Youth unemployment continues to be of great concern in the UK, at a worrying rate of 15%*. The number of young people not in work, education or any kind of formal training remains unchanged at just over a million in the second quarter of 2013. With the exception of Germany, where youth unemployment is just 7.5%, much of Europe is facing escalating employment issues.
However, not everything is doom and gloom. The economy’s instability has seen a rise in financially and digitally savvy teenagers who are choosing to opt out of the traditional academic route of sixth form or college followed by university. We’re welcoming the new modern day teenagers who are taking things into their own hands – say hello to the rise in teenage entrepreneurs, or ‘teenpreneurs’.
While launching a business is without a doubt a daunting task, especially in a time of economic uncertainly, teenagers have the advantage of being fearless, business-savvy and creative. As digital natives, they have the confidence to harness all that the internet has to offer. They utilise free social media and marketing tools – such as Wix.com’s website building platform – to their advantage, maximising both their sales and customer base whilst keeping their costs to a minimum. What’s more, their age means they have little, if anything to lose, which can go a long way towards explaining the rise in recent success stories.
Perhaps one of the biggest teenage triumphs to emerge is that of seventeen-year-old Nick D’Aloisio, who developed the app, Summly, while revising for his mock GCSEs in 2011. Nick sold the app to Yahoo in March 2013, with sources estimating that he would have received almost $30 million.
While Nick D’Aloisio achieved an incredible level of success, there are many teenagers running businesses on smaller, yet no less impressive, scales:
Nineteen-year-old Kirsty Scarrott is one such great example. Following temporary jobs at high street chains Thomas Cook and Costa Coffee, she decided to fuse her love of fashion, music and celebrities to create her company Kiss Clothing, using Wix.com. Her website sells celebrity-inspired clothing that Kirsty has designed herself and she can count A-listers such as Justin Bieber among her fans.
Kirsty says, “The most important thing I would recommend for any budding entrepreneurs out there would be to focus your business around something you love, which for me is fashion, . Also, join as many networking groups as possible; it’s a great way to surround yourself with like-minded people who can share inspiring stories and give valuable business tips. Lastly, utilise social media to its fullest capacity. I cross-promote all of my different online platforms to get the maximum benefit from each of them. Every online channel should point to each other and vice versa. For example, your blog should be promoted on your Facebook page; your Youtube videos should be promoted on your Twitter profile; your Twitter should be promoted on your Facebook, and everything should lead back to your website.”
Graphic designer Loai is another illustration of a successful teenpreneur. Designing since the age of 15, Loai has been helping clients all over the world to build their websites on Wix.com. His business has gone from strength to strength and has funded his recent move from Dubai to England where he is now studying a diploma in Creative Communications & Website Design.
Laoi says, “I always wanted to be an entrepreneur, as I thrive on creative freedom – I do what I like the way I like with nobody setting any limits. Being able to design and create my own website gave me a platform to establish a way of communication with my clients which has been essential to my business success. For all the budding entrepreneurs out there; if you’ve got a great idea, talent and motivation, just do it, take the first steps, and most importantly enjoy the adventure.”
The tables are turning and it’s time that we look to our children to take some tips from them on how to make it in these uncertain times.
Words By Omer Shal, Chief Marketing Officer at WIX.com