Lessons on Millennials and Entrepreneurship from Forbes’ 30 Under 30 Honorees



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“Our under 30 franchise celebrates the best and greatest minds and individuals who are changing the way business is being done today, and flipping their industries on their head,” said Ann Marinovich, Senior Vice President, Advertising Products and Strategy at Forbes Media.

At Social Media Week Chicago, we heard from a panel featuring three Forbes 30 Under 30 honorees. They discussed their path to becoming an entrepreneurs, what creativity means to them, how they continue to innovate. The speakers included Aaron Firestein Co-Founder and Chief Artist at BucketFeet, Anna Stork Co-Founder at LuminAID, and Emerson Spartz CEO and Founder at Dose.

Below are some takeaways from the session. To watch the entire talk, plus access more than 100 hours of other SMW events, presentations, and interviews, sign up for SMW Insider.

What does it take to become an entrepreneur?

Spartz noted how he simply came up with the idea for his company, without the intention of becoming an entrepreneur. According to Firestein, “I truly believed in the idea…The goal was never to make a lot of money or be super successful, it was ‘hey, let’s try this thing to see if it works’. I think if you do that in reverse, you’re likely to fail.”

Stork mentioned how she took advantage of the ways in which entrepreneurs can achieve free funding in today’s marketplace, like going on Shark Tank.

Firestein also stressed the importance of having mentors to guide you along the way. “It’s fairly easily these days to get in front of those people and get an audience with them…Even if someone is not in your industry, there are many people you can count on as your mentors.” In order to find the right mentors, he believes in finding people who think differently than you, will challenge you, and who will tell you when you’re wrong. Spartz’s tactic for finding mentors is always trying to get lunch with people, instead of eating alone.

Shifting from creativity to running a business

For Firestein, his business allows him to surround himself with artists and creators, which continues to boost his creativity. Stork told us about her experience on Shark Tank with LuminAid, and what she has learned from Mark Cuban, who now invests in her company. He and his team of investors continue to provide Stork with help and advice along her company’s journey.

“There’s an app for everything now,” said Spartz. “If you’re an entrepreneur, you often don’t realize how many resources are available to you.”

Session Takeaways:

  • Figure out what you’re really good at, and what you’re not good at. Find a team that helps with those weaknesses.
  • Using social to grow your business, and why social may become more relevant than websites.
  • How to push beyond failure and achieve success for your business.

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