Owning a business is a lot harder than it seems. You have to put in hours, days, weeks, and months of hard work to gain success. It requires a lot of time and patience. You must come up with unique ideas to stand out from your competitors. You have to learn how to navigate your target market, and have a drive behind your business.
My name is Ryann Richards and I’m the owner of Bankroll Dripp by ZheCultue. I create custom hand-ripped and dip-dyed denim wear as well as T-shirts. I always knew I wanted to start my own business but I didn’t know what I wanted to sell. I’ve been to camps that emphasize my entrepreneurship skills and I made sure I signed up for the marketing pathway for high school. Up until summer going into my freshman year of high school, I didn’t know what I wanted the start of my business to be, then it hit me: “What if I came up with a clothing line for my generation?”
This is where I got the name ZheCulture because I am part of Generation Z. After building my brand for almost a year and going into my sophomore year, I’ve realized being a teen entrepreneur provides a creative outlet for myself. So I want to offer five pieces of advice to other teens who want to make money and work for themselves.
Every great business starts as an idea or as a problem that needs a solution. Think about the things you enjoy doing. This may be producing music or beats, cooking for others, painting, editing pictures or videos, creating logos, photography … anything!
“When running a business, the concept means the deliberate basic plan and layout of your business,” says teen entrepreneur and Groveland Studios founder Trinity. “The concept (blueprint) that will get you to where you envision yourself to be. When you think about the concept, dig into the word more and think about planning, consistency, hard work and lastly, time. Once you’ve figured out the basic characteristics of any concept. You’ve got the term concept down packed.”
Understanding Your Market
Understanding your market is all about finding people who would buy your product and how much they would pay for it. To find out who your market is you can survey groups of people who you do not know so their opinions will not be biased.
“It’s more specific than understanding a market, it’s more about understanding our client,” says Curtis Daniels III, who owns and operates Patchwerk Studios in Atlanta. “Before you even start a business you have to figure out if there’s a client base there that’s willing to pay for your services or if there’s a need, that’s one of the most important things to know, you need to know that before you get started.”
Funding and Budgeting
When starting a business, start-up funds are key. These funds can come from your parents, a bank loan, or even pitch contests. You also have to worry about budgeting money for your business. Think about how much materials cost, how much promotion fees are, and how much website or domain fees are, especially for sites like Shopify, Big Cartel, and Go Daddy.
¨It all starts personally, so you know you have to be financially responsible,” says Daniels. “In Atlanta, they have programs like Invest Atlanta where they offer low-cost loans for people that are trying to start their businesses or you’ve got the Small Business Association. Since you’re starting a new business it’s gonna be based on your personal funds, but if you’re in college you may wanna start having a credit card if you can use it responsibly and build up your credit score or maybe your parents list you as a co-signer on a card to build up your creditworthiness. You’re also gonna need to have an idea and you can pitch it to somebody who would want to invest in you or just go to the bank and get a loan. Sometimes you have to come up with a different idea to finance the dream, those are different ways you can get the money or you can always go to family.”
In this generation, social media is the most influential way to promote a product or a service. Some social media sites like Instagram offer paid promotions that will show up on other users timelines while they’re on the app.
̈What’s most important right now is social media and our digital market, you also have influencer marketing,” says Jabari Graham, founder of Art, Beats and Lyrics. “Some of the traditional advertising is outdoor advertisements, which you may see on billboards or on buses and bus stops, but with the way things are today with technology, everyone is on their phones. It’s about fighting for the screen if you can advertise on social media using digital marketing and even have an e-commerce store fulfill orders.”
At the end of the day, it’s all about making that money! As you make sales you’re able to purchase more materials and promote your products or services to a larger audience. As your company and market grows, you have to remember the 80/20 rule, 80% of your profits are going to come from 20% of your market, this means that most of your sales are going to be coming from the same group of people. Remember you also have to reinvest your money into your business so you can continue to make a profit.
Entrepreneurship it a lot of hard work but it all pays off in the end. If you are interested in starting a business you can look for teen camps like CEO of My Life or you can even go on YouTube to lookup more tips for starting your own business. Use your creativity and don’t be scared to take a risk. Invest some money and watch your money grow. Starting my own business has served as a creative outlet for me and I hope these tips help make your journey easier, Good luck!
Story by Ryann Richards