After getting fired from his job selling computer software, Mark Cuban was left with only his interest in business and a strong client base. He went on to found MicroSolutions – a software distribution company which he later sold for $6 million. This was the first big stride in an entrepreneurial career that would later see him become a billionaire investor and owner of the NBA team Dallas Mavericks. Today, Mark Cuban is on the cast of the ABC show Shark Tank, a reality show where upcoming entrepreneurs try to convince one of five industry titans to invest in their idea. Mark Cuban believes that entrepreneurship should be fostered at a young age. He wrote a book with Shaan Patel “How any kid can start a business” to teach kids fundamentals of entrepreneurship. “The responses from kids and their parents to Shark Tank has been amazing,” says Cuban. “I get more questions from kids or from parents about their kids and entrepreneurship than what I get directly from adults. The market is there.” Here are 5 tips he has for young entrepreneurs.
- Start now: Even though kids don’t need entrepreneurial skills right now, the benefits from getting these skills will be numerous and valuable if they eventually decide to start a business of their own. People who get entrepreneurial skills before they start university get a head start on the competition. Says Cuban, “There are far more kids than you might imagine that want to start businesses and are looking for guidance, there is a reason why all those Girl Scout cookies get sold and all those roadside lemonade stands get built”. His thoughts are: you mustn’t have all the qualifications or money to be a success. You just have to create something that keeps making money.
- Live modestly: “It doesn’t matter where you live,” Cuban writes. “It doesn’t matter how you live. It doesn’t matter what car you drive. It doesn’t matter what kind of clothes you wear.” this doesn’t necessarily mean you have to live on cheap noodles and bunk with 7 other people in a cheap apartment. It means you shouldn’t place so much focus on appearances that you get distracted from your entrepreneurship goals. When you start fresh from college, make it a priority to build the financial backup you need to move forward. This is the time to pay off all debts – prominent of which are student loans – and not rack up even more. You can do without all the unnecessary luxury young people love. Living modestly doesn’t only save you from unnecessary bills, it also builds character and makes you learn to live on only the essential. This will help later if you experience a drop in your earning.
- Don’t fear mistakes, just learn from them: As a young entrepreneur, you have everything to gain and very little to lose. Mark Cuban encourages young entrepreneurs to “react like you would to any disappointment, and bounce back.” Cuban is speaking from experience here. He’s experienced firsthand the pain of failure and the power of bouncing back. Like he wrote in the book ‘How to Win at the Sport of Business’: “I have been fired from more jobs than most people have had.” don’t dwell on perfectionism, but be prepared to take a lesson or more from every failed endeavour.
- Do what you love: According to Mark Cuban, “If it matters how much you get paid, you are not in a job you really love”. This is his way of telling whether you’ve found a job that can help you build a successful career. This is not advice to not make as much money as you possibly can, but passion has to be above paycheck if you want a rewarding career. “If you love what you do so much that you are willing to continue to live like a student in order to be able to stay in the job, you have found your calling,” – Cuban.
- Optimistic is the way to be: Mark Cuban advises – “You are going to screw up, we all do. I can’t tell you how many times I did and continue to.” But regardless of how many times we fail, we must look at failures as learning experiences. We will definitely experience negative emotions, but instead of letting them put us down, we need to let them go. Tell yourself that “you’re going to enjoy all the bull**** you have to deal with as you chase your goals and dreams, because you want to remember them all, each and every experience will serve as motivation and provide great memories when you finally make it all happen.” – Mark Cuban.