30 Is Not the New 20: How Author Meg Jay Sold Me on Entrepreneurship Today The urge to start up can come on suddenly and powerfully. Here's how College Trep columnist Mark Burns got the entrepreneurial bug.

By Mark Burns

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Even for those who back into entrepreneurship, starting up remains a deliberate act that requires thoughtful planning.

According to Clinical Psychologist Meg Jay in her recent TED Talk, "Why 30 Is Not the New 20," 80 percent of life's most defining moments happen by age 35. Little did I know that, on a recent two-hour plane ride, I would experience one of these moments.

Beginning in late 2012, I caught the entrepreneurial bug. Hearing a mentor speak about his own business and clients gave me an intense desire to innovate. I started discovering more twentysomething entrepreneurs online who were moving their career needle at a rapid pace. I wanted to attain that same influence in the sports business community. But I never quite got my idea off the ground.

Fast forward to June 2nd of this year, the day Dr. Jay's book, The Defining Decade: Why Your 20s Matter & How To Make The Most Of Them Now, landing on my lap as I traveled from Detroit to the Big Apple for an eight-week internship. After 70 pages, Dr. Jay had me convinced: This is the perfect time to start up.

Related: What My Corporate Internship Taught Me About Entrepreneurship

Below are three key lessons that I learned from Dr. Jay about how to take the plunge into uncertainty and become an entrepreneur. Maybe she will make a believer out of you, too.

1. Grab some identity capital.
First a definition: "Identity capital is how we build ourselves -- bit by bit, over time," explains Dr. Jay. Some capital gets placed on a resume, like your undergraduate degree or unpaid internships, while other capital is more personal, such as where we're from or how we interact with our colleagues. Those twentysomethings who embark on exploration eventually develop a stronger sense of self, along with a more nuanced picture of their identities. That in turn, can lead to a more developed sense of purpose and confidence boost.

As I sat there bound for New York City, I quickly realized I needed to grab some identity capital. I wanted more than ever to solidify my identity as a sports career consultant instead of just having a lingering thought that it could happen.

I eventually decided to troll twitter for aspiring sports-business professionals who wanted "free" coaching. The response was overwhelming, as clients started referring friends. To date, I have assisted roughly 15 individuals around topics such as online/personal branding, resume and cover-letter review, and how to leverage social media to advance your career. I did not realize it at the time, but I was investing in myself for my future and who I might want to be next. I now had a clearer sense of myself.

Related: How to Find a Personal Trainer for Your Business

2. Engage with weak ties.
Your close circle of friends. Your family. Your significant other. They are your urban tribe and offer you support in times of need. Their similarities are usually their detriment, though. They are unable to offer perspective because they know much of the same information that you do. Where do you then turn? Our weak ties -- those one-time acquaintances, LinkedIn connections, and former employers -- feel very different from our urban tribes. Yet, it is through weak ties that information and opportunity spread, according to Dr. Jay.

None of my family members or close friends are entrepreneurs. Naturally, they wouldn't be too helpful in my quest to start up. That led me to LinkedIn, the best resource for expanding one's network and engaging with your weak ties, in my opinion.

Over the past six weeks, I have been reaching out to sports-business clubs/societies along with sports-management professors. By consistently communicating with individuals, I have developed relationships – effectively strengthening my weak ties in areas where I needed help.

3. Conquer present bias.
During our 20s, the human brain experiences its second growth spurt. In a sense, we rewire ourselves for the remaining years of life. As a result, it can be harder for some people to plan for the future and accept the consequences for present actions. Others continue to stay distracted and avoid making any decisions whatsoever.

Thanks to Dr. Jay's narrative, she ingrained in me a sense of urgency, not to rush life along, but rather, to be intentional with my everyday present actions. The little success I had garnered in the past two years and the positive feedback I received from my "free" clients was enough to convince me to enter the world of entrepreneurship for real.

Related: From Zero to 'Shark Tank' Hero in 3 Months Flat

Beginning each month, I outline my plan of action for the next 30 days. Even looking further out, I know how I want the next 60, 90, even 120 days to go. By having a timeline of defined events and benchmarks, I am better able to construct how my future will unfold.

**Apply Now** Are you an enthusiastic college- or graduate-student entrepreneur, eager to share your on-campus experiences? Apply to be a College Treps columnist.

Mark Burns

Sports Marketing Professional

Mark Burns is an operations coordinator in talent/athlete marketing at CSE, an Atlanta-based sports and entertainment agency. Burns was recently named a 2014 "30 Under 30" award recipient by Sports Launch Magazine and a 'Rising Star in #SportsBiz" by SportsNetworker.com.

Editor's Pick

Related Topics

Business News

Taylor Swift Reportedly Pays All Restaurant-Goers' Checks to Clear Out Restaurant For Her and NFL Star Travis Kelce

The star was spotted at Arrowhead Stadium for the Kansas City Chiefs game Sunday night alongside Kelce's mother.

Business Plans

10 Simple Tips to Write a Successful Business Plan

In the new book "Write Your Own Business Plan," business expert Eric Butow takes the anxiety and confusion out of planning and offers an easy-to-follow roadmap to success.

Social Media

We Are Disillusioned and in an Influencer Overdrive — Here's How to Find Authentic Guidance via Social Media Influencers

Instagram, Twitter and Facebook seem more unrealistic than ever. Remember when it was fun!? In the age of authenticity, we're not buying the dupliciousity of influencers.


Is Franchising a Fit for You? Crucial Questions to Ask Before You Buy

Before taking the leap make sure you've thoroughly researched every nuance of this business model.

Starting a Business

Ask Co-Founder of Netflix Marc Randolph Anything: How to Watch

How to watch the new live streaming episode of 'Ask Marc.'