You're over thirty-years old, you've got fifteen years over the boy next door in terms of life experience, yet he consistently has more sales than you.
You work eight hours a day; he works less and has more cash to show for it at the end of the month. You have an MBA - he doesn't even own a suit.
This is an actual reality I've witnessed more times in the last 12 months than in the whole of the last decade. That is - more and more youngsters hitting large sales figures with ordinary, everyday products and making it look like it was the easiest thing they ever did.
How is it even possible? And worse yet - How do you get over feeling irrelevant and incompetent stood next to the new generation?
Simple. You have to understand they have some things you and I never did. Namely, a sales funnel, a larger market and access to better information and ideas than you and me.
A Sales Funnel
The hardest thing to create in any new business is a sales funnel. I.e. a reliable and repeatable method for acquiring new prospects and converting them into customers. It's the most important thing the business needs (after value creation) and takes a long time to get right.
The thing with the youngster is; he already has a sales funnel ready and waiting with most problems solved, meaning the sales funnel works optimally. Think eBay, Amazon, Craigslist and Gumtree.
A Larger Market
The advent of the Internet spawned a new era of Globalisation we'd never witnessed before. Now, instead of making $100 in a week from the lemonade stand on the front lawn, the boy now makes $1000 a day selling his favourite comic theme toys to a global audience. Toys he sourced from China I hasten to add.
It's amazing how the Chinese never turn business away, even from a twelve-year old - so long as their "client" uses Paypal and Email.
I can't say I had the same experience when I was running my first business as a teenager. My dad had to sign all the supplier cheques and provide credit references for application forms. I can't even begin to tell you the grief it used to cause me.
Access to Better Information
There was a study completed quite some time ago, before the rise of modern social networks that concluded information and ideas flow faster in a school playground than elsewhere. Unfortunately I can't seem to locate said study to cite as a reference, but I'm sure you agree it makes sense. Especially in light of how social media has mimicked the same dynamics and has every business owner craving its attention.
As adults, our social network loses its potency when it comes to flow of ideas and communication. Note: When I say "social network" I mean in the empirical sense which includes - but is not limited to - telephone, social media and face-to-face interaction. Jobs, responsibilities and dare I say it, the harsh weather that is life get in the way. That's not the case for youngsters. They're always communicating, always talking, always sharing and always learning. Intuitively they leverage their social network far better than you and I.
This means they get better access to market information. They intuitively understand far better what the market demands and how to spot opportunities. It's no wonder some of the most successful Start-Ups in Silicon Valley are constantly seeking young and fresh talent while the behemoths of yesteryear turn them away at their own peril (due to "lack of experience").
Market research is far easier in active and receptive social networks. The key word being active.
Put it all together and you have the formation of an enviable business that (on the surface) seems the result of luck but underneath is the result of new business dynamics.
An unhealthy job market and increasing costs of education means we're likely to see this occurrence more and more over the next few years.
Maybe you should consider an under 25-year old for your next hire or as your next business partner.