RED Hearts: How to Launch Your Idea

lightbulb-ideaRED Hearts are guest posts on I Heart Daily from the authors of RED: Teenage girls in America write on what fires up their lives today. Today’s RED Hearts post is from RED author Cindy Morand, 23, in NYC who shares advice for turning your amazing idea into a reality:

Have you ever thought about being your own boss? Launching a product? Creating a company? Sure you have, especially in this job market (or working for that boss). So what’s stopping you? It’s easy to feel that you’re too young to start a business or that it may take a lot of resources to turn your idea into a reality.

Perhaps Sophia Amoruso -- who in August secured $40 million in funding for her fashion ecommerce company Nasty Gal -- had the same thought seven years ago, when she was 21 years old, selling vintage clothing pieces on eBay. Or Tumblr CEO David Karp, who was 21 when he launched the site that now hosts more than 85 million blogs. Or Spanx inventor Sara Blakely, the world’s youngest self-made female billionaire, whose original big business move was to cut the feet off a pair of pantyhose. (See her top five lessons for aspiring entrepreneurs here.) And according to the U.S. Department of Commerce, the number of women-owned businesses has been growing at twice the rate of men-owned businesses since 1997.

All this to say, if you truly feel that you have an innovative idea, product or service, you should definitely go for it. I’m not a CEO (yet), but I’ve asked around a lot, and if you’re young and inspired and staring down a startup, here’s some smart starter advice:

- Share your idea with friends and family, particularly if they’d be part of your intended market. (These are people you trust; let go of the idea that one of them is going to steal your idea. Despite what The Social Network told you, your own social network is your most valuable research base.) Interview them and see where their interests lie. Is there a need that’s not already being served by something out there? Gather their responses and analyze trends. This may help you develop a more solid product or service, by incorporating their needs and wants with your idea.

- Research business plans, competitions and sites like Young Female Entreprenuers and Young Entrepreneur. You’ll often find great, proven information in regards to developing a product, competitions exclusively for people your age, and launch models you might not have thought of.

- Attend local networking events, seek mentors. Meeting other young entrepreneurs and business leaders who have succeeded will inspire you and help you take the leap. If there’s a particular company founder whose approach you admire, there’s no harm in sending her or him a genuine fan letter and a request for advice or an informational interview.

Lastly, always continue looking for ways to improve your idea. You have plenty of time -- and if you get to a billion before you’re 41 you can even break Sara Blakely’s record on that list.

redheartsRED Hearts guest poster Cindy Morand is an author of RED: Teenage girls in America write on what fires up their lives today, which is out in paperback.