Nov 11, 2015 Career

11 Young Entrepreneurs Share Their #1 Career Tip

by Sacha Strebe

As a driven young woman, I longed for a career that would nurture my creative voice, a place where my job never felt like work. The old adage “choose a job you love and you will never work a day in your life” certainly rings true for today’s burgeoning group of young entrepreneurs. With more youths swapping university for a real-world education, it seems the age of the entrepreneur is definitely upon us. If the recent study turns out to be true, millennials will be working longer and later in life than any other generation, so they may as well spend it doing what they love, right?

More and more blossoming millennials are turning their creative passions into money-making businesses. Inspired and eager to learn from the young go-getters of today, we asked a few entrepreneurs we admire to share their number one career tip and lesson they’ve learned so far. Scroll down for some serious career inspiration.

When clean-eating childhood friends decided to launch their own plant-based delivery service, they didn't expect such a meteoric rise, but their business took off. Suffering from body-image issues and roller-coaster diets, Whitney Tingle and Danielle DuBoise crafted their own meal program, and it worked. Now they nourish thousands of men and women with their nutrient-dense, whole-food delivery service, Sakara Life.

Whitney Tingle: “Just get going. Start it on the side and on the weekend, don't give up your day job until you have a clear plan for your business, and it has legs. When it does, you have to take the leap. It's going to be scary and it's never going to be perfect, but it needs 100% of your time and focus in order to really grow and succeed. We worked as models and actresses to support ourselves until Sakara was ready to be our full-time job, and the difference between working on it part time and full time is dramatic. The only way to succeed in business is to weigh risk and take risk. Have certainty that what you're doing will work and do whatever it takes to make it happen.” 

Danielle DuBoise: “Make up your own rules, the rules other people tell you have been made up by them or someone who told it to them. You have just as much right to make your own rules up, so never take those rules as the end-all be-all’s. Ask a lot of questions. Reach for the biggest dream you have and find the certainty that you'll get there. Be really specific about what that dream looks like. Really specific.” 

Jessy Cameron is a modern-day dreamer who weaves her magical interpretations and fantastical ideas into the real world. The creative entrepreneur launched her digital treasure trove and online jewelry box, Molten Store, in 2011. Now she's taken her globally recognized brand offline into her first brick-and-mortar flagship and launched her own fragrance too. Nothing is impossible when you "create your own utopia."

Jessy Cameron: "I find career inspiration in curious places. There's a passage in Ernest Hemingway's The Old Man and the Sea that taught me the importance of preparing for opportunities before they present themselves. 'I keep (my fishing lines) with precision. Only I have no luck anymore. But who knows? Maybe today. Everyday is a new day. It is better to be lucky. But I would rather be exact. Then when luck comes you are ready.' Reaching the pinnacle of your dreams is possible, as long as you are prepared to seize opportunity the moment it glows before you."

When humanitarian and entrepreneur, Mike Del Ponte wanted to end the world's water crisis, he recruited the best talent and discovered his calling with Soma, a revolutionary water filter made entirely from biodegradable materials. The company now partners with Charity:water to fund clean water projects globally.

Mike Del Ponte: "Hustle humbly. Social media makes self-promotion tempting, but getting things done is more important than looking good. Focus on business metrics, not Facebook likes."

There isn't much Margaret Zhang can't do or accomplish when she puts her inventive mind to it. The enigmatic Australian talent is a creative force to be reckoned with, literally wowing the world with her insane drive and plethora of talents at Shine By Three. The Sydney–based writer, stylist, photographer, and creative director has worked with Swarovski, Lexus, Swisse, MatchesFashion, Louis Vuitton and Clinique, and had her work featured in L’OfficielHarper’s BazaarNylon, and Elle.

Margaret Zhang: "Having the real skills, education and experience to back up what you’re working toward will ensure career longevity. Faking it till you make it will only buy you another 15 minutes."

