We spoke to Jack Parsons, entrepreneur and CEO of Big Youth Group, about his experiences as a young business owner, and his hopes for the future of young people in the business world.
Although the odds were stacked against him (having had a shaky childhood) he was determined to work hard and has gained awards such as the Young Digital Leader of the Year, and now works with big brands such as Google. His main focus is on helping to improve the lives of other young people.
Describe a day-in-the-life being an entrepreneur…
Every day is overwhelming. Lots of different plates to manage and spin, however it’s so cool because being able to work on my purpose in life (improving the odds for young people) makes me flip the duvet every morning.
I can not sit here and give you a schedule on what a day-in-the-life looks like being an entrepreneur because that changes every day and so it should. One thing that doesn’t change is the learnings you can take away from the work you’re doing daily. I always say you should embrace that and respect the journey you’re on.
Were there any big ‘pain points’ / low points when you were getting started in business?
I say “You don’t know what you don’t know”. There are so many challenges that you face but ones I like to highlight are:
1. Lack of knowledge and need support – get into the room and learn.
2. Making so many mistakes the hard way – it’s a famous saying but a true fail fast.
3. My first 6 months was the most challenging – you have to really find some good people who can support your growth and mentor you.
4. How do I get a mentor when I lacked a network – social media and events is a really good place to start.
Did you get any support along the way – or was there anything that you found useful when you needed help?
There have been two successes in my journey:
1. Working really hard – only you can create your own future, don’t expect to much and if you really want to get ahead then you have to work really hard. It’s that simple.
2. Surrounding myself with the good and bad people. The good people around helped me grow however so did the bad people.
I used to sit there and think why are people I have asked for support been so unfair and so disloyal… Then – boom – you realise that it’s business and when money is involved it turns people. Just be true to your values and don’t change them for a pound note.
What is the best thing about being your own boss?
I’m not my own boss. Well legally, yes but meaningfully no. What do I mean by this? Well, I am the leader of the Big Youth Group, however, I don’t make every decision, or decide what we do next or how we do it. Our community which is made up of my team, my ambassadors, our clients and our young people do, and that’s how we will stay ahead and grow quickly. It’s so important having many minds support the business and vision – like I mentioned earlier you don’t know what you don’t know.
My job as the leader is to make sure we bring that all together under one universal voice and within guidelines – I work for the community we have. We live in a world where it’s all about collaboration.
Has your life changed since starting your own business?
100%. I’ve met so many interesting people from different walks of life, I’ve grown up very quickly and have been able to move into the city and live 10 minutes from the Queen – she’s my next door neighbour now, haha!
You’ve won numerous awards for your great contributions to business and helping others getting started – congratulations! What are your aspirations for the future, personally and in business?
Thank you. I have a global ambition and movement to take my purpose to improve the odds for young people under the age of 30 across the world so I’m set on doing just that. Helping young people in their everyday lives mean the world for me and how we do that will change but my why will always be the same.
Are there any aspects of today’s business climate that you think could be improved on, especially for younger entrepreneurs?
Yes. Young entrepreneurs should support other young entrepreneurs more. I don’t see enough of this happening and there seems to be competition. You can learn a lot from someone who’s also on the same journey as you. It’s so very good to have a peer network around you.
What’s the one thing you wish you knew in the beginning?
That things take time and done is better than perfect and late.
And finally, what do you love to do in your spare time – how do you wind down and de-stress?
Listening to music and walking. This really helps me to focus and reflect on the week.
Thank you to Jack for taking time out of his busy schedule to chat with us! If you would like to find out more about what Jack is building with Big Youth Group, visit the website or their Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. You can also follow Jack on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
If Jack’s #StartUpStory has inspired you to delve into the world of business, take a look at our company formation packages here: https://www.companiesmadesimple.com/
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