a lot easier for a number of reasons, the main one being you have absolutely nothing to lose and everything to gain.
Reading Branson’s book where he had established large business before knowing the difference between gross and net profit gave me comfort at a young age, just to get on with it, give anything a go, the harder you work the luckier you become, and although it sounds negative. it’s healthy advice for those starting out young, that sometimes. ‘The less you know, the less you do really worry about’ If you will allow me one or perhaps two more terrible cliches before stopping reading, it would also be ‘God loves a tryer’
It’s widely accepted, we become more risk adverse as we get older. More so when you have a partner reliant on you, breed with them, bringing offspring into this great world. You are unable to be a selfish workaholic ( for long ) Your risk profile changes naturally. One business partner who has recently had kids told me. ‘You are the accelerator. I am the brake’, on a new deal, which is fine if both used in the correct measure and hopefully should ensure a safe journey and more importantly destination. I accept that if a bank asks him to put his family home on the line, that means a lot more to him than it does for me. But without the accelerator, cars wouldn’t leave the front drive
For those who delay and from Uni get onto the corporate ladder or professional employment. The Entrepreneurial leap out of the safety net can be scary, like jumping off a cliff to sacrifice the security that comes with an often comfortable large monthly amount of money, that allows you to eat and live coming into your bank account, potentially a pension that will look after you until your last breath on planet earth. Viewed like this, it would take someone quite mad to take that leap, which is another reason to start young so that safety net of a salary is never there in the first place.
My personal view as a large employer now, and someone who dropped out of uni to work hard and start a business, is degrees are becoming less relevant, indistinguishable, sometime worthless and a waste of 3 years of your life unless you are an incredibly lucky teenager who knows what they want to do for the next 40 years of your life, picks a targeted degree, and onto their chosen vocation. But if you want to run a golf course for example, I wouldn’t get a degree in golf course management, I would go and work on the course, learn teamwork, respect, how to motivate a team and work your way up. Up against a graduate in course management with no employment history, and a guy with 3 years experience on site, I know which one I would choose to run my course ! The last Labour Government ambition to get 50% of people to university was fatally flawed, and dumbed down our Uni system, and unintended consequence was to lose us a lot of valuable tradesmen like Plumbers, electricians who can earn 2-3 times what a graduate can, by learning a trade early, getting out to graft or an apprenticeship from school
In your 20s you have so much youthful exuberance, energy, passion enthusiasm, resilience, curiosity, lust for life and the ability to get straight back up once knocked. Winston Churchill described success as ‘the ability to go from failure to failure with no less enthusiasm’ which I love. When people ask me what they should do to get started. I say, get a mentor, experienced partner if you can, watch and learn, An incredible young lady in her mid 20s, walked into my office for an admin role we had already filled a few months ago, but the three management team interviewing her all knew, we had to find her a role in one of our companies as she was such a talent. She is now running a new 2 depot £ 1 million turnover transport business overseeing 25 burley guys. So ensure you put yourself out there and don’t be scared to say. Let me come and work for you (for nothing for a 3 months if you have to), let me prove you need me and then perhaps we can work together or partner. If nothing else the experience will be invaluable. What does the mentor, employer have to lose ?
I lost everything during the recession after 2008 as had far too much debt getting wiped out. I hadn’t seen an economic cycle before, became depressed, got run over. It was a tough few years. I wasn’t able to sustain meaningful relationships as had no self worth. It really is a domino effect. After a long journey of many years-grafting, labouring, believing in yourself, and patience. I now count myself incredibly lucky I was young when I made money and young when I lost it. I had friends in property 10-20 years my senior who lost everything and had to pull their kids out of private school ( cue eyes rolling ) into state school. but this is traumatic for kids leaving friends and going to an environment where your old school friends unintentionally disown you and new school friends don’t really want to know you, often a life’s career lost, family homes repossessed, cars towed and marriages failed under the stress. I would not want to start again from scratch in my 50s and the fall from grace many don’t ever recover from mentally or financially.
A major drawback youngsters have today, is there is so much ‘noise’ all around. My advice is to ignore the drain of social media, internet, which forces us to be pulled different ways, comparing ourselves to others, see it all for what it is, which is stopping you being productive, getting your head down, blinkered and grafting ! In my late 30s now. A wise billionaire told me recently. At 50 you should really be hanging up your boots slowing down and enjoying life, don’t die trying to get rich. Whilst accepting that the love of doing deals, is not actually work for me. So I have a 11.5 year plan of where I want to be, and realise how quick time flies by whilst you are making plans and a life. Procrastination really is the thief of time ! If you will allow me to end on one last terrible cliché. We are put here for a good time, not a long time, so go for it, whatever it is.