You dream of starting a business, but you have no experience. Not a problem. In fact, it might be an advantage. Take Ariel Nelson and Lane Gerson. The friends just raised $9 million for their men’s footwear company, Jack Erwin, featured in this Entrepreneur article. Neither had any experience. Gerson worked in accounting and finance and Nelson in food and beverage distribution. They just wanted shoes, good quality shoes that didn’t cost a fortune. They didn’t let their background keep them from launching their own company.
“The lesson that Jack Erwin’s founders learned is one that aspiring entrepreneurs should never forget: Don’t let your great idea be stalled by your own lack of experience.” Entrepreneurship doesn’t require a college degree, professional experience or references – there really are no formal qualifications to becoming an entrepreneur.
The advantage of non-experts
Young entrepreneurs today are “non-experts” — a unique advantage in a wired world, Ankur Jain writes in this CNBC.com article. Jain is founder of the Kairos Society, which has helped more than 150 startups.
“Access to 24/7 global information, global networks and global resources means experience is more important than seasoned business acumen,” Jain writes. “As a result, this generation of entrepreneurs sees and solves problems through a fundamentally different lens.”
Jain describes one of his favorite examples: Vital Vio. Biomedical engineer Colleen Costell founded the company after her grandmother became sick while in the hospital. Costell and her team developed overhead LED lights that safely kill microorganisms – and built a successful business.
Another example is Immudicon, founded by Riley Ennis – who started working on his business idea as a high school sophomore. The company is developing cancer vaccine technology with the Georgetown Lombardi Cancer Center and others. The technology teaches immune cells how to recognize and remove tumor cells.
“Who knows how many people suffering from cancer will benefit from this innovation? And who knows how many people would have become more ill, or even died, had Riley waited until he was done with college, or grad school or spent years in the workforce before pursuing his goal?” Jain writes.
Inspired by the dot com boom
A new generation of entrepreneurs have seen from the success of Facebook and Google that they don’t need decades of experience to found a successful business. But this doesn’t mean they have nothing to learn, Jain writes.
“Quite the contrary. One of our greatest advantages is access to an unparalleled number of smart and experienced mentors. Thanks to the Internet, we don’t have to worry about finding people near our homes or in our age group to team up with. We have access to a wealth of advice, support and potential partners right at our fingertips,” according to Jain.
As Nina Zipkin writes in the Entrepreneur article that features Jack Erwin: “So, jumping into a new industry and new company, did they ever want to just throw in the towel? Absolutely, but they said that relationships they had cultivated with people who were relying on them compelled them stick with it. ‘There are lots of times we could’ve stopped, thinking this makes no sense, and we’re not shoe guys. But we said screw it, we’re doing this, we’ll just keep pushing forward and figure it out,’ said Nelson.”