“Many people still believe that MBA grads or corporate execs are the only ones whose opinions count.”
– Sara Wilson, Entrepreneur Magazine
Nobody will take you seriously
Before starting this blog I made several unsuccessful attempts to get a job with the local newspaper. I think they paid $50 an article. I’d go in every so often to ask if they needed guest content.
Every time I was dismissed.
The funniest thing about this was the fact that I never even submitted a writing sample. Once my gangly 19 year-old self walked through the door I was disqualified.
So I went home and started a blog. And two years later 30 Days To X gets more readership than the paper I wasn’t allowed to write for.
If you’re under 25 nobody will take you seriously. It’s wonderful.
You have the freedom to experiment
If you’re under 30 you probably aren’t going to do anything profound. Not because you suck, but because of the fact that you really don’t have much life experience.
I’m 21. It would be near impossible for me to compose some great philosophical work or expound a revolutionary insight. I just don’t have enough life experiences to do so.
As I’ve talked about before, many men use this as an excuse to phone it in and goof-off. “Nobody listens to me so I’ll just play video games.”
That’s the wrong mindset. Not knowing what you’re good at puts you in the perfect position. You can try a little of everything and see what works.
Sometimes I’ll go to the library or Half Price Books and leave with every title that interests me. I’ve read everything from books on the history of ghost stories to old newspaper compilations. In fact, one of the most interesting things I’ve ever read was a book of articles from every Time magazine printed in 1927.
Go buy $50 worth of used books and try to replicate something from each of them.
Since I was 18 I’ve attempted to program computers, write a philosophical essay, meditate, pick locks, master the game of Chess, perform magic tricks, assemble a really hard jigsaw puzzle, speak Russian, salsa dance, windsurf, start a business, and play the ukulele.
I didn’t do well at most of these things, but I broadened my horizons.
Magazine mogul Felix Dennis used to say that trying new things becomes nearly impossible after the age of 35. People get stuck in their ways and rarely innovate.
If you’re young and no one wants to take you seriously anyway, go out and try a hundred crazy things. You really don’t have a reputation to tarnish so there’s really nothing to lose.
There’s no external pressure
A 40 year-old man with two kids and a wife has to play it safe. He can’t really switch careers or go off on a new tangent.
With a quick Google search I found that the average 23 year-old makes about $45,000. However, the pay gaps between professions are huge. A statistician might make over $60,000 while a salesman only earns $28,000.
If you’re on the low-end of the spectrum there’s no reason for you not to try and launch a business or build a brand. Making $28,000 a year is about the same as earning $77 a day. You could easily build up a company that exceeds that. It wouldn’t even have to be high-tech.
Back in Iowa I used to help with web design on occasion. When it was all said and done I earned about $50 to $75 an hour. Fixing broken links and formatting text is simple stuff. You can buy a book, take some Codecademy lessons and be an expert in no time.
In your 20’s you don’t have to worry about paying the mortgage and taking the kids to soccer practice. You’re time rich. Instead of going clubbing every night or watching TV, spend some of your free time on a hobby or hustle.
At worst you’re out some time. It really isn’t that big of an issue.
You can make an infallible business
There are certain things you can do as a young person that aren’t acceptable for anyone else. Low-key businesses are one of these.
I know that everyone likes to talk about online business and eBooks, but those aren’t guaranteed money makers. For every Bold and Determined there’s a thousand sites that never make a single buck. Internet business is a tough racket.
However, there are other jobs that have a guaranteed payout. They might be less glamorous, but you’ll be seeing returns.
Dog walker, dancer instructor, personal trainer, article writer, the list is endless.
Most of these things would be scoffed at by some middle-aged man, but they’re perfect for you. If you want to learn about business, setup a little side hustle. It will teach you a lot about marketing, sales, and budgeting. Plus you’re getting paid while you learn.
The fact that stodgy old institutions turn away young men is actually a good thing. Most of these giants are so archaic that they’re failing anyway. Newspapers are dying while blogging thrives. Radio is in trouble as podcasts continue to gain popularity. And book publishers flounder at the same time independent authors are making record profits.
So yes, you might not be able to join the prestigious ranks old-time media. But you can make your own outlets. I have a blog and YouTube channel. That’s print and broadcast. 30 years ago no one could have done that. It would have been impossible to bankroll.
Nobody will take you seriously and there’s nothing wrong with that. We’ve entered an age where anyone can launch a business and make a name for themselves. You’re living in a time of opportunity. Make a blog, shoot a video, post some Craidslist ads. The days of being in the “old boys’ club” are drawing to a close.
Every young man who wants to can go out and start a business this afternoon. There’s no longer a barrier where you need a third-party to promote your work.