The 18 Year Old Female Entrepreneur

I am writing to share my reflections on a recent meeting I had with a very inspirational young lady. Just turned 18 years, she has set up her own fashion brand, sourced a manufacturer in China, has generated a significant monthly revenue, bought her own car (new) and is in the process of setting up her next two businesses.

All of this she has achieved whilst at college and with no funding.

She taught herself to trade shares which generated seed capital for her business. Her demeanour was very understated and matter of fact, with no hint of arrogance or boasting.

What stood out most aside from her determination was her unfaltering self-belief, her openness to have a go and her commitment to succeed. Can this success be attributed to the inexperience of youth? Or, is this a mindset disposition?

Here are some valuable insights I believe we can all learn from the lovely Lilly.

Confidence is key

Confidence underpins success and performance at work.

However, confidence is complex and made up of different factors, the notable ones being: self-confidence, task-confidence and social confidence. Lilly exhibited an abundance of all three.

Self-confidence is more noticeable when it is absent. Typically, when we have low self-confidence we exhibit low self-worth and self-doubt creeps in. This can significantly interfere with our cognitive thought processes which inform our decision making. As a consequence, effort, motivation and performance can suffer.

In contrast, task confidence, describes how confident we feel to do our job. When we show higher levels of task confidence we have more belief that we can influence the outcomes and we tend to feel more resilient and resourceful in dealing with unexpected challenges.

engage high summaryLilly certainly displayed high levels of both. When faced with the dilemma of how to manufacture her own designs at a competitive price, she sourced this in China. Self-doubt and a lack of manufacturing contacts did not deter her.

And finally, social confidence describes how confident we feel in dealing with unfamiliar social situations. When our social confidence is higher we are more likely to leverage social situations to achieve the success we want.

An open mindset drives success

I would argue there are three fundamental aspects which determine openness.

  1. Having a willing to listen to feedback and to learn and act on this (by the way this includes listening to the good, the bad and the ugly and not being selective about feedback!);
  2. Staying open and flexible to change and trying new ways of working (this does not include paying lip service and staying resolute in the belief that we are right, or being hampered by old patterns of behaviour which don’t serve us);
  3. Managing our expectations so they are realistic, (when expectations are unrealistic, enthusiasm can turn to disillusionment).

Lilly is a prime example of having an open mindset. I have no doubt that this has been a key driver to unlocking her enormous potential.


Commitment is a powerful component of success. It links performance with satisfaction at work.

When we feel committed, we take more ownership and responsibility for driving outcomes. People who exhibit healthy levels of commitment are typically empowered, engaged and high performing individuals. When we have unhealthy levels of commitment, or a displaced sense of loyalty this can interfere with making effective career choices and can lead to stress and work overload.

Unsurprisingly, Lilly is committed and empowers herself to achieve success.

Well done Lilly

Lilly is testament to the fact that age is not a barrier to success. She demonstrates that we can all develop the right mindset, irrespective of the challenges we face. In fact, I would go a step further to argue that developing the right mindset is fundamental to success and is the key driver to unlocking potential and success at work.


Engage measures those aspects which are necessary to succeed. To find out more, view our Engage Webinars, or register your interest to use Engage for yourself.

Author: Dr Jodi O’Dell
(C) Engage Coach International 2016