When we think of entrepreneurs we often think of an older generation of people who started from the ground up. People who built businesses before the market was so saturated and competitive. It’s an attractive narrative because it allows us an excuse to not push ourselves. We point to the advantages of the past and forget the advantages of the present. The reality is that the current generation of college and school leavers are more entrepreneurial than ever. They have modern technology to play with, and the willingness to shake up the system and change the rules. An increasing number are doing so with no job experience or professional history.
It’s tempting to think of this as a new and fresh approach. But in reality, this is the way many of the successful and respected entrepreneurs of the past operated. Bill Gates, for example, never had a traditional job at all. He started a business finding bugs in code to make money, while he was still in school. Alan Sugar had a very brief job before starting his own business selling television aerials. Mark Zuckerberg started Facebook in his dorm room at college. These kinds of stories exist wherever you look.
The fact is that a little professional experience might help you to learn some essential skills. But, it might also hinder you by getting you into a certain mindset that is not entrepreneurial. If starting a business is something you want to do, the best approach is to do so early, and prepare to fail and recover, and learn from your mistakes. An entrepreneur is not someone with a lot of experience who understands the corporate world. An entrepreneur is someone with passion and drive, who understands that they need to take risks and face their fears to achieve greatness.