It is not every day that I get the chance to pick the brain of a young entrepreneur like Wilbur You. At 26, Wilbur has amassed some amazing experience in business and entrepreneurship. During our short interview, Wilbur and I spoke about his early successes and failures, how those shaped his later approach to forming a new business, and what the ultimate keys to his success have been. From this, we have gleaned five lessons that we (entrepreneurs and business owners) could all use right now.
Wilbur You: A Bright Start
Wilbur You, CEO of Youtech & Associates, made a huge gamble back in 2012 at the ripe young age of 21. He was studying computer science at Northern Illinois University when he decided to invest the $600 he had to his name into a new business.
This is not the first time Wilbur has tried his hand at launching a business either.
“I really got into the whole computer and tech world when I was about ten years old,” he told me.
It was around that time that he took his first leap into merging his interest in technology with his growing business mindset. There was a game he played a lot of and eventually created a server for; a server through which he began to sell virtual items. This venture netted him around five thousand dollars every week.
But not all of his business ventures have been as successful as this early form of success or his now multi-million-dollar integrated marketing development agency. And despite having experienced failure with his first business, Wilbur sees the silver lining in it:
“I learned everything not to do in business.”
It was those mistakes that gave him the first-hand experience to figure out what worked and what didn’t. It also provided Wilbur with an outlet to meet new people who would later help him as he worked to grow Youtech & Associates.
Four years later, and Wilbur’s company is thriving. They have a modern office space, over 300 happy clients, have grown 125% since 2015, and rank seventh in the nation for responsive web design.
5 Lessons for Success from Wilbur You
One of the most important things to understand about Wilbur is that he does not believe that his personal path to success is one that will work for everyone—which is an admirable insight. That being said, he has a remarkable amount of lessons he has learned along the way that I would like to share with you. They cover everything from how to win the marketing game to how to work with millennials.
Here are some of those insights:
#1: “You gotta be able to throw things at the wall and see what sticks.”
This was his answer to what makes for the most successful marketing strategy. And he’s right. At the end of the day, it is about paying attention to what’s happening in the industry and following those trends. Then find a path that works for your personal brand.
#2: “I think social media is the new marketing platform everyone should be using.”
There’s absolutely no doubt that social media marketing is incredibly powerful when used the right way. Wilbur does a great job in succinctly selling social on its top strengths: “It is a free way to communicate with your customers.” Free communication? Love that!
#3: “Everyone loves a hard-working person no matter what age they are.”
Wilbur really wanted to shy away from this idea that youth or being a millennial could somehow be seen as a negative. Sure, he addressed the fact that there are seemingly entitled or lazy millennials, but he believes that those “negatives” often associated with his generation can, in fact, be turned around into something positive. He elaborated:
“There are some very hard working and talented millennials. They might be harder to find, but they are there. If you find them, they are worth way more. They know how to get you to the next level. They know what’s hot and what technology works.”
#4: “I do think that millennials should learn to be respectful as well as the old-fashioned traditional ways of talking to people.”
This lesson should pertain to everyone. Why? Because being respectful is going to help everyone prosper in the long run. It also gives you the chance to put aside your differences and see the world from your client’s point of view.
#5: “There’s no better time than now.”
Young entrepreneurs and those not so young… Wilbur suggests not to wait for the “right” time to get started or to work on getting better at what you do. There’s no time better than the present.