Many young people are drawn to the idea of being self-employed and working for themselves. But self-doubt sometimes holds people back from taking the plunge and going for it.

We often believe that if we have no experience in something, we won’t be successful in achieving anything. This mindset is particularly common in young people. When you are just starting out in jobs and careers, you are told that you need to gain experience first in order to succeed.

Whilst work experience is important, don’t let a lack of it put you off from pursuing your dream job. There will never be a ‘perfect’ moment to give entrepreneurship a go. Sometimes you have to feel the fear and do it anyway and trust yourself that you will learn along the way.

Here are some top tips for overcoming the ‘experience trap’, from Amy Win of 4Lunch, who started her own food business when she was 22 years old. She also supported Reclaim’s Moss Side Girls group to put on the first Moss Side International Food Festival in 2017.

Amy’s Top Tips: 

  1. Volunteer – The ‘experience trap’ is believing ‘I can’t apply for this job because I have no experience, but how am I meant to get experience if no one will give me a chance?’. Volunteering is a great way to get experience from organisations willing to give you a chance. Yes, it is unpaid, but that’s not the point. Volunteering will expose you to different people and help you develop a professional attitude, which will be useful for any career you choose.

  2. Seek Advice from someone who’s been there – If you are wanting to start a business as a young person, it can feel really intimidating as most business owners are much older and more experienced. But you have to remember that even these people had to start somewhere. Reach out to those you admire and see if they have time for a phone call or coffee. Find out what it was like for them in their early days and listen carefully to their advice.

  3. Be involved with extra-curricular activities – like Reclaim’s leadership programmes. Putting effort into activities not related to school and exams will allow you to explore other dimensions of your personality, make new friends and this helps you to grow in confidence overall. You can look back on these experiences and think, I did it, so what’s stopping me from doing something new in the future?

  4. Keep learning – there has never been a better time to set up a business, in terms of the learning opportunities out there. The internet has a wealth of information about how to start a business, although you need to keep focused and not drift to social media! 4Lunch has developed a new online course called Recipe for Success, so that new entrepreneurs can access support and advice for their own food enterprises. And there are many interesting articles out there to help aspiring business owners. 

  5. Be confident – I did not have any formal culinary training and I’d never been a teacher before. But I knew I wanted to start my own street food and cookery school business. I had to learn to ‘fake confidence’ and this self-belief has taken me quite far! To really achieve in life, you have to get used to putting yourself outside your comfort zone. That’s when you grow as a person. So if you don’t like public speaking, try your best to give it a go. Slowly but surely, you will get used to it, and you can move onto bigger audiences!

To find out more about Amy Win & 4Lunch, click here.