15 Entrepreneurs Share Their Advice To Their 22-Year-Old Self

Recently, I celebrated a birthday - not a milestone or a significant age by any means other than I've been around for another 365 days, and have added this past year of insight, connections, and learning curves to my repertoire - that leads me to think about what I would have done with the learnings I've attained over the past few years, had someone suggested these to my 22-year-old self. And so, I've decided to put this question to some talented people I know in business.

If you could go back in time, what advice would you give your 22-year-old self?

I would tell me 22-year-old self to read more. Read everything you can get your hands on. Don't be so quick to trust people - make sure they earn it and watch out for those red flags - don't ignore them. That feeling is called your gut instinct and it will always be right. It is never too late to back out of something.

-Me, Jo Muggeridge. The founder of Strictly Savvy and The VA Foundry. Currently on a mission to upskill job seekers and mentor start-up virtual assistants so they too can have flexibility, freedom, and control in their lives.

Back yourself but don't be too hasty in making long-term decisions. Go with the flow, learn heaps and see what you want to do at 30.

-Youssef Mourra is the founder of Nonsuch Consulting. Follow his irreverent utterances on the world of project management and strategic alignment on Twitter.

Appreciate life each day – family, friends, nature. Make sure you keep a balance in your life including fitness, to keep yourself healthy.

-Cathy Sheppard is a leadership and team development specialist, with a passion for transforming businesses and changing people's lives. She is the founder of BSI People Skills, helping businesses and organisations develop happy, healthy, high-performing teams.

Aside from 'wear a chemical free sunblock every day', and 'avocados are amazing', I would tell my 22-year-old self to think positively – success isn't this totally unattainable thing reserved only for a special few. If you put your heart and soul into it, you will be a success. Also, ask (even if it's just into thin air) for what you want, and don't feel too defeated by setbacks. Maybe what you really wanted didn't happen, but the new path you set out on could lead someplace even better.

-Jess Menon has built a business with clients all over the world, is an exceptional writer and a passionate vegan. Check out her CV writing and design company and follow her on Facebook and Twitter

Keep going with the sunblock - it totally works and your future self will be grateful for it.

Two other pieces of advice:

  1. Don't date or be around people who want to control you with their approval. Be free. Wear sunscreen, and don't smoke. Study what you love as you will do better at it than studying something that bores you.
  2. Keep your artistic spirit alive and do creative stuff every day. It doesn't matter if it's just sticking shells into cards and sprinkling glitter on them. This helps with ideas and honing your sense of self which is so important for entrepreneurs.

-Brenda Ratcliff is an experienced MC, presenter, trainer and leadership coach. Her business MindMeld Coaching continues to flourish. Her weekend job is a marriage celebrant, especially for themed weddings.

Drink more water, start yoga, and embrace your ambition! To my 22-year-old 'financial' self – I would say spend less and save more, understand the power of compound interest truly and start now to use it to your advantage!!

-Carissa Fairbrother is an Authorised Financial Advisor, Co-founder of RIVAL Wealth, a Financial Wellness Warrior and Keynote Speaker. Always happy to talk to one on one about getting financially organised.

  1. To keep reviewing and renewing your goals - my goal was to become a Partner by 30 - it was my big focus and drove me, but once I achieved that goal, I drifted, as I hadn't set new goals.
  2. It's ok to ask for help, talking to a counsellor is helpful, depression is not a sign of weakness. Learn to identify, accept and act as needed. I was diagnosed with depression in my early 30s but kept it to myself until a 2nd bout where I realised the importance and benefit of sharing my struggles with family and friends and talking with a counsellor. Challenge your negative self-talk. Don't talk to yourself in a way you would never talk to anyone else. Life happens, but how you interpret it can have a great impact on how you deal with further events in life - so be careful to understand truly what is happening. 14 -year-old me saved for and bought an electric point set for my train set. I got home and wired it up but when I turned it on the point set melted. I took that as a failure and told myself for years I was useless at technical and handyman stuff, where in reality there were only two wires so I had a 50/50 chance of getting it right - given I hadn't read the instructions.
  3. Be yourself, don't get caught up in other people's expectations for you. Have mentors that help you do that.

