Scott H Young

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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39 Responses to “I’m 23”

  1. Dawn King says:

    Happy birthday! And yes, you are right. It is easier to be poor when you are young, unmarried, and do not have children depending on you for their necessities. Enjoy your time!

    BTW, it is refreshing to see a person your age accomplishing so much instead of glued to video games and tv. :-D

    I look forward to your next Bootcamp! I’ll be finishing my Bachelor’s degree this fall (I started 21 years ago) in between being a wife and mom of 7, a full time employee, and a church leader. I definitely need to learn to learn faster and easier.

  2. Jon Guerrera says:

    It’s interesting to read your thoughts on this new stage in your life. I hope you continue to chronicle your experience, as I’ll also be moving to a new city and will balance to entrepreneurial projects on top of a full-time job.

    I also just graduated from college and share your sentiments on business school prepping you for corporate work, rather than entrepreneurial work. If I could do it all over again, I would’ve done a computer science major with a business minor, so that I’d be empowered to put my ideas into action with greater speed and flexibility.

    Keep ‘em coming.

  3. Jonathan says:

    Happy 23rd birthday, Mr. Young. Intriguing and actually moving article on your past year. I look forward to the next August 19th year in review which I’m sure will be filled with amazing milestones. Keep up the great blog – Jonathan

  4. goose says:

    jesus christ scott you’re only 23?! as a 24 year old (less than 6 months until old age) who came across your blog a week ago and proceeded to devour all content, I have to hand it to you, you are wise beyond your years! happy birthday!

  5. Happy birthday, Scott! Thank you for your insightful posts – I’ve learned a lot already and look forward to learning more.

  6. Florin says:

    Happy Bday, Scott :)

  7. Ian K says:

    Hey, Happy Birthday Scott!

    I would like to take this occassion to thank you for your on going material on acquiring knowledge, that allows me to focus on other aspects of my life. Thanks bro!

    In Vancouver you might enjoy the Francofolies which are in February (from memory) on the island under the bridge. I attended when I was living in Richmond and enjoyed the free shows and french girls.

    Cheers

  8. Wendy Irene says:

    Happy 23rd Birthday! Thank YOU for sharing with us!

  9. Martin says:

    First of all, happy birthday !

    Second of all (?) I was just wondering how come you spent five years in university and “only” got a bachelor? In my country you could’ve obtained a master by that time. I ask only out of sheer interest.

  10. Scott Young says:

    Martin,

    In Canada I did a Bachelor of Commerce Honors, which is slightly over 4 years of studying at a maximum course-load, without summer classes. I also went on exchange and did competitions which made it a full five years instead of 4.

    One thing that annoys me constantly is European students comparing their “masters” programs to the ones done in my country which are almost never done in such a short time. So compared to my friends who did a Bachelor and Masters in business (say in France) I have a nearly equivalent education in terms of hours of material covered.

    -Scott

  11. ko says:

    Happy Birthday! i m happy for you, hope you will continue to find things that interest you in life, and strive to become a better person. :)

  12. Ambrish Jha says:

    Happy Birthday Scott, Best Wishes…!!!

    It’s been over a year since I started following your blog. I really find them very inspiring.

    Your writings are the among the first things I go through reader..!!
    Thanx !!

    Wish you’ve wonderful days ahead… full of adventures, learning, and sharing.

    ~ambrish~

  13. Aatash Parikh says:

    Happy birthday Scott :)

  14. Randy Ford says:

    I have been reading your blog for about two years now. About a year ago, I started requiring students in my “Impact of Technology on Society” class to take up the challenge of self-education afforded by the Internet. Your site is one of a few that I suggest as a source. And in fact, every semester, several students set out to make changes in their lives by drawing heavily on your site.

    As a professor and scientist with a background in cognitive science, I am quite impressed with your theories on learning and massive behavioral change. Thank you for taking the time to offer such a blog.

  15. Gabriela Bernal says:

    I just wanted to say Happy Birthday and thanks for the good posts you write. I have been reading your blog since a couple of months ago. It helped me discover the Breakthrough Rapid Reading book.
    Keep the good work here.

    Gabriela
    South Korea

  16. Happy birthday Scott! Your story is very inspirational to those of us who want to be entrepreneurs.

  17. Ehsan says:

    Happy birthday Schott, I really look forward to reading your new posts every week and enjoy them a lot! Hope you can keep up this great business and also hope to see you when I visit vancouver this year!

    All the best,

    Ehsan

  18. David P. Mallia says:

    Happy Birthday Scott! Thanks a lot for your inspirational blog posts :) I wish you all the best on this special day and good luck in your future projects.

    DM,
    Malta

  19. Sumiyyah says:

    Happy Bday Scott,

    hope you have a good one and thanks for all the great info. I learn a lot from you, btw if this isn’t too personal which school dod you get your bachelor of commerce from?

  20. Lily says:

    Happy Birthday Scott,

    It is my first time reading your weblog. I found it very interesting and informative.

    As my background is from non-English speaking country and I’ve recently moved to English speaking country, any recommended method of fast language learning will be appreciated. I’d like to be able to write beautifully in English.

