This post is in response to a comment left by Brian from I visited Yeabiz and was quite impressed by the organization.

The website is for the Young Entrepreneurs of America, which is “a 501(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to educating and motivating the next generation of entrepreneurs.” Wow! I’m so jealous. I wish something like this was around when I was younger.

Brian wanted to know what suggestions I may have for entrepreneurs in Jr. high or high school. This was an interesting idea, since I had never thought about entrepreneurship from the perspective of a 12 year old. After some consideration, I realized that any advice I would give to a teenager would be the same advice I would give to anyone, at any age.

I never saw entrepreneurship as simply someone who started a business. Of course, disagrees with an official definition. Rather, I believe entrepreneurship is a life skill. Something along the lines of interpersonal skills and financial responsibility.

No matter what your age, I think you should learn to think like an entrepreneur. Contrary to popular stereotype, entrepreneurs aren’t irresponsible risk takers; they’re actually calculated risk takers.

They have the ability to weigh the pros and cons of an opportunity and determine if it is worth their investment. This kind of thinking can be translated in our daily lives; we make decisions everyday! Decisions can range from something as basic as the route to take home to your next car purchase. Whatever it may be, you will enviably need to weigh pros and cons to determine an effective resolution.

Additionally, entrepreneurs have a critical eye. No matter how perfect something may appear, they have the ability to identity problems. Such problems are the foundation of any business opportunity. Not only do they see these problems, but they also determine potential, often creative, solutions. I find this skill particular useful when you assume a leadership role in your company or your organization. Such environments are constantly seeking improvement. Having the skill to see problems and create solutions will help solidify your leadership and lend itself to advancement.

Lastly, entrepreneurs are often some of the most determined people I have ever met. By just speaking with them, you can sense a raging hunger to succeed and an unwillingness to fail. This is perhaps the most important skill everyone should have. Having the will to succeed allows you to overcome the adversity we will all experience sometime in our life.

So in response to Brian, I suggest young students explore the world of entrepreneurship. Their lessons should revolve around the excitement of starting a business… from developing an idea, creating a plan, and executing it. But beyond this activity, they should reflect on the skills they’ve developed throughout the process. Hopefully, the students will recognize how these skills can help them succeed throughout their lives, even if they don’t start a business.