-Bruce Stormer is a chartered accountant who seeks to help business owners make the difficult understandable by explaining business and accounting terms in a way that his clients can relate to. Click here to see one of his explanation videos.

I started my first business when I was 22 and what I would tell my 22-year-old self would be that you are about to have 1001 different ideas and opportunities thrown at you. Stay focused and act on it by failing fast.

Failing fast for you means: See what works and what doesn't work, and then re-adapt quickly. Failing fast will allow you to focus on one thing at a time and get through many new initiatives instead of having too many things on the go at once, which will spread you too thin.

-Nigel Fowler is super passionate about the products and services smart entrepreneurs are inventing every day. He is on a mission to tell the stories of businesses worldwide and write their web content for their website.

Business is a marathon, not a sprint... Know what you're working towards, then be determined/persistent/driven AND patient!!!

Also, to value my time and expertise more appropriately from the outset - price like an established business and not a start-up with minimal overheads...

-Lance Jensen is the founder of Red Hot Business Coaching. Check out his business blog and YouTube channel #FromTheCoachesRoom

I wouldn't give him advice. What I would do is give him a list of everything that makes me happy right now and hopefully the 22-year-old self would start doing those things or put those things in place, earlier than the 36-year-old version did.

-Jono Rees owns Boostnest, an accounting firm in Wellington, and provides direct, results-focused advice for any stage of your business.

Don't worry too much about trying to figure out what you want to do with your life. Just make a start on something you care about, and the rest will fall into place.

-Gareth Foster runs Private Box - a mail forwarding company with its HQ in Wellington. Think digital mailroom, outsourcing your mail, virtual office and living your life anywhere. Secure, fast & with addresses in Auckland, Wellington, and Christchurch. Your Mail. Sorted. Gareth also runs Office Box - a one-stop shop to get everything you need to start a business online and Adventure Kiwi - a free advertising platform for your campervan, motorhome or caravan.

Believe in yourself and what you already know, and can do well. Don't wait for permission, boldly go where you want to go and design that path to get you there.

-Natalie Sisson is a self-proclaimed Freedomist and Founder of the Suitcase Entrepreneur and she's dedicated to ensuring entrepreneurs create freedom in business and adventure in life through better systems, daily freedom routines, and the right mindset to grow and scale your business without you. You can catch her live podcast updates on Quest for Freedom here.

Take more risks, young man. I had a background in marketing within larger corporates and it is a challenge to leave behind the safety net of a good salary, bonus, share schemes etc to work on a start-up. It's been a lot of work to create a business from scratch but I'd recommend taking the plunge earlier and back yourself. I'd also say follow your passions, not necessarily what you are good at. I started work as an accountant because I was good with numbers and that has proven to be a great grounding for starting a business but I'd tell the young guy to start with what you enjoy and see where that takes you.

-Grant Johnson is a co-founder at Rocketspark, the beautifully simple website builder. Rocketspark enables non-technical people to create their own website, or you can have Strictly Savvy create the site for you. Check out the Rocketspark's easy to understand blog to learn more about how to make the most of your online presence.

Get into business/self-employment as quickly as possible.

-Karl Baker is a creative entrepreneur who enjoys breaking rules and building innovative businesses. He is the founder and managing director of Mindfulness Works, the largest mindfulness training organisation in Australasia.

Be brave, act on your ideas.

-Assia Salikhova is a dynamic entrepreneur, founder of NZ's largest business database and creator of profitable marketing ideas guaranteed to work for businesses of any size. Join a growing community here for the soon to be launched B2BMarketing Club.

In my next post, I'll share what entrepreneurs said their biggest lessons in business were. Keep an eye out for it - there are some great lessons!

Jo Muggeridge | Founder of Strictly Savvy & The VA Foundry.

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