Five Attributes that Give Young Entrepreneurs A Competitive Edge

by / ⠀Startup Advice / April 10, 2011


I hear this phrase quite often when I meet older business owners for the first time, “I wish I started my business at your age.” While being a Gen Y entrepreneur has it’s fair share of pros and cons, I can understand why most people would think that. Starting a business in your twenties affords you opportunities that clients and colleagues will appreciate when working with you. Many of today’s best-known entrepreneurs started their business when they were very young including Bill Gates, Richard Branson, and Mark Zuckerberg. Below are five major attributes that can be helpful for young entrepreneurs in growing their business.


Younger entrepreneurs are still at an age where they are seeing the world quite differently than older counterparts. Our generation views the idea of “work” somewhat differently and instead focuses on what we can contribute to society through our interests and talents. For example, Part of Richard Branson’s passion lies in his insatiable appetite for starting companies. Founded in 1970, the Virgin Group has expanded to more than 200 companies. Branson is famous for his adventurous streak and zest for life, making him one of the most admired entrepreneurs for his ability to have a successful work/life balance.

Risk Taker

Being a risk taker is one of the most important qualities in being an entrepreneur. Starting almost any business is risky, even if it is a calculated risk. Younger entrepreneurs can tend to roll with the punches and remain fairly optimistic about their startup. Also, younger entrepreneurs don’t have the financial responsibilities older counterparts do which can allow them to take a fair amount of risk. This will give you have a better chance of succeeding as an entrepreneur.

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Desire to Innovate

All entrepreneurs have a passionate desire to do things better and to improve their products or service. I’ve found though younger entrepreneurs are open to experimentation and not bogged down with traditional mindset. This could be attributed to Gen Y entrepreneurs not being exposed to corporate structure for a long period of time.


Entrepreneurs are climbing a wall of opposition as they struggle to manage the many goals, tasks and constantly evolving problems of the new organization. Furthermore, many entrepreneurs fail many times when trying to start a small business, and the ones who succeed are the ones who can persevere through failure and try again. While younger entrepreneurs sometimes has the disadvantage of lack of experience, the most driven ones will find ways around that through a willingness to learn new tools or find people who can do that particular task.


Projects will fail no matter how many times you may try to work with a particular idea. Many young entrepreneurs get upset when their first idea does not instantly begin making them millions of dollars, or even if the project never really gets off the ground. While some ideas will be a big success, a major part of becoming a successful entrepreneur is luck. Being an entrepreneur requires a certain amount of fearlessness to chase after a dream.

Andrea Walker is CEO of W. Social Marketing, an interactive marketing solutions & management firm for small businesses. Focused on B2B & B2C social media marketing, online community management and new media development.

About The Author

Matt Wilson

Matt Wilson is Co-Founder of Under30Experiences, a travel company for young people ages 21-35. He is the original Co-founder of Under30CEO (Acquired 2016). Matt is the Host of the Live Different Podcast and has 50+ Five Star iTunes Ratings on Health, Fitness, Business and Travel. He brings a unique, uncensored approach to his interviews and writing. His work is published on, Forbes, Inc. Magazine, Huffington Post, Reuters, and many others. Matt hosts yoga and fitness retreats in his free time and buys all his food from an organic farm in the jungle of Costa Rica where he lives. He is a shareholder of the Green Bay Packers.


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