19 Things You Can Learn From a 30-Year-Old Multimillionaire

Lessons Learned From Ryan Allis of iContact

Imagine being just 30 and already a startup veteran with a $170 million dollar sale under your belt!

That's Ryan Allis' story—he founded the email marketing and social media startup iContact in his 20s, and sold it for a princely sum just shy of his 30th birthday. Now believed to worth 40 million dollars, the millennial entrepreneur just released a 1,248 slide PowerPoint deck of his learning from life and business. 

That's a lot of slides to go through—but we did it, just to give you the gems. 

Know Whether You're Entrepreneur Material

Ryan Allis of iContact
Ryan Allis of iContact. Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 3.0

Entrepreneurs have to me made of tough stuff—stubborn, visionary, and a little bit crazy—so it makes sense to gauge whether you are entrepreneur material before you get started.  

Related reading: Are You Entrepreneur Material? 

Think Problems, Not Job Roles

Slide Courtesy Ryan Allis

Allis is right on the money when he indicates that problems are what entrepreneurs need to apply themselves to. 

A "pain point" is the market need that your product or service addresses. When you talk about your business, thing about what problem it solves. 

Related reading: How to Create a Killer Elevator Pitch

Find Opportunities in Problems

Big Problems are Big Opportunities
Slide Courtesy Ryan Allis

Entrepreneurs face many challenges—some externals and some internal. Overcoming setbacks is all about understanding what you're up against and crafting a plan to get through it. Furthermore, an ability to deal with setbacks is what really makes you an entrepreneur. 

Related reading: Dealing with Entrepreneurial Setbacks

Be Driven by Passion

Slide Courtesy Ryan Allis

If you want to start a business, you'd better be driven by passion—otherwise, you're in for a long, long slog without a lot of visible rewards. 

Related reading: A Crash Course in Entrepreneurship

Make Sure You Choose the Right Problem

Solve Problems
Slide Courtesy Ryan Allis

Many entrepreneurs find that the road to business success is much longer than they anticipated. So make sure, before you set out, that you have hold of an idea that will really help you go the distance. 

Align Problem With Purpose

Slide Courtesy Ryan Allis

 Allis makes a great point when he tells us to align problem with a deeper sense of purpose—​it's just a way to make sure that your commitment to succeed will be all the stronger. 

Best Business Opportunities for Millennials

Best job opps for millenials
Slide Courtesy Ryan Allis

 These are the growth areas for entrepreneurs. 

Related reading: Marketing to Millennials 

Align the Personal and Professional to Lead

Slide Courtesy Ryan Allis

 The authentic leader needs to align his personal goals and professional ones to really inspire. 

Plan Ahead

Slide Courtesy Ryan Allis

 Planning pays off—so why not start that business plan today? 

Related reading: Your Business Plan Game Plan

Know What Great Products Do

Slide Courtesy Ryan Allis

 Great products should connect with some fundamental human need. 

Master Design Thinking

Design Thinking
Slide Courtesy Ryan Allis

"Design thinking" is a protocol that many startups use to make important decisions and successfully navigate change. 

Related reading: How to Design a More Successful Startup

Avoid Outside Capital at First

Slide Courtesy Ryan Allis

If you wait as long as possible before raising outside capital, you will ultimately control more of your business. 

Related reading: How One Crossfit Affiliate Owner Built a Thriving Business Without Outside Capital

Know How to Bootstrap

Slide Courtesy Ryan Allis

It's also a good idea to build your business by hand, at least at the beginning. 

Related reading: What Bootstrapped Startups Do Differently


Slide Courtesy Ryan Allis

Allis favors the "Lean Startup" idea of "minimum viable product." 

Related reading: Innovation by Iteration: Lean Startup 101

Good Marketing = Good Storytelling

Good marketing
Slide Courtesy Ryan Allis

When it comes to marketing, keep it simple and stay on message. 

Related reading: 6 Ways to Market Your Business on a Shoestring Budget

Know Why Startups Fail

Why Startups Fail
Slide Courtesy Ryan Allis

Let's face it—failure is a part of building your business. 

Related reading: Grab Victory From the Jaws of Defeat

Develop Good Systems

Slide Courtesy Ryan Allis

Systems will save your hide if you know how to implement them. 

Want to Get More Done? Create Your Own Productivity System

Build a Strong Culture

Build a culture
Slide Courtesy Ryan Allis

Surround yourself with great people and your business will grow.

Related reading: Customer Service Lessons From Zappos

Don't Be Afraid to Fail

Don't Be Afraid to Fail

Starting a business takes real risks—so don't be afraid to take them. 

Related reading: 3 Things That Only People Who Have Failed Understand