At an age when many teenagers are starting to pick up the occasional babysitter gig, Noa Mintz built her own nanny agency in New York City.
Mintz founded her company, "Nannies by Noa," in 2012, when she was only 12. She used her natural matchmaking talents to pair families with caregivers and grew so successful she had to hire a CEO to handle the day-to-day operations while she attended high school.
"I still don't really understand how I did it, how I pulled it off," says Mintz, who is now 19 and studying cognitive neuroscience at Brown University.
While Mintz doesn't disclose the company's financials, Nannies by Noa has paired nannies and babysitters with hundreds of clients in the New York City area, pulling in fees based on the nanny's initial salary. Fortune magazine named Mintz to its "18 Under 18" list in 2016, and she's been a guest on "The Today Show" and CNBC's "Squawk Box."
Video by David Fang
Here are a few lessons she learned as a young entrepreneur, which she credits with helping her build a successful business while still in high school:
Speed, Mintz says, "is the default" for most entrepreneurs. That is, it's generally seen as positive when business leaders make quick decisions. But quick decisions can be reckless, Mintz says. Instead of focusing on hustling all the time, entrepreneurs should slow down and think things through.
By taking a more measured approach, you'll develop a "generous, considerate decision-making process that will lead you to further success," she says.
Working in a particularly sensitive industry, pairing children with nannies, Mintz says it's important to listen very carefully to the needs of her customers and to empathize with them. The job requires a "heart and ears," Mintz says.
"Have the heart to have empathy and understanding," she elaborates, "and ears to listen to people's situations."
By being willing to listen and take cues from her customers, Mintz says she was able to be a better matchmaker. And listening generally is a skill other entrepreneurs can use to better understand their customers and their market.
As a young entrepreneur, Mintz felt like she was constantly in over her head. When she was struggling, she reached out to others, including mentors and colleagues, who were willing to give her pointers and guidance. Don't be afraid to do the same as you learn the ropes of launching your business.
"People want to help and want to see you succeed," she says.
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