Jared O’Toole , Under30CEO.com

Team YS
2nd Mar 2010
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“Leading Gen Y to stop doing sh*t they hate. Under30CEO develops young people who have the hunger to think outside the cubicle” This is what the about us section of Under30ceo.com reads. Jared O’Toole and Matt Wilson usually talk to other young entrepreneurs about their journey and venture but this time around Jared spoke to YourStory about his own story, dreams and entrepreneurial journey.

Tell us about yourself, your interests.

I graduated Ithaca College in 2008 with a degree in finance. I am the co-founder of Under30CEO.com. I love working with young entrepreneurs and building businesses. I also love to play golf and soccer and can be frequently found out at the bars in NYC.

How do you see the startup culture evolving in your country?

The culture is evolving faster than ever because of the internet. It has never been easier to set-up a business or to start making a name for yourself online. Websites can be setup in 5min with Wordpress or you can start a business selling things on eBay, Amazon, or etsy. While many of these business ventures shut down it starts the learning experience for many people who in the past never would have had that chance.

That experience is crucial to starting up successful ventures down the road.

What motivates you to do what you are doing at the moment?

The idea of being able to do anything. I think that is really powerful. The whole notion that there are no limits. There is never a point where I feel like I can't do something or our company can't be better in some way. In that sense it is constant motivation to keep getting better and to prove to myself that I was right and I can reach those once lofty goals.

What is your view on failure and success?

The only way someone can fail is if they give-up. If they let everything around them beat them and say they can't do something. Every entrepreneur experiences setbacks and failures but the difference is they take that experience and learn from it. They never make the same mistake twice but it never makes them lose sight of their end goals and they get back up and keep pushing forward.

Success is simply being %100 happy with what you are doing in life. If you have built a business that lets you live your life however you want it then that is success. That could mean making $30,000/yr and living in a small apartment or making billions and living the high life. It's up to each person but as long as they are happy with how they are living then they have succeeded.

Has the economic slowdown had an impact on students and youth's attitude towards entrepreneurship?

Without a doubt. This was actually one of the opportunities Under30CEO looked to capitalize on. More students are looking for other opportunities or ideas and for many are being forced into coming up with ideas. This has led to an increased interest in starting businesses and taking more control of their own lives.

Many people have become wearier of big companies and the thought of them making layoffs or going bankrupt without warning. While others have simply been forced to find ways to make money so they can survive in the tight job markets.

Why did you choose to be an entrepreneur rather than stick to a regular 9-to-5 job?

I went on 1 interview for a finance job and hated it. I knew I had to try something else. I had a few friends who were trying to start companies and that idea of building businesses was very intriguing. I have never really been a person who could work a 9-5. Most jobs I had in the past didn't last long simply because I got bored of the same schedule and routine each day. I needed something with more adventure and flexibility and I knew others were doing it so I said why the hell can't I?

What has been the biggest challenge for you so far, and how did you overcome it?

Simply the grind. We went through a little over a year with Under30CEO without making money and without much buzz around the idea. That begins to wear on you after awhile when your friends are heading out and going on trips and you have to say no I can't come. You end up questioning everything from business models, to content to your choice to do this in the first place.

I overcame it because of my friends who were also starting companies and experiencing the same situations and also networking with other entrepreneurs. When you start asking you realize everyone even if they are worth a ton of money today went through a hard time where they weren't sure what tomorrow would bring. In the end you just have to grab some more coffee and believe that you will get there.

My best advice here is to network and meet people in the same situation because they can relate to you and you will pull each others businesses up.

What is the biggest mistake/wrong move you made as an amateur entrepreneur?

Changing our whole company in the pursuit of money. We changed our name and model at 1 point because we thought Under30CEO restricted us to much because of the age implication. In the end we were just chasing money and thought we could make some if we appealed to more people. In the end by staying niche we found that we not only connected immediately with young entrepreneurs but actually connected with older ones to!

At any point, did you feel like giving up and finding a regular job?

Hell no. I did feel like giving up at many points but never for a job haha. As I said earlier 9-5 jobs have never worked out that well for me. I knew that even if I gave up on the idea of Under30CEO it was simply a stepping stone to another business that I would try.

What drives you to stay buckled on the roller-coaster ride of entrepreneurship

That end goal. I have a lot of things I want to accomplish and I don't doubt I can do every one of them. I also know that running a business that I love like I do now will give me that lifestyle that I want. There is no other job in the world I would want or that could do that. So I can't and I don't want to get off that roller-coaster until I get there!

Do you have any tips to share with budding entrepreneurs?

Get out there and try something! Don't worry about the perfect model or prefect idea. It's about starting and learning. No book or person can tell you everything. You will learn from experience. Don't be afraid to fail you have to go for it.

Any plans of visiting India? The startup scene is hotting up here.

Well its not on the schedule but I would definitely be up for a trip! Its a place I have never been. That's the great part about being an entrepreneur. No need to worry about vacation days. I'll just pack up my computer and I can head out whenever!

Check out their portal at http://under30ceo.com/

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