Today, I want to talk about something important to me. 

I still consider myself a young entrepreneur, even though I’m coming up on my 33rd birthday in just about a week, and I wanted to make a video to help you understand how to be taken seriously as an entrepreneur. So without further ado, let’s go ahead and roll into it.

I have been a young entrepreneur and small business owner since 2007. Throughout my career, I’ve had to overcome being young. Many of you are probably just starting off in your new business, and you’re trying to figure out how to be taken seriously, how to be respected, and how to get the pricing that you want.

Well, I’m going to tell you how to do that. We’re going to talk about 5 things that are necessary for you to be taken seriously as a young entrepreneur.

1. Knowledge

BE TAKEN SERIOUSLY AS A YOUNG ENTREPRENEUR AND BUSINESS OWNERWhenever you’re being hired for a task or skill, you want to be more knowledgeable than the person on the other side of the table. Or, in this case, the person on the other side of the Zoom call. 

It’s important that you have knowledge. Practice, train, and improve your craft on a daily basis — not weekly, but daily. You should always be consuming information.

When you do that, you’ll be able to have educated conversations with the people that you’re working with. Those conversations will lead to you being more respected and taken seriously.

2. Confidence

Confidence has so much to do with your success in business and how people treat you. If you are confident in your abilities, that’s going to come across to people. 

Confidence isn’t just the words that you’re saying or the experience that you have. It’s also the way you communicate with your body language. Sit forward instead of leaning back; make eye contact instead of looking at the ground. Your body language makes a difference.

BE TAKEN SERIOUSLY AS A YOUNG ENTREPRENEUR AND BUSINESS OWNERThe way you dress will also convey confidence. You don’t want to be wearing a Pizza Planet T-shirt in an interview. Put on a nice collared shirt to show that you’re serious. If the person you’re talking to is dressed to the nines, and you’re in a T-shirt and jeans, they won’t be able to take you seriously.

Remember: dress for the job that you want, not for the job you have. If you want to be taken seriously, you need to dress professionally. You don’t want to overdress, but you want to dress nice enough to show that you care about the way you look.

3. Communication

Being very clear, knowing what you’re talking about, having a point to your conversations (not just going around in circles with people), and communicating effectively is so important. You need to learn how to communicate. 

Communication is not just about talking. It’s also about listening. So, when somebody is telling you about their challenges, you need to actually listen to what they’re saying. Repeat what they told you back to them, so they know you understand. There’s a reason God gave you two ears and one mouth: you should be listening twice as much as you’re talking.

BE TAKEN SERIOUSLY AS A YOUNG ENTREPRENEUR AND BUSINESS OWNERNow, when it comes to communicating effectively, you also need to ask the right questions. There’s a book called ‘Great Leaders Ask Great Questions’ that you can pick up.

For example, when I ask questions to my clients, I tend to stick to the same basic points. I want to know about their vision, their roadblocks, and their 12-month goals. That gives me a good idea of who they are and how motivated they are.

4. Respect

I started my business back in 2007. Within about 2 ½ years, I had moved into a large location with my team. 

Lo and behold, one day a man walked in who I had worked for when I was younger. I approached him and he asked me to talk to the owner. When I told him I was the owner, I could tell that he wasn’t taking me seriously.

But as our conversation continued, I started to earn his respect. That’s the next important point on this list: respect.

You want to be respected. Show that you have the knowledge, that you’re confident, and that you take yourself seriously, and you’ll earn respect. As I continued to show my business to this man, he became impressed. He could see that I was serious.

5. Commitment

You have to be committed if you want to be taken seriously. And commitment is also a two-way street: you need to be committed to that person and they need to be committed to you. 

BE TAKEN SERIOUSLY AS A YOUNG ENTREPRENEUR AND BUSINESS OWNERThe problem is, a lot of people who are older than you are not going to be truly committed. They may have an underlying motive to take advantage of you. A lot of people are just after the cheapest deal. So, as much as you need to be committed to them, they also need to be committed to you.

I was raised in a world where a handshake deal is your word. But unfortunately, we live in a society now where your word only goes so far, and you need to have contracts in place. I want to encourage you to have contracts and onboarding processes to protect yourself.

Even if you think someone is authentic and genuine, they could have an ulterior motive. So, have agreements and contracts in writing to hold those people accountable. It’s important for both of you. Set those expectations up front.

It’s All About Your Energy

Some of the main reasons young people aren’t taken seriously are because they don’t show up on time, they’re unreliable, they’re ignorant and inexperienced. They might be lazy or just lack experience. That lack of experience, the laziness, the unreliability — those are things that take away from your credibility and work against you if you want to be taken seriously. 

BE TAKEN SERIOUSLY AS A YOUNG ENTREPRENEUR AND BUSINESS OWNERSo, you need to show that you’re not lazy. You need to show that you are reliable, you are committed, and you have experience and knowledge in your field.

Even if you haven’t been in this field for long, put your best impression forward. People will see your energy, your confidence, and your body language. That will make all the difference for you.

So, that’s what I wanted to leave you with today. I hope this helps you. Thanks so much for tuning in, and as always, keep looking up.