Larry Page and Sergey Brin started Google when they were 25, Apple’s founders’ Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak were 21 and 26 respectively; Bill Gates was 20 and his co-founder was 26-year old Paul Allen. Marc Zuckerberg was in college when he created Facebook. The list of 20 something entrepreneurs hitting home runs with their startups is huge.
While experience is valuable, your 20s could potentially be the best time for you to startup!
You can take more risks in your 20s:
Building a startup demands a lot of sacrifices. You will watch your classmates and friends earn degrees, buy cars and travel around the world while you sweat it out in your 1BHK office. You have to endure the emotional roller coaster that is the life of a startup founder. Founder depression is very real. For every step you take forward, you may seem to be taking two steps back. Add to all of this, you may barely be making any money at all.
Going through all of this takes a lot out of you mentally and physically. While having a family to go home is comforting at times, you may end up not having time to do anything outside work. Having lesser responsibilities outside work helps keep costs low and focus on getting the work done without having to worry too much outside my startup.
You’ve probably played around with ideas in college:
Startups and entrepreneurship are buzzwords in college campuses. Entrepreneurship clubs, conferences and hackathons were pretty much everything I cared about in college. I barely attended classes, but was very active in the entrepreneurship scene. I tried to build my first company when I was 19, my co-founder ran a fairly successful web-development agency straight out of college. All of my conversations with my friends were centered on ideas and opportunities. We thought about everything from solar powered air conditioners and grocery delivery to ad-free social networks.
Working at a large company can sometimes suck the creativity out of you. A lot of my friends who have worked at large corporations for a few years now have got accustomed to the comforts that a steady job provides. While they talk about the boredom of a 9-5 role and their desire to startup, this is where the conversations usually stop.
It is incredibly hard for most people to even imagine trying to get by without their monthly paychecks.
You can afford to work 12+ hours a day:
My first job was at a startup trying to disrupt the job board space. The founder was about 40 years old. Juggling between the startup and his family and children was proving to be incredibly demanding on his health.
I could regularly put in 12 hour shifts and stay on weekends whenever necessary. My body and mind were able to take the strain of sitting in front of a monitor for days, sometimes without sleep. This situation is quite common at an early stage startup.
Building a product is an extremely time consuming activity. The ability to consistently put in 12 hour workdays diminishes quite a bit as you become over 30 years old.
You’ll learn a lot more, much faster:
In the first 5 years of your career, nothing is more important than how much you learn. If you work hard on your startup, you will learn a lot more than you would at any regular job. Only a job at another early stage company can come close to competing. Like Paul Graham says in this essay , you’ll learn a lot and the job at Google/Microsoft will still be waiting for you. My co-founders have no problems finding high paying developer jobs and I have been offered multiple roles at several other startups. In the past two years I’ve learnt more about SaaS product management and online marketing than I would have at any other job. Starting up early can have a tremendous impact on your future career growth, even if you don’t succeed. Most startups fail, but the founders end up doing great.
While there is no “best” age to start a company, this paragraph from Paul Grahams essay on why not to startup sums up my thoughts perfectly:
“This one is real. I wouldn’t advise anyone with a family to start a startup. I’m not saying it’s a bad idea, just that I don’t want to take responsibility for advising it. I’m willing to take responsibility for telling 22 year olds to start startups. So what if they fail? They’ll learn a lot, and that job at Microsoft will still be waiting for them if they need it. But I’m not prepared to cross moms.”