Jack Bloomfield is 18. He's also a millionaire and founder of BloomVentures, a company he started when he was just 15. And the money-making whizz kid is convinced that, while it might not be easy, anyone can follow in his footsteps.
So, to help budding entrepreneurs across the world, the Brisbane resident has put together his six key lessons for doing it yourself. "It is my honest belief that if a 15-year-old with just Sh54,000 ($500) and the internet can start a business, anyone with a will can too whether you are 12 or 56," he wrote on LinkedIn.
"It's easy to make excuses for not launching your side-hustle, isn't it? I’m too young, too old, too busy," Jack said. "Well, I'm here to tell you that every one of those excuses is nonsense. Anyone of any age can launch a successful side-hustle, and every single one of those businesses has the opportunity to grow into a multi-million-dollar company." These are his top tips.
1. Passion trumps profit
If you’re launching a side-hustle just to make money, you’re doomed to fail before you even begin. Because the truth is that it won't always be easy. There will be challenges and obstacles you face along the way, and you’ll usually be facing them after a long day at school or work, or late at night once the kids have gone to bed, and if you don’t have passion driving you, it will all seem too hard. If you’re trying to start a side-hustle but you’re not passionate about what you’re doing, then it feels like a second job, not a passion project. And as soon as you hit a roadblock or an obstacle, you’ll be out of there.
2. Know what you're in for
Yes, the rewards can be great, but you need to be honest with yourself about exactly what lies ahead of you. Are you really willing to give it everything you’ve got? To work outside work hours and weekends to make your dreams a reality? A side-hustle success story requires grit, determination and a hell of a lot of hard work.
The goal should be to replace your full-time job with your new business, because if a side-hustle can grow to a point where it can replace your work income, and you followed step one, then you get to pursue that passion for the rest of your life. But not everyone gets a kick out of working weekends and late nights, so you need to know what drives you, what keeps you motivated, because when times get tough - and they will - that’s what will keep you moving forward.
3. Begin at the end
The first side-hustle you launch, or your first great idea, probably won't work. And your second one might not, either. But that’s fine. Failure is a precursor to success. I started four or five businesses before I launched my e-commerce site that has been such a huge success.
And through it all, I never lost sight of the end goal, and I never panicked. It’s why it is so important to have the finish line in mind, right from the beginning. I have a five-step action plan I use right from the start; five things I need to do to get me to that endpoint. Now sometime they’ll change, because things do come up, and you’ll have to adapt and make changes as you go, but never lose sight of the end goal.
4. Take it seriously
When you start your side-hustle, you’re running a business. You’re a CEO, no matter how big or small your business is. And you’re in charge. I launched one of my first businesses when I was 12 years old. The idea that a kid at 12 can be a CEO? A business owner?
How cool is that? That’s what the internet unlocks for everyone. Anyone can be a CEO, be their own boss, and be in charge of their own destiny. Remember, most people don't care if you succeed or fail (and if they’re being honest, most would prefer to see you fall), so it’s up to you and you alone to make sure you don’t.
5. No idea is bulletproof
For most entrepreneurs, their first idea is never their best idea. And not all ideas are successful. So forget what your family and friends think; they’ll always tell you it’s great - they don’t want to hurt your feelings. The only person who is going to be 100 per cent honest is your customer, so take your idea to market and see if it works.
I like to work on a 14-day schedule; so from an idea to market in two weeks, because it's the only way to know if the idea is good or not. And it’s all well and good having the best idea in the world, but if you don’t take action, then that idea is worthless. The foundation of any business is action: you can have the best business plan ever, but it's not worth the paper printed on if you do nothing about it.
6. Be unrealistic
Goals and business targets are a fantastic way of growing your business, but too often people aim too low, celebrating mediocre results when they could have had so much more. Instead of saying you want to grow your revenue by two per cent, why not aim for 20 per cent? Sure, it sounds unobtainable, but even if you finish the year on 10 per cent growth, that’s better than being satisfied with two per cent, right?
This is about setting goals that are bigger than your expectations. When your business starts firing, your very next step is to set massive goals and start working hard towards them. Because even if you miss them, landing close will be a huge win for your business.