Students: Skip the party, start a business

As a millennial entrepreneur, I often hear how my generation is the least engaged in the workplace and how we lack the same work ethic as previous generations. Are these preconceived notions about the new generation true? Or could it be that the new generation has implemented a new method of conducting business that is much more advanced than the norm?

According to the Kauffman Foundation, 54 percent of millennials either want to start a business or have already started one. At the age of 17, I became part of that statistic when I started a full-time business career. I was young, ambitious and had a burning passion for being successful, but I knew I needed guidance and quality advice from seasoned entrepreneurs to help keep me on track and stay focused in my career.

The following are the four best pieces of business advice I’ve received that have helped me to be successful in business today.

College is more than just a degree

While attending college, I remember my father sitting me down and telling me that college was much more than just a degree. College was a networking goldmine full of students, teachers and faculty walking all over campus. The thing is, you never know what your fellow classmate will do or invent in the future. I took my father’s advice and started to make connections. I met with professors in my college and attended student entrepreneur fairs where I met successful, driven-minded individuals. Now that I have graduated my network has grown into a list of friends who have successful careers creating amazing apps and programs, and some that proudly run their own business.

If you’re in college take advantage of the campus meetups for entrepreneurs. Always make time to meet with your professors and advisers and network with other students who share the same ambitions and dreams as you do. Having a good network is key to thriving business.

Use social media to boost business

For many millennials, interacting on social media is second nature. It’s where we live and network with others. At a young age, I learned how powerful social media can be to boost business. My generation knows how to use it best, so I urge millennials to take advantage of this knowledge and create ads to post on Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, etc. Use these communication platforms as a product portfolio to show off your goods or services through creative video content. When used the right way, social media is a money-saving tool to building a successful and internationally known brand.

Age ain’t nothing but a number

It can be tough to convince people that you are serious about your brand when you are young. Age has been something I have had to overcome. There were plenty of deals that never went through simply because individuals in my industry didn’t think I was fit to handle the job. Although I had the experience, expertise, and inventory to handle it all, I was still turned down because of my age. I knew the only way I was going to be taken seriously is if I knew the ins and outs of my industry. I did my research and brought my A game to every professional meeting I encountered. It was only a matter of time before skepticism soon turned to admiration of such a young individual with passion and determination to succeed.

Get the ideas out of your head and onto paper

Are you a person who likes to keep all your ideas in your head? I was one of those people, but I soon learned that I would forget ideas and business to-dos because I didn’t write things down. I would see my mom, Dr. Stacia Pierce, write things down all the time in her journal and she would see amazing results in her life and business. One day, we were talking about our businesses and how things were going, and she gave me the best piece of advice that I have kept with me until this day. She said, “What’s written is real.” This is such a powerful statement because there were goals and dreams that I wanted to meet in my business, but they just weren’t working out until I began to write things down. I wrote out my goals and made a business plan on how to make it happen. Once I penned it, this goal became so easy for me to accomplish and soon my products began to get into stores.

At the age of 25, Ariana Pierce has 6 businesses in her line up and is a motivational speaker, fashion designer, and business coach. With her new book, Skip The Party Start A Business, she hopes to encourage millennial entrepreneurs to overcome obstacles and unapologetically shut down the naysayers.