Running hurtles in the age race

Have you ever noticed the amount of doubt that comes along with being young. Most assumption and relation has some degree of validation here; young people are pretty stupid, myself included. Well to put that better, we make mistakes, but so do other people-no matter how old.

I’m writing this to highlight on the unparalleled bias that I have had to cope with since I ran my first company at 19 years old. It wasn’t much, just a small local painting franchise, but it was mine. My 18 employees, my trucks, ladders, supplies, and most of all clients were all mine because of me. Yet the old heads did not flinch for a second insofar as their need to throw me a bunch of shit about “not knowing what I was doing.” 

The point I’m getting at is even today, being where I am – working for a major company, running a few others, and owning a few more, I still lose business after the face-to-face. I’ll receive a referral or a request for contact and have a nice, informative phone conversation with a prospect. If they’re not too far away, I like to meet them and develop more than just rapport; a professional relationship. Customers are essential to any business and I would like mine to keep coming back. It doesn’t matter how big any of my companies get, I”l never be too busy to engage personally with a customer.  It reasons like this one that it eats to my core that companies out there will want to work with you until they find out how young you are.

I ran into this same problem coming out of college – I was way over qualified for my age so I applied for positions that met my credentials. I would show up, early, suit and tie, REAL resume in hand…sometimes I think the secretary’s would shoot them a quick email or phone call because no matter how excited these managers/principles/owner’s were on the phone, as if by magic (in some cases) when I would arrive the position would be filled or no longer required.

It wasn’t my lack of experience, they required 3-5 years “professional” experience, and I had 3-5 years “professional” experience. The distinction was never made that full-time jobs for Fortune 500 companies while worked in college didn’t count?
Continue reading