I fail at almost everything that I do. I post blogs that no one reads. I sell products that no one buys. I even try to give away free content that no one wants. But that’s not the bad news.
I’m not planning to stop any time soon.
I don’t have a lot in common with the Donald Trump’s of the world. One distinct difference is the amount of time I’ve been in business — and there is that whole millionaire thing. The point is, I’m relatively new to this business game. Newness often fades before we take full advantage of it. There are so many possibilities to be found when we choose to look for them.
Don’t Underestimate the Power of Naiveté
We spend our lives learning new things and wishing for more than we have. My 6-year-old wants to be 9 so he can play games rated “9+” on his iPod. My 11-year-old wants to be 13 for the same reason. As a parent I tell them, “Don’t wish away the time that you have.” Yet I do the same thing.
When you are young in business you have so much opportunity. You may not see it that way, but it’s true. You may think, “If only I had as many Twitter followers as Gary Vaynerchuk or Sandy Krakowski, then I’d be happy.” But don’t miss the opportunity that you have right now.
With No Responsibility Comes Great Power
When you are 18 and deciding what to do with your life you have very little to lose because — well — you have very little at all. At age 18 you could attempt to do anything and get back to the starting point in very little time even if things went wrong. Starting early also allows more time to make up for the mistakes that you will inevitably make. When you have nothing to lose, you have no risk. Being young in business provides the same opportunity.
As I’m writing this, I don’t have a million Twitter followers. Great! That allows me to test things on Twitter and see if they work on a small scale (i.e., very little risk). If I had a million Twitter followers, I may be less eager to try something completely unique. When I have a lot of followers, I have a lot to lose. The reverse is also true.
Try It Now Before You Get Too “Old”
Your business will grow up. It will become stronger. It will succeed. Before it does though, take as many chances as you can!
If you’re a blogger, you can test new headlines and webpage formats and even content with little risk. The newness advantage allows you to try an abundance of ideas without the fear of losing a large audience. There’s always time to build an audience after you find your niche.
Even more importantly than the number of Facebook and Twitter followers is your business model, your basic business structure and your base product. When your business is all grown up, you’ll have a specific product line or service that can make it difficult to branch off and make that new, ground breaking widget — even if that widget is super cool and exciting.
On the other hand, if you’re a small business and your current products aren’t selling as well as you’d like, you can try something completely new and unrelated with very little risk. What’s the worst that could happen? The 3 people reading your website stop coming back? Let them go.
Try New Things Until You Find the One Thing
No one can predict the success of a product before it’s released. It’s trial and error. Although a great tool, even successful Kickstarter campaigns don’t guarantee product success. Just because people think your idea is a good one doesn’t mean that the market as a whole will agree.
Now is the time to run the trials. Run them often. Run them meticulously.
You need to find the business that fits your taste. When your business takes off, even if you grow to hate it you will be hesitant to try something new. When you’re fresh and eager, you can pivot on a dime with very little risk and very little anguish. Pivot now before you get too many followers.
Now is the time to take that risk.
Create a completely new product. Test Twitter posting techniques. Try various Facebook posting formats. Test blog content and headlines. You can even try different names for your business. Again, what’s the worst case scenario? You lose a small number of fans — not ideal, of course — but your devoted fans may follow you anyway.
Chances are you won’t lose everyone, but you will lose some. The ones that you will lose will be worth it the day that you find your true direction and discover the business that sets you on fire to get out of bed every morning.
“The day you realize that you no longer get excited about the work you’re doing is the day you need to define your exit strategy.”
Which group are you in? Are you excited to get out of bed every morning or are you hitting the snooze button and delaying the inevitable for as long as humanly possible? I hope it’s the former. If not, get started now and stop worrying about how to get more twitter followers.
“I will dispense this advice now. Enjoy the power and beauty of your youth. Oh nevermind; you will not.” — Baz Luhrman, Everybody’s Free (to Wear Sunscreen)
This blog was originally posted on Medium.