Many entrepreneurs always ask us what are some essential things they should learn in their 20’s outside of entrepreneurship in order to continue being successful. While you can learn to make money day trading or investing in real estate, those skills are very linear and don’t always apply to everything you will do in life, especially if you have no interest in them. These next 4 skills, however, will stay with you for life. Mastering them early on will save you lot of headaches. As simple as they may seem, you would be surprised how many people can master them, even when they have had 40 years to try.
Knowing how to manage your time is a skill very often overlooked and one that will allow you to remain productive even when family and routine settle in, in your 30’s. Mastering the art of getting more done in less time is the only way to guarantee your continued growth despite life’s circumstances. The core concept to learn with time management in your 20’s starts with your ability to know yourself enough to stick to your own deadline, followed by your ability to know when and how to delegate. Ultimately, learn to never make excuses for not having enough time.
Before you get to the real world, you only have your teachers in high school and college to keep you motivated until graduation. Unfortunately in real life, there are only two forms of motivation: internal and external. Your teachers are now replaced by a boss and the only real form of motivation is the one you have to find within yourself. You have to learn very early on that no one but yourself can ignite or put out the flame within you. The core to self motivation is to become aware in its purest shape that we are born alone, and die alone, and therefore us and us alone, must decide how badly we want something and what we are willing to do to get it. When we align our goals to realistic working expectations, we tend to hit more benchmarks as we progress towards those very same goals, enhancing our confidence along the way and re-enforcing our belief in ourselves.
Too many people wait till the very last minute to learn how to start, operate, and fail in business. Elon Musk recently said in his 60 Minutes interview that he never believed Tesla would succeed, but anything important enough is worth trying even if it is likely to fail. While you don’t have to re-engineer the way mankind thinks about energy in your 20’s, you can still get a taste of business by taking smaller attempts at it by understanding and learning the different components that make up a good versus bad business. The earlier you are exposed to this, the less risky it seems in your 30’s as you will have been exposed to much more. Try starting with basic selling skills either in person or online, learn how people make purchasing decision, experience the accounting nightmare it can be, and most importantly, feel the insecurity small business owners have.
Money, money, money… if you don’t understand how money works, you can’t learn to make any. We are not referring to stocks here, we are referring to the simple idea of understanding supply and demand, financial markets both domestic and international, but also how credit markets work. Most of this information is free and available online on over a dozen sites. It’s simple but very critical to your ability to understand how money is made worldwide, and where it is a fit for you to also make some. The most important aspect remains the understanding of supply and demand, which allows you to understand how people make buying decisions and how value is put on goods and services. This intricate aspect of finance can set you very far ahead of others who, even after owning many successful businesses, don’t really get it.