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In some ways, my entrepreneurial journey has been typical. First, my idea came from a personal experience. Good ideas are almost always informed by first-hand experience more than brainstorming sessions inside an office building.

Second, Ive endured successes and failures. Starting a company is called a roller coaster for good reason: There is much uncertainty, and each day brings its share of highs and lows, good luck and bad. Hiring the wrong employee for my company was one of my most memorable failures. My inability to judge someones potential fit with the company resulted in lost time and money. The best entrepreneurs have the emotional resilience to thrive in these chaotic situations.

Third, networking constantly meeting new people was and is a big part of every day. Each day I spend an hour thinking about who I know and how to stay in touch with these people. And who else I want to meet. Maybe these are sales leads, maybe just personal mentors. Either way, networking has been important to my personal and professional success.

In other ways, my experience has not been so typical. I am young. I started my company at age 14. Im 20 years old now. I have had to overcome challenges related to my age. I needed to convince people to take me seriously and to ignore the naysayers. I needed to learn the practical aspects of business how to define a problem, design a solution, build a prototype, and sell it largely on my own. With few professional contacts, I needed to establish a network of advisers and supporters. And I had a work-life-balance challenge: going to school and growing my company at the same time.

My youth may have also worked to my advantage. Sometimes not knowing many things can help, since you ask the dumb questions. My lack of experience meant I had fewer biases and could approach a problem with fresh eyes.



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