"Invest in yourself and your future"
This is advice from Yvonne Stein, a young entrepreneur from Germany who set up KarriereCoach, a company helping people find the right career.
Yvonne grew up in Frankfurt, where she dropped out of school and took a job rather than continuing with higher education. She soon left to go travelling, which was when she first realised she wanted to become an entrepreneur. “For the first time I felt like myself,” she says. “I enjoyed being my own boss, following my own rules and not having to fit in anywhere. I wanted to create something new.”
It was eight years before Yvonne made the leap, however. She recalls: “I really liked the idea of being an entrepreneur, but I always thought I was too young, I needed more experience, more knowledge. So I stayed in my job.” After gaining valuable experience working in HR and recruitment, Yvonne’s desire to do her own thing became too strong and she decided to retrain as a careers coach. She had seen many people lose their self-confidence after a bad time at work and she wanted to help people get their dream job. The defining moment came after she successfully coached a friend who was unhappy in her career. “It felt right,” she commented. “I was really scared to quit my job, but my first coaching experience had gone so well, it gave me a fantastic feeling and I knew I wanted more. I wanted to give something back to society.”
Yvonne set up KarriereCoach in 2016 to help people find their passion in life, whether through jobs that give them a sense of satisfaction or by becoming an entrepreneur like her. Setting up was a challenge and at times she felt overcome by the fear of not knowing what to do. She thought it would help to connect with others facing similar challenges, so when a friend told her about Youth Business Germany (YBG) she signed up for their one-year support programme.
As Youth Business International’s member in Germany, in partnership with the Citi Foundation, YBG provides expertise, experience and know-how to help young people successfully master their first steps into self-employment and entrepreneurship. This includes training in basic entrepreneurship techniques, individual mentoring from an experienced business mentor and access to their network. Yvonne says of her experience: “I was looking for a network of entrepreneurial friends to exchange tips and ideas with. The open coaching sessions were perfect: I could ask questions, learn from others and share my own learning with them, and most importantly not feel alone.”
In 2018 Yvonne started working with a YBG volunteer business mentor, who she hopes can help her take her business to a new level. She has recently started collaborating with a university where she helps students with no work experience to find their passion. She feels proud of what she has achieved so far. “My biggest fulfilment comes from my clients: their success is my success. If people feel more comfortable after our coaching sessions I feel very grateful. I wanted to give something back to society and I have: I have definitely found my own purpose in life.”
Yvonne has this advice for other young people looking to start a business:
“Think big! Trust yourself. Believe in yourself. Never think you are not good enough. The future is in your hands, you just have to make a start.”
Youth Business Germany is part of the Youth Business Europe programme, a regional initiative supported by the Citi Foundation to help young entrepreneurs to start or grow a business.