Here’s What Successful CEOs Say You Should Do In Your Twenties

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We all live with the best intention, but sometimes it’s hard to define exactly what we should be doing in the run up to our thirties. The best advice often comes from people who’ve already made it, so here’s some stellar advice from successful CEOs.

Be selfish

We keep preaching the importance of looking after number one while you can, make all those important decisions now and look after yourself.
“Be selfish, risk everything and live life on the edge. Before you are 30 you have no real responsibilities and possibly no mortgage/family that you need to support. Be daring and risk it all for huge success.” – Aaron Smith, CEO and founder of KX group.

“…if you’re going to take a business risk, do it before you’re married with kids and mortgage. You’ll be more scared and less gutsy once you have a family and advancing and progression is important early on in your career.” – Bevan Nel, MD of Helping.

Be organised

We swear by thorough organisation here at CGD, we can’t stress the importance of saving, planning and managing your time enough. Building a solid foundation for the rest of your life will help you build good habits.

“Build good habits. Whether it’s time management, work ethic, setting work/life boundaries, exercising, eating well or being disciplined with your personal finances, habits are your baseline. When unexpected moments interfere in your life, it is long established habits that are your saviour. Form them young and they’ll be with you for life.” – Taichi Hoshino, CEO of Monetise.

“Seize the moment, set personal goals early in the game, keep them in check and strive to achieve or surpass those goals. Always remember to reward yourself as you reach each milestone. It’s great for personal recognition.” – Levi Aron, GM of Yumtable.

Start that business now

Whatever you’re dreaming of, just do it. It’s best to ‘fail forward’ and leap into life having the experience of starting something than to spend the rest of your life regretting the business decision you never made.

“Start your own business while you still live at home. It’s a good time to experiment with a business idea, while you don’t have any real expenses. Find a mentor or someone you that you trust to give you advice – outside of family – who has no financial agenda.” – Philip Weinman, CEO of Locomote.

“Start and run a business. No matter how small. If you can learn these skills early, you will learn how to fail with low risk or repercussion. Basic accounting and business skill will support and future endeavours.” – Jo Burston, founder and CEO of Inspiring Rare Birds.


Besides working as a team, saving money and learning the one piece of advice most CEOs had in common was to travel the world. You can get a huge amount of life experience from travelling alone, embracing new cultures and learning new things.

“One of the most important things someone should do before they reach 30 is to travel, they will meet new people and will create new adventures! These experiences will broaden the mindset of any individual to help set them up for their 30s.” – Charlie Wood, country manager for Dropbox.

“Travel the world! Explore new regions and cultures, it creates independence and gives you experience that will have lastingly positive effect on the rest of your life.” – Christian Mischler, COO, CMO and co-founder of Hotel Quickly.

Read more at Time magazine.

  • Francesca

    Travel is so important! You really shouldn’t work from leaving school right up until you retire. Go and see the world and learn about yourself and others!

  • Jolie L

    Traveling is very important to me. I realized that I spend time working working and making making money without actually use it. And what better way to use your money than traveling? ^^
    My goal is to travel at least once a year.

  • Rae

    Have to say that I agree with everything on this list – it’s short, simple, sweet and to the point. I am actually currently trying to practice all four of these tips.

    Rae | Love from Berlin

  • Tori

    Great advice! I am in my early twenties and have one more year left of university, I am planning to travel and see where I want to live and do with my life! Great post to read at this time!

  • Kat

    I find such advice completely pointless and bordering on dangerous.
    A) stop believing your life stops on the eve of your 30th birthday.
    B) If you are 20 and over, you are an adult, start acting like one and people will treat you like one.
    C) THE most basic rule: money is always worth more than money in the future. Don’t invest time or money, certainly never delay or quit your job, to start a venture a bank would not lend for on the basis of your business plan. You don’t have to take the loan, just runs your completed business plan by a few banks to see what bites.
    D) Don’t travel aimlessly! A gap year, pre or post university, is a waste of precious time. Work hard and get paid work placement or international scholarships. I travelled the world for free and gained incredibly valuable resume-worthy experience. Good luck getting hired because you found the reality of Sri Lanka eye-opening.
    E) Time invested now = more time and less hardship later. Be savvy, put your head down, get the family early, retire at 45 or home-scgool your kids. I am sure the memories of your adventurous youth will mean a lot when you can barely afford childcare and need to work 8-12 hours a day to maintain your lifestyle.

    Just my 2 cents!

    • Lauren H

      I’d have to agree that life isn’t over at 30… I don’t know why we still act like it is! I’m 23 and every single day gets better and better.

      But I do agree on the traveling :)


  • Kayla

    These are so inspirational! I love it! Definitely going to take all these tips and just go for it!

  • Megan

    Great post! I think saving all the money you can is super important too. Especially for all that traveling. You want to be able to travel well into your 30s, 40s, and beyond!

  • Gemma Carey

    Great tips! If I had the money I would travel so much more. And I also like the “start your business now” point. I often find myself coming up with ideas and then never getting round to progressing that!

  • Rebecca Kelsey Sampson

    I LOVE THIS POST! It makes so much sense, sadly it also makes me a bit nervous. I’m 25, already married with a mortgage and am the main breadwinner for my family. I’m a freelance writer, which has already been a tough journey to get here but it isn’t my main dream. Thankfully becoming an author is something I can start in my free time. Who knows, maybe before I hit 30 I’ll be coming back here letting you know about my book deal.

    Wish me luck!

    Kindness is the best accessory,
    Rebecca Kelsey Sampson

  • Christine

    Gonna write this on my checklist.. Great article!

  • Rachel Ang

    These are such great advices. Great read!

    Rachel x

  • Pingback: Here’s What Successful CEOs Say You Should Do In Your Twenties | Nikkia Wallace, StrategizeHER()

  • Natalie Redman

    I want to travel the world! I just need to gather my funds together and just do it. Thanks for sharing!

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