I’m 23

Today is my birthday. For the last five years, I’ve written a birthday post where I share what I’ve been up to in the last circle around the Sun. I’m continuing the tradition, to share what I’ve learned and what my hopes are for the future.

While I believe it’s the growth you make as a person, not a checklist of accomplishments, that defines your life, here’s a few milestones I crossed in the last year:

  • I graduated from university
  • Started running ScottHYoung.com full time
  • Doubled my business from 2010
  • Moved to Vancouver

The year before, when I lived in France, changed me a lot. Although this year didn’t have the same level of travel or excitement, it was a great year learning new things with many new friends.

Graduating from University

I graduated from the University of Manitoba, with a Bachelor of Commerce in April. My major was entrepreneurship, for which I received the top mark in my school.

University was an amazing experience. I made friends, lived abroad, competed internationally and learned a lot—most of which was never inside a classroom. I’m happy to be done, but I’ll miss the connections and atmosphere.

For those wondering whether I’ll do a masters, the answer is probably no. After five years of b-school, I grew tired of business academia. The qualitative fields rely too much on “expert” wisdom, which reeks of superstition. The quantitative fields are more interesting, but rarely practical for a small-business entrepreneur.

Despite my major, business school prepares you for working in a large corporation—not to be an entrepreneur. Had someone told me this, going into school, I would have done a technical degree with a business minor.

That said, I don’t feel the choice of major (at least in my case) was terribly important. I learned so much from being in university, that the trivia I picked up in my classes seems almost beside the point.

Becoming a Full-Time Entrepreneur

Technically, this business started supporting me full-time in early 2010. However, as I was still a full-time student, April marked the first time my business became my full-time occupation.

One surprise was just how little work it took me to run my business full-time. After 5 years of juggling writing, product launches and marketing with full-time classes, having to only run my business seemed incredibly relaxing.

I could use this extra time to reinvest aggressively in my business, but I don’t plan to do that. I’m earning enough income to support myself, so I’d rather put my effort into other areas of my growth.

I’ve always had the belief that it’s easier to be (relatively) poor, when you’re young. As you age, your peers have more established careers, and judge you more by profession or income. While I’m definitely not poor, I see no rush to become rich just yet. I’d rather spend my twenties aggressively learning and taking on cool projects which are more risky than lucrative.

My biggest fear as a writer is that my biggest accomplishment will be creating my career as a full-time writer. Even now, when I get interviewed over half of the time it’s about how to become a full-time blogger, a topic I don’t write about. I desperately want to avoid being an “expert” whose only expertise is setting up the business for which they dole out advice.

Moving to Vancouver

Vancouver is the fourth city I’ve lived in, so moving shouldn’t be terribly remarkable. The major difference this time is that I’m no longer in school or at a job, which in the past had always generated my social circle.

Living in a new city while working from home makes the process of meeting people more interesting. I found making friends in university very easy, so switching to a completely new context has made me a beginner again.

I would consider myself an outgoing person, if not by birth then at least by practice. But the boilerplate advice to “get outside” or “meet people” is just a first step.

What’s the best way to make new friends, in this context? Date women? I don’t know yet, but it’s nice knowing I haven’t figured everything out yet and my life is still an adventure.

As an aside, if you’re in Vancouver, I’m generally happy to meet up with readers. I’ve met with a couple since I moved to Vancouver and had a great time.

Plans for the Future

In the immediate future, I’m going to be reopening Learning on Steroids in September, following a one-week free bootcamp on learning faster. I had a lot of fun putting together the last bootcamp in February (you need to get the email newsletter to join the bootcamp, but don’t worry, that’s also free).

In October I’m going to be embarking on what is probably the most challenging project I’ve ever taken on. I normally don’t wait for projects like this, but I wanted to do one more push for my business in September, which may be my last for as much as a year from now.

One of the goals of my life is to always have each year bring a new adventure. It’s easy to get comfortable and let time breeze past you. It takes deliberate effort to reinvent something about your life each year, so that you’re always looking at the world through fresh eyes.

If you’ve read this far, I want to thank you. I’m incredibly grateful that I’ve not only managed to find people who are willing to read my rants about life, but enough that I’m able to do this full-time. Whatever successes and failures the next year brings, I want to thank you for letting me share what I learn with you.


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