One of the things I have learned in being a young student entrepreneur was that my drive and desire to succeed stems from the environment which I was raised: in and around my family’s business. Growing up around a family business, I learned many invaluable lessons that have helped me through school, my internships, and my startup. These lessons have acted as catalysts to helping me develop how I maximize my energy to be better, become quicker at embracing opportunity, and smarter.
Building a business as a 21-year-old has been challenging, consistently learning from my failures and figuring out how to pick myself and my team up after we fail with a launch or a marketing push has been key. Sometimes rebounding is extremely difficult, but when times get hard or challenges get tougher, I turn to the principles I learned when I was ten “working” for my grandfather at the family business. His famous phrase he would repeat over and over to me was “The secret to success is work” and it is those six short words that fuel my ambitions and allow me to channel my competitive juices to solution finding and innovating.
With the family business, Central Paper Products, being established in Manchester, New Hampshire in the late 1940s the importance of this small city is extremely near and dear to my family’s and my hearts. It is where my patriarchs established and grew their roots. Looking back on my great grandfathers’ entrepreneurial endeavors and risk-taking abilities back in the 1940s and seeing how his business has bloomed and made it through four generations is astonishing. Business practices have obviously evolved tremendously since then but the one thing that has stayed constant is the company’s loyalty and dedication to its customers and the community. Learning at an early age that treating your customers right and always being on call creates lasting relationships. Loyalty has done wonders for me as I build my network and personal brand.
Personally, I believe authenticity and humility build the golden pathway to success. Pair those two qualities with passion and conviction and you better watch out. Risk-taking is in most entrepreneur’s genes, but I believe that it is the people (In my case, my family) that influence you at a young age to have high ambitions, which drive that entrepreneurial “itch”.
Putting these lessons to action
Learning from my patriarchs and growing up around a family business did many things for me but the most important thing it did was give me a vision of the life and mission I want. Being so connected to my upbringing has given me a purpose and passion to innovate and a drive to make a difference in my community. I encourage you to think about where your desires, ambitions, and entrepreneurial itch are rooted. If not your family, maybe your friends, teachers, or early-year mentors. Or even an exciting experience. Although your story may be much different than mine, I am convinced that the underlying drive to becoming an entrepreneur is intertwined in your younger-year roots.
“Roots are the itch!” Don’t scratch it, nurture it!
Ben is a senior at the University of New Hampshire while working as an Analyst at the Atkins Investment Group. Follow Ben here!