On Being an Employer at 22
When I graduate college in (less than) two months, I won't have a job. I'll have a company. As of a few weeks ago, I officially reached the first milestone in my dream of owning a Pure Barre studio in Colorado. Not only am I ecstatic about the opportunity to control my own career, I am overjoyed that the company I now own is the one I have wanted to start for several years. I have always longed for a work environment that houses all of my passions: art, fitness, leadership, health, and business. Pure Barre does it all, and I cannot wait to have a positive impact on women's fitness and overall health.
For those who know me well, nothing about this venture came as a shock. In fact, everyone is probably sick of hearing me dream about it. But, for those who don't, I'll admit that I've received some interesting push back. Some people just can't wrap their heads around the idea that I would want to run a company at 22, let alone move across the country.
One of the most common questions I've received has been in regards to hiring. Specifically, "Aren't you nervous what they'll think when they find out you're so young?"
Upon receiving that question for the first time, I definitely felt a pang of fear. "Yikes, what if they hate me?" But, when I took a moment to think about it, I realized that, no, I have no reservations about being someone's boss at 22, and here's why.
Be confident in what you do. You don't succeed in business if you aren't qualified to run the show. Granted, it will be an adventure, and I have a lot to learn, but I wouldn't have gotten to where I am now without some serious credentials, a lot of hard work, and the drive to make it happen. I am confident in my ability to run this business because I have prepared for this and am ready to accept the unknowns. This is my baby, and I'm ready to raise her right.
Hire respectful people. Age is a number - attitude is what matters. Whether I am working for a 15 year old or a 50 year old, I believe they deserve the same respect because we entered into a work agreement where they call the shots on our team (yes, it should still be a team). If I interviewed a potential employee that reacted negatively to me because of my age, I wouldn't hire them, plain and simple. So, no reason to be nervous, all you have to do is say no! I believe this concept is true in both hiring and your non work-related relationships. Don't surround yourself with people who don't show equal respect to everyone.
Be willing to learn. One of the easiest ways to lose someone's respect is to be a know it all. So, I can't hire people and expect them to respect me if I'm not willing to learn from others. Young or old, if you aren't willing to give and receive constructive criticism and advice, you aren't ever going to be a great manager, project leader, or employee. I view being an employer at a young age as a huge advantage because it gives me the opportunity to hire people who are more talented than I am and learn from them, too.
No work environment should ever make you feel inferior, whether you are the boss or the employee. Authority is fleeting, but leadership is a lifestyle.