Feeling uninspired in their day jobs, friends and business partners Rachel Ford and Sharona Harris took a risk and married their skills to create tough-luxe jewelry brand, Ford + Harris. The modern designs became an instant hit with fashion bloggers, celebrities, and international style icons, including models Lara Bingle and Jessica Gomes, as well as Miss Universe 2004, Jennifer Hawkins, and the pageant's second runner-up in 2010, Jesinta Campbell. 

Rachel Ford: “I’ve learned that you can never learn enough about what you need to know. No matter what industry you work in, you need to keep researching, learning, and then use this to become more innovative.” 

Sharona Harris: “The number one thing I have learned in my career is that you need to be passionate. If you are truly passionate about what you do, you will do everything possible to get the job done and make sure you succeed. Owning your own business is a seven-day-a-week job, so you really need to love it.”

Heather McGough has made it her mission to provide education, tools, and partnerships to entrepreneurs and corporate innovators, empowering them to overcome challenges in building new companies and products. Heather's Lean Startup Company works with aspiring and existing practitioners to develop new ways to support, innovate, and ensure sustainable growth. She has formed two other companies, including the event production firm Urbanity Events. Prior to this, Heather spent seven years building nonprofit programs and is working on a startup called Adoptful in her spare time.

Heather McGough: "I continue learning important lessons along my entrepreneurial journey because just when you think you have things figured out, a new challenge pops up. One of the most important lessons I’ve learned is that it’s never just par for the course; competition exists, markets change, and teams morph. Look at every challenge as a way to learn and make yourself and your company better."

In 2013, Matthew Zeiler brought the world’s best image-recognition technology to market with Clarifai. According to Money, the "company designed technology that uses neural networks, or data algorithms that imitate the human brain, to apply intelligence to images and video." This incredible tech can recognize objects in videos in milliseconds, much faster than a human could.

Matthew Zeiler: "Surround yourself with people who invigorate each other. When you have great tech and great products, it's not enough if you don't have every person in the company pointed in the same direction and excited about what we're building. As soon as that clicks, it's magical, a feeling I did not anticipate when starting Clarifai. When you come to work and people are excited to be there and organically collaborate, you feel invigorated to build the company together as one unit. "

With more than 14 years experience in the hairstyling industry, Jenny Strebe swapped the salon for the web to launch her own YouTube channel and blog, The Confessions of a Hairstylist. More than three years later, she has millions of views on YouTube and a huge social following with more than 230,000 fans on Instagram alone. Jenny recently took her show on the road with Confessions of a Traveling Hairstylist, bringing hair education to various salons across America.

Jenny Strebe: "Stay on top of your game, always. Try to set yourself apart with new and innovative ways of selling your business. You always want to brand yourself way bigger than you are so you come off more professional and a trailblazer in your industry because with technology changing all the time, people want to put their money on someone that is evolving just as fast." 

Luke wants you to find "best places in the world" so he created a network that does just that. Spot is a new travel app that curates recommendations from friends and experts, allowing its users to "save" spots that they frequent or want to visit based on those insights. "Your experience is based on your own unique network of friends and experts, so it reflects your interests, preferences, and tastes," Spot wrote in a statement. Before Spot, Luke was the consumer product lead at Eventbrite and grew the company from 35 to 220-plus people, with billions of dollars in ticket sales. 

Luke Groesbeck: "People are the most important thing, and I'm not blowing smoke. Trying to decide which job to take? Need to grow your team and find yourself trying to make excuses about why someone who's 'eh' would be OK to hire? A partnership that looks great on paper, but the relationship isn't clicking? Trust your instincts, resist the urge to compromise, and wait until you find the right people. Chemistry is everything. We spend most of our waking lives working, and life's short enough as it is, so surround yourself with people you admire, respect, and trust." 


Discover your entrepreneurial spirit with our top career books below.

Thrive by Arianna Huffington ($18)

Knowing Your Value by Mika Brzezinski ($18)

You Are a Badass by Jen Sincero ($9)

The 10 Habits of Highly Successful Women by Glynnis MacNicol ($11)

What is the best career advice you've ever received? Share it with us below.