With the current shocking rates of unemployment, more and more young people are turning into entrepreneurship as a full career with most youth even starting a business while still in university. However, despite all the challenges young entrepreneurs face such as raising capital, lack of experience, balancing personal and business life, and lacking mentors, one other major obstacle they face is struggling to be taken seriously in the first place.

Young entrepreneurs are often dismissed by doubtful investors and most times they have to prove their worth more than their older, more experienced counterparts.

Are you a young entrepreneur? Here are a couple of tips on how to be taken more seriously;

Surround Yourself with Successful People

You cannot expect to be taken seriously as a young entrepreneur when the crowd you hang around are ‘jokers’ and people with no vision or goals in life. The saying, “Show me your friend and I’ll tell you what you are” rings true in this situation.

Make sure you hang out with people who:

  • Push you to be a better person and not distract you from your goal.
  • Have a positive attitude towards life and cheer you on.
  • Challenge you by asking the tough questions and giving you a different perspective.
  • Listen and are genuinely interested in what you do.
  • Have their own vision and goals. Seeing them work has a direct impact on your mindset.
  • Are more experienced and can give you advice and direction.

Work on Your Personal Appearance

One of my most thought provoking quotes is, “You never get a second chance to make a great first impression.” Whether you like it or not, investors and influencers in the business world will always judge you based on your personal appearance, intelligence and the first impression you create.

When you are smartly dressed, it boosts your confidence and others treat you with respect even if you are just starting out as a young entrepreneur. Always strive to look your best regardless of the type of business you are in.

You can do this by making your appearance a priority and investing heavily in yourself; invest in a good wardrobe, a good hair stylist/barber and other self-care practices. It is also important to prioritize quality over quantity. You’d rather have 5 good quality handbags for example than have 20 cheap handbags that do not compliment/boost your appearance.

Focus on Building a Good Reputation

You might look at your age and the fact that you are starting out as a disadvantage but on the flip side, it is actually an opportunity to build a great brand from scratch and lay a good foundation for yourself and your business.

Here are some tips on how to do this;

  • Always keep your word – Be known for results from the beginning. In fact deliver beyond people’s expectations.
  • Know your industry inside out – Read, research, be up to date with current trends in your industry. This way you’ll be able to hold your own when having conversations with the who’s who in your industry.
  • Associate and keep close ties with the influencers in your industry, follow them on social media, attend their events. Basically, stay visible.
  • Be aunthetic – Present yourself as a serious, authentic entrepreneur who just happens to be young. Also don’t be afraid to be honest about the challenges you are facing.

First appeared here