Written by Emily Liu
The idea of youth entrepreneurship is appealing. You get to be your own boss, and you can walk on a path paved by your own interests. However, one look behind the curtain will introduce you to millions of different yet intertwined routes that can be difficult to navigate. Isabella Tang, the co-founder of MelodeeBee Music, shares three fundamental components that she believes are necessary before launching a non-profit organization.
The task of ideating a mission should not be rushed. It is essential to have a thoroughly thought-out mission as it determines what services your non-profit will and will not provide. While forming a concept may seem arduous, it should be the opposite. Tang explains that “ideas like these should come naturally to you, fitting with your interests and your true passions.” Instead of working on a project that you think others would most enjoy, do something that relates to you. A meaningful non-profit does not have to fit the interests of everybody.
Once you have identified a mission, the next step is to understand your audience. Just knowing who your target audience is is not enough; you must recognize and tailor your organization to your audience’s wants and needs. Furthermore, the services that you provide should be convenient and produce immediate benefits. Regardless of how useful the service may be, complexity and long wait time will only deter your target audience.
The last component of a successful launch is surrounding yourself with a team of equally passionate individuals. Tang believes that having a unified team is one of the leading contributors to her non-profit’s success. “There are so many different components that an organization must consider, and no single person can do everything,” Tang expresses. Tang also advocates for a shared president position. Reflecting from her own experience, Tang states that “being co-presidents have allowed both of us to learn, grow, and adapt far more than being a sole president would ever bring.” When asked if being a co-president resulted in prolonged decision-making, Tang argued that “decisions are meant to be discussed and to be thought through.”
Having the right mindset comes before any kind of brainstorming. Tang advises that youth entrepreneurs “use the process as a learning experience and not a chance to get validation.” Rather than creating a non-profit to promote yourself, initiate a non-profit to improve a community. Motivation stemming from validation will only yield minimal success and result in wasted time and effort. Quoting Guy Kawasaki, “great companies start because the founders want to change the world, not make a fast buck,” or in a student’s case, an attractive resume.