  21. Michael Kwan says:

    Welcome to our neck of the (expensive) woods! You’re very welcome to join us any time at Dot Com Pho. We meet up for lunch every Saturday, shoot a video, and post it on the web. We’re all pretty tech and web savvy, so our conversations tend to gravitate toward those kinds of topics.

    http://www.dotcompho.com

    Also on Twitter (@dotcompho) and Facebook (facebook.com/dotcompho).

  22. Scott Young says:

    Michael,

    I might take you up on that, thanks.

    -Scott

  23. Nick says:

    Happy Birthday!
    Thanks for your work!

  24. Zain says:

    Happy Birthday! Thanks for all of your insight and wisdom. They have sparked inspiration within myself to grow as a person and always try and push my boundaries. In my opinion your accomplishments are worth being proud of and only makes me want that for myself. Look forward to your future posts! Hope you had an awesome birthday!

  25. Carl says:

    Happy birthday Scott.

    What really impresses me about you is that you are willing to share your downs as well as your ups. By telling us about your fears and your insecurities, you humanize yourself to our level even while disseminating seeds of wisdom through your articles.

    Thanks for taking the time to teach and inspire. I wish you the best of luck in your future endeavors and eagerly await the articles that will chronicle the next chapter of your life.

  26. Jack says:

    Hey Scott!

    Happy Birthday!!

    I’ve been following your blog for almost 3 1/2 or 4 years and I have to say you’ve been a tremendous help! All the tips and techniques on Holistic Learning and approaches to organization have been superbly helpful.

    In fact sometimes, when I’m feeling over loaded with work or just down, I read over your blog and feel inspired to start working on something and getting things in order.

    Thank you for everything so far and I look forward to whatever you have in store for us!

    Jack

  27. Tassia says:

    Some amazing posts, Scott. A belated Happy Birthday and a thank you from this reader.

  28. Ann says:

    Happy belated birthday, Scott! I really wish there was someone like you blogging, when I was at least in middle school. Better to read your thoughts on certain subjects now than never. :)

  29. Tania says:

    Happy Birthday Sott Young! I want to thank you for all the useful information you have been sharing. Congratulations for all your successes and for your unique site. Soon I will be 23 years old too and you’re some kinf of an inspiration specially the value you share on your contents.

  30. Tania says:

    *I mean Scott Young.

  31. Roger says:

    Happy birthday, Scott! I’ll challenge myself more as you do with yourself this year…

  32. Matt says:

    Happy birthday, and good courage and perseverance on your next projects!

  33. C.H. says:

    Hello Scott! First of all Happy belated Birthday! I have not been reading your blog for a while now but upon reading this post, I couldn’t resist the urge to comment!

    Like you, I just graduated from a university (in the UK) and will be 23 in two month’s time. However, unlike you, I immersed myself wholly into studies (probably a bit too much) and neglected many things in life. My one goal was to graduate top from my class and get into a good grad school (which I did) but if I am to do what I did during my undergraduate days, I fear my life will be meaningless!

    Hopefully by reading your blog more often, I would be able to get ideas on how to live my life better instead of doing academic work all the time.

    Keep up the good work!

  34. Cat says:

    Happy belated birthday Scott! Your site is really interesting and inspiring – keep up the good work!

  35. Gerth Jan says:

    Hi there Scott,

    First of all happy birthday!
    I’ve just recently found your website, and i’ve been reading back your blog. I’ve just gotten to you 22nd birthday. So i’ve still got a long way to go, before i get to the end.
    I wish I had your knowledge at that age, but i’m still young. And like you wrote, if we want to keep up, we have to keep reading and studying. I don’t know if I can get to 70 books a year, but sure hope i’ll get there eventually.

    This year i’ve started my own business, selling my photographs on canvas. It’s harder than one would think, but reading your blog gives me new ideas. If you want to see what i’ve been up to: http://www.fadm.nl

    Thanks and have a great year.
    And keep up the interesting posts!
    Gerth Jan

  36. Eric says:

    Howdy,

    I have been reading your blog since before you went to France. I am impressed with your growth. I would like to suggest Toastmasters as an opportunity to meet people, become comfortable speaking to groups and give you another outlet for creating content.

    I have been a member of my club in Dallas for 11 years. It has made me a much better and entertaining speaker. Helped me learn to focus my thoughts and build my circle of friends.

    Currently, I am struggling to become a published writer with the goal to become full time. Your example is very helpful.

    Happy Birthday.

  37. Scott Young says:

    Thanks for all the birthday wishes everyone!

  38. Holy crap you’re SO YOUNG! Congrats on the move to Vancouver, one of the most expensive cities in the world to live, but it’s very beautiful. I grew up about an hour away, in the countryside and always love to go back.

    In addition to Toastmasters you can check out some Meetup.com groups. I originally used that for language learning, but they have tons of different groups! Highly recommend House parties, even if you just know one or two people!

  39. Aw, this was a really nice post. In idea I wish to put in writing like this moreover – taking time and actual effort to make an excellent article… however what can I say… I procrastinate alot and under no circumstances seem to get one thing done.

Debate is fine, flaming is not. Pretend that this comment form is a discussion taking place in my house. That means I enjoy constructive criticism and polite suggestions. Personal attacks, insults and all-purpose nastiness will be removed especially if it is directed at other readers.

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