I must admit, I NEVER thought I’d ever become old enough to start talking about age! Especially not WRITING about it in a blog post! However, I’m becoming more and more intrigued in business particularly as to whether age matters?
On Tuesday this week, I was invited to the offices of Smith and Williamson (a large and very well known Accountancy firm and investors firm in London City Centre) Every year they produce their POWER 100 list of their top 100 Business influencers, and this year I’m exceptionally proud to have been included on their list.
The room was full (Approx 150 including a number of last years Alumni) of highly successful and very bright entrepreneurs from a vast array of backgrounds and experiences, all of whom have a significant influence in business. During the evening, there was a panel discussion of 5 of the most prominent (and most successful) of those listed on Entrepreneurship and the future of it!
The MC for the evening was exceptionally good at asking some great questions, helping us ‘climb inside the minds’ of these 5 successful people to learn more about their thinking and reasoning behind the decisions they have made, the direction they have gone in and the successes (and failures) this has created.
What I quickly learnt, and was most intrigued by was the stark difference between YOUNG entrepreneur Versus OLDER Entrepreneur and their views on WHY they do it, the importance (or not) of money and their ‘drivers’ to achieve!
Simon is a Mid 60’s Entrepreneur who first made it in business in the mid to late 90’s. He remains a very proactive entrepreneur currently heavily involved in real-estate and investment bonds.
It’s all about the money! And anyone who tells you it isn’t is either a lier or unlikely to remain in business. It doesn’t matter whether its £1 or £1M but it’s ALWAYS about the money!
Beside Simon, sat Steven a 24 year old Entrepreneur who already employs over 100 people and is a household name in many a Millennial’s online world.
I disagree. It’s never been about the money for me, I hope it never becomes that either.
Steven went on to discuss that he’s “Not sure” how much he earns, or how many hours he “works” and that for the first 2-3 years of his entrepreneurial journey, he worked 40-50 hours a week on his ‘business’ whilst “getting by” on the pocket money he earned delivering Pizza!
I learnt that Steven had worked for 40-50 hours a week with a small group of close friends ‘building a social media platform’. And that for the first couple of years there was “Hardly any money” available and had to be shared amongst the team, so he got by, delivering Pizza on a Friday, Saturday and Sunday evening!
Simon was flabbergasted! “Why did you keep going back then?” he quizzed
“Because all my friends were there, and whenever they were working on this, I owed it to them to be part of that team, as did they whenever I was there”
This sense of Loyalty almost 3 musketeers in stance, was something that appeared foreign to many of the ‘older’ generation at the event. They didn’t appear to have any understanding as to why you would keep doing something for so long without any reimbursement for your efforts, and this sense of loyalty was considered quite ill founded!
Steven went on to explain:
We all had ‘an idea’ this would work, and when it did; it would all have been worthwhile. But even if it didn’t ‘pay off’. We all knew the experience we would have gained from this, would make ‘the next thing’ work for us even quicker.
This experimental entrepreneurship with no business plan or exit strategy in sight but a hunch that “it might work” and even if it doesn’t let’s do it anyway because the experience will be of benefit to us later, was something many in the room struggled to understand. However the enlightenment wasn’t to end there.
So many people seem to get caught up in the want and need of materialistic things! I don’t own a house or a car, I don’t go for fancy restaurants or lavish holidays, all that can come later when I’ve made it.
AGE was playing such a major part in this young entrepreneurs thinking. He lives in a shared flat with a couple of friends “Why wouldn’t you? We all get on” Steven exclaimed. He’s in the city centre, so owns an Oyster card rather than a car, “because you don’t NEED it” he continued.
Interestingly he had grasped the whole rooms attention as they listened intently to his ‘alternative view on life’ to the one the majority of the room were so used to!
This ‘new age’ of social entrepreneurs that are in it for the experience and ‘where it might take them’ as apposed to the more traditional venture capital, 5 or 10 year exit plan bricks n mortar are making more and more of an impact that ever before. The collaboration approach of working to help EACH OTHER achieve, is alive and thriving throughout the younger generations, as apposed to the dog eat dog world or corporate mentality.
Steven eloquently spoke of purpose being in the pursuit of helping and supporting others to grow, rather than ME ME ME whilst so dominantly continues in so many C-Suite boardrooms. But he also finished with a warning!
Since we stopped making anything in this country, and social media has given the opportunity for so many entrepreneurs to flaunt their wealth and success, it is being turned into something new and sexy, something more and more kids are saying I don’t need an education or a job or experience, I’ll become an Entrepreneur.
The SHOW BIZ status being displayed so frequently on TV and all across social media fails to demonstrate the tireless hours of hard work, or that you actually have to have something in the first place, and is giving false hope to many that its an ‘easy option’.
We have an obligation to be sincere, to be open and honest and authentic. Social Media has deemed there is less and less places for people to hide, so its time to stop being false and work more collaboratively to help each others succeed.
As you can tell, on the whole it was an AMAZING event and MOST insightful. I learnt lots from being amongst such inspiring and influential people and has certainly helped further shape my own views on the role and life of an entrepreneur.
I’d VERY much welcome your thoughts and opinions? and if you’d like to know more about My TrueNORTH and how we work as an ETHICAL coaching company to help business owners (just like you) to significantly
and sustainably grow them and their businesses, then we’d be delighted to have a complimentary chat about your aspirations hopes and dreams…..