It’s not easy to create and launch multiple six-figure businesses before your 30th birthday, but Kevin Stimpson isn’t trying to act like it is.
His company, Strive & Grind, is an international branding and creative boutique dedicated to helping entrepreneurs create memorable, disruptive, and badass brands that dominate. He and his wife and co-founder, Devona Stimpson, currently reside and work in San Diego.
As a successful CEO and entrepreneur who just turned 29 years old, he has a few tips and insights for his fellow millennial go-getters.
1. Leverage Your Recklessness
Almost everyone wants financial freedom and personal success, but most are not willing to take the risks in order to achieve their goals. Stimpson believes a millennial’s ability to be reckless and risk tolerant has the power to put them on top:
“For us as millennials, we don’t care about the risk and we don’t need security. We’re willing to go all in and do whatever it takes. The generation ahead of us doesn’t have that mentality, so it gives us the level up to actually go after our dreams and crush it.”
Stimpson and his wife threw financial security to the wayside when they decided to risk it all for their business, Strive & Grind. The couple moved from Boston and the East Coast, leaving behind friends and family, to Southern California in 2015. Three months later, they invested in a $36,000 business coaching package. Stimpson explains why it was a big risk: ”This was on top of our student loans, so we maxed out our credit cards and said, ‘forget it – we’re committed.’”
The big risks paid off, and the couple was able to hit six figures during their first year in business, allowing them to leave their day jobs. Stimpson says their success is proof that it’s your time to take advantage of your recklessness and jump into the risks that others aren’t willing to take.
2. Commit to Mastery
With so many opportunities available to young people, it can be tempting to take advantage of them all. Maybe you dabble in digital marketing and branding one day, and the next day you decide to delve into finances and the stock market. The problem here is you’ve spread yourself thin, so at best you’ll probably do an “okay” job. But you don’t want to be mediocre; you want to become a master.
In his experience, Stimpson has learned that focusing on one thing and striving to be the best at it is the surest way to build a strong, sticky brand. And the best news is you can even charge more for what you provide because specialty positions you as a credible expert.
Stimpson explains why, “What we realized is, for most companies out there that charge a lot of money for what they do, they’re specializing in one thing and they’re known for being the best at that one thing.”
So how do you commit to mastery? Stimpson says it has nothing to do with going to college and getting a formal degree (although there’s nothing wrong with that). He says it’s about acquiring all of the available knowledge that’s accessible, so you can use it to support your potential customers and clients.
“When we created our company, we committed to being the best of the best when it came to branding. We went and purchased 25-30 branding books and read every single one of them, so all of the knowledge we read became our knowledge. We applied it to real-life experiences with our clients and customers, and before you know it, we created our own knowledge base from our personal experiences working with other people.”
Once you’ve dedicated yourself to one focus, you’ll find it’s much easier to get clearer on goals, product offerings, and your customer experience.
3. Trust the Process
Stimpson says the one downfall we have as millennials is that we’re not patient. We want to excel in business and in life, and we want to do it all now. Usually, this impatience leads us to the idea of “fake it ‘til you make it.” And for Simpson, this is really frustrating:
“There’s a lot of marketing out there where people are faking it hard—by going on Turo to rent out fancy cars or going on Airbnb to rent mansions. They’re making it like that’s their lifestyle when it’s really not.”
This type of marketing can skew the mindset of fellow millennial entrepreneurs. Since they see other young business owners succeeding with little effort, they may doubt their own ability and take the same approach.
Stimpson believes entrepreneurs who are patient and trust the process are the ones making a lot of money. The problem is we don’t get to see the three to five years of pain, suffering, and tears that led them to their current success.
So how do you trust the process? Focus your efforts on one or two products or services, hone in on one clear message, and bust your ass every day. There are no shortcuts to real success, and it’s the one realization that will save you from unrealistic expectations.
It’s Up to You
If you’re a determined millennial entrepreneur who wants to become a leader and influencer in your industry, there is nothing stopping you—but you. Leverage your recklessness, commit to mastery, and trust the process, so one day you can share your own knowledge with the next generation.
Stimpson wraps up with this: “Be really good at what you do, be relentless about going after your dream and work with high-level people. You’re going to be able to climb the ranks because you can leverage the fearlessness, recklessness, and risk tolerance that most other people can’t tap into.”