My earliest tryst with entrepreneurship involved bicycles. Except for my first, I upgraded to new ones mostly by selling the old one to other kids taking only the little incremental amount needed from my parents. I loved doing this and hustled the trade, negotiated and closed it all on my own. I started doing this in grade 4 and the last cycle trade I made was in grade 11.
Coming to think of it, my earliest stint at business was not with cycles. I started this in-'house' (literally) magazine service where I reported the 'local' news and sold a hand-written magazine to all co-habitants for Re 1 a pop. It was ridiculous, but I took it very seriously and thankfully my folks bought it from me during the days I created them. Obviously, this did not last too long especially with my controversial reports on my siblings playing during study time not finding favouring and my parents could not go through this torture of sorting out our differences anymore. But I enjoyed it.
Maybe if you are young college student, or a kid, there are easier ways to start a business now without having to resort to the stuff I did. Trust me, there's never been a better time to be an entrepreneur. Here are some easier ways to get you started.
Weebly lets you create great-looking, fully-functional websites using a drag-and-drop interface (no coding required, whatsoever). I made this site completely free of cost on weebly and I love them.
And speaking of coding, in case you wanted to learn it, Codeacademy lets you do just that, in a simple, as easy as 1-2-3 manner. In fact, I am doing a course on codeacademy as we speak and its awesome. Edit: Check out Learnstreet and Treehouse as well.
An online store? Start one with Shopify. I have helped some not-so-IT-savvy folks set up a store online recently using this service.
For those not going the internet route and starting a brick-and-mortar store/company, use Square to convert your phone/tablet into a credit-card reader. Start selling. You're good to go. Edit: The Indian equivalent that's come out recently is Ezetap.
If you are doing a good job online (or offline), advertising is free, and it seems to work too.
Want to expand, grow your network, partner, find co-founders, make connections, you already know this works very well too.
And if you are really serious about the whole thing, Docracy opens up access to standard, legal documents required to start a company, manage and run it, contributed and vetted by the community.
Isn’t it just awesome to be an entrepreneur now?
See this video of Steve Blank speaking about 'The Democratization of Entrepreneurship'