5 Lessons I Learned From Starting A Company At 19 Years Old

Opinion expressed by businessman The contributor is himself.

I have no intention of making it myself software company. I was kind of forced into it. You see, a few years ago, I became a full-time YouTuber. All was good until my channel was demonetized. This means that I make $0 from the ads placed on my videos.

There was a point where I was getting 2-3 million views a month on my channel and not getting paid. As a way to bounce back from this low, I decided to put my life savings ($5,000) into starting a creator economy software startup in 19 years. I dropped out of college to work on my SaaS startup full-time, and I’ve learned valuable lessons along the way. Here are the five most important lessons I’ve learned so far:

Related: How to Start and Grow a Business: A Digital Guide for Young Entrepreneurs

1. Done is better than perfect

I have no experience in coding – let alone making it start growing. Despite this challenge, I 100% believe in me . Backed by a proof of concept, I am willing to do everything within my limited budget to turn my SaaS idea into reality.

With a written vision and a lot of persistence, I was able to find a good developer overseas who not only fit my budget but believed in my vision for Trend Watchers.

We still work together to this day. The first version of Trend Watchers was hideous, but over time, it was UI/UX slowly increased. When I look back at my journey from a point of view, I should not have made it this far. I went through so many setbacks and hurdles. I had to step back at the starting line, but by having a great vision and a team mixed with the will to succeed, we got through.

No matter how challenging a task may seem, done is always better than perfect. Often, perfection comes from the countless mistakes you make along the way.

2. The importance of collecting data

One thing I did at first was good collect data. What is meant by data collection? Data collection has a bad rep, thanks to big companies and scammers who abuse it to make a quick buck. But there is a good side to data collection. Data collection can be used to make better marketing decisions. It can also be used to find out what users like and don’t like.

I collect data in a variety of ways, but two of the most useful data collection tactics I use are asking good questions in our signup sequence and having session recording software that tracks how long users spend on each page and what they click on. These two data-gathering methods have helped by making the right decision and software updates improve user experience.

Related: The Complete, 12-Step Guide to Starting a Business

3. Get a proof of concept before you build

For the people in the back, I’m going to repeat myself: Get a proof of concept before you build. At the beginning of 2022, I thought it would be a good idea to build a market on Trend Watchers. Markets are great, and when used correctly can be a great growth engine for startups – but no one wants that. They just want a trend that they can use to go viral online.

Instead of listening to this market feedback, I went ahead and built it anyway, and it was a major flop. It also causes a lot of other problems, but I’m spending time and money on something the user doesn’t want at the time. Because of that experience, I always conduct a survey and get a proof of concept before I add new features.

4. Tell your story

Starting a software company at the age of 19 with my own money has been financially challenging. The next question is, how am I going to market this thing with a $0 marketing budget?

Growing up, I was always an amazing storyteller. In my free time after school, I will always write my own book. I would go into our home office, grab a few sheets of paper from the printer, fold them in half, staple them together, and boom – I had a book.

I decided to leverage this skill I developed at a young age to slowly build the movement of faithful followers which will help me get traction for Trend Watchers. The two platforms I decided to focus on to document my progress were and leveraging the press. This is not an overnight success. It took a ton of writing, documentation and pitching to slowly start listening to my brand story, and now it’s paying off.

One interesting insight I recently discovered about my paying customers is that they tend to stay longer knowing their money is being spent. Many of my paying subscribers follow my stories email list or Instagram page for weekly updates.

If you’re working on growing your startup, document your journey. Not only do you end up with a well-written journal in the end, but you can also find loyal customers along the way.

5. Take every opportunity that presents itself

Some of the best decisions I’ve ever made were time-sensitive opportunities that came my way. Some of these opportunities include the opportunity to purchase programs, travel to different venues and change my schedule to attend certain events. About 90% of these opportunities come out of nowhere, and every time I take one, it helps me in the process of growing my business.

Related: 6 Tips for Building a Successful, Scalable Software Company

As many people know, start and grow a business not easy, especially for young adults with no prior experience. Read books and see videos can be very helpful and informative, but experience is the best teacher. The skills and lessons I have gained from my experience have helped me grow exponentially, and hopefully, the above five lessons can help other entrepreneurs – young or old – grow their businesses as well.

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