Marketing agencies · Startup

How to succeed as a teenaged entrepreneur/start-up CEO?

Ian Golliher Founder/CEO of Dad Cap Co., business student, and entrepreneur

April 19th, 2017

I'm an incoming freshmen in college with no degree (obviously) and I just founded a marketing consulting start-up. How do I compete with other firms with no college degrees or big clients to flaunt?

ronak yadav CEO at

April 20th, 2017

first of all dont loose your confidence no degree is bigger than your mind

be the best version of yours and you should maintain your quality and to compete with big firms you should gave better services to your customers and take regular feedback of your customers this will help to you in incresaing your facilities .and for increasing customers you shoud give offers to your old customers .

Brandon Finlen Believe in better possibilities. Act to make real.

April 20th, 2017

Are you familiar with Gary Vaynerchuk? He offers some great advice and gets this question on a daily basis. He says it far better than I could so here is a link to a video where he answers that - feel free to dive into this and look for more. His video on how to start -

Here is the TLDR version.

Work. And by work I mean out hustle the other guy. You truly want it then your willing to sacrifice time from netflix, gaming or drinking to make it happen.

He also recommends getting your brand out there. Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat. Engage with your community, highlight your thought expertise.

Be willing to do some of the work for free to get traction and experience. I can't imagine you have that much experience just yet. Talent - maybe, but experience will take a little bit of time. The guy who travels the world with this CEO as his director/producer of a well watched video series got the job by doing his first video for free.

Be patient. You have your whole life ahead of you. Build a solid foundation. The best advice I ever heard from him was Micro speed, Macro patience. A great video where he explains it -

Hope that helps - best of luck!


April 20th, 2017


First, I admire your initiative. Totally Awesome.

Second, as others have mentioned, lack of degree is not an obstacle for this project. HOWEVER... it might become important sometime down the road. So while I wouldn't make the degree into an obstacle, particularly for this project, I wouldn't ignore it either - unless perhaps if you sell your company to Amazon next year! :=)

As to how to compete with other firms... This is actually pretty easy to answer:

1. Stick with what you know. You are a college freshman. You know your age group, you know what the college students need and want. You just went through a major transition from high school, so you know what the guys right behind you might want next year. (Translation: what they might want to buy at Target before leaving for college!)

You are uniquely positioned to relate to these groups, and talk with others college students as peers. There is a lot of value in just the presence you have. Focus on what you can deliver - such as opinion surveys, how college kids make buying or social decisions, etc. There are plenty of brands out there that would absolutely value (and pay for) this type of market intelligence.

2. Don't forget to learn. I am not talking about degree stuff here. I am talking about asking grand and outrageous questions. Believe it or not, college is the only opportunity for many people to seriously ponder questions like "how to feed 20 billion people on the planet," "how to eliminate poverty," "how to break the speed of light," or "how to reshape the economy to be prepared for the arrival of robots and AI."

3. Pay it forward. Help your colleagues and your community without expecting anything in return in the short term. Many of the relationships you develop in college will last a lifetime.

4. Find something except work and study that you can get passionate about. This will give you an outlet for stressful times. For me it was photography. To this day, I can recenter after walking around a few hours with my camera. For my college roommate, it was playing guitar. Anything would do as long as you are passionate about it. Or at least, really really really like it!

5. Don't forget to have fun - but define what that means for yourself.

Again, I do admire you for taking this step Ian. You are awesome.

Good luck,


Todd Oliver Proven Sales Leader, Process Implementator

April 20th, 2017

If that's your goal, I would find a product/thing you ***really*** connect with and work with them on a result-based compensation plan, or even internship. You'll have ideas and energy, but have never had the opportunity to try them. Find willing people to walk down your path of experimentation. You'll learn a lot, gain practical experience, connections, and build a resume as you balance your course load.

Raditya Budianto Founder, Technical

Last updated on April 21st, 2017

don't compete with them bro, you gonna lose. Should I compete to make search engine with google? Competition is only for loser, you are make living here. Avoid competition find market without any occupant where you can monopoly. hahahaha

Not about winning or losing thats Ape (animal) way of thinking. Google can beat Yahoo because they do their job better, not because they know how to compete. Find the niche where you can do your job better than others. We all have completely different live experience, so that is a very possible task to do. Maybe you dont ended up becomes marketer, you should keep that possibility open.

Dane Madsen Organizational and Operational Strategy Consultant

April 20th, 2017

You are smarter than us because we are older and do not relate. Make that your cornerstone (in a softer fashion because we will bristle at what we know - we are older and do not relate). You need insight and panache to convince them you have the missing ingredient. They will not look twice at your lack of a degree if you can sell well (see Gates, William; Jobs, Steven) . We all want to gt to your demographic ("We" being B2C in most part, B2B in the space some of us are focused because you will fill the jobs we relinquish) .

Do not confuse education with applicability.

Sumeet Jadhav Founder @ Code Factree

Last updated on April 20th, 2017

Hello Ian,

My name is Sumeet and I am a founder of "Code Factree" (software firm), Only thing I wanna suggest you from my experience is "Work hard, improve your quality of work. No one ever gonna ask you whats your education & how much did you scored. Only thing that matter is quality of work you are providing.

And also if you can help me in my business do let me know, we can find something to work with

you can contact me any time at ""

Ian Golliher Founder/CEO of Dad Cap Co., business student, and entrepreneur

April 20th, 2017

Thanks everyone for all the terrific answers. I was genuinely surprised to see all of this wonderful feedback. I'd love to continue to speak with anyone who has any interest in talking.

Thanks again,