How Can You Mix Academic Life And Entrepreneurship?

Phi-Theta-Kappa Member
Phi-Theta-Kappa Member
All American Scholar Award
All American Scholar Award
Who's Who Among Students In Junior Colleges
Who's Who Among Students In Junior Colleges

So there’s this young college kid who’s got a great GPA, is very sociable, and does very well in his classes.

His family is very proud of him, they say, ‘what a great future he’s bound to have!’, and they see him wearing his suit and working in some big office, with subordinates, doing important stuff for a nameless corporation.

Little do they know all that this student sees is a commitment to give his best in all aspects of life, and his academic experience is merely the means to achieve the end purpose of creating credibility not only within his peers, but within the faculty, the staff, and the local business leaders who support the college.

So, how can academic life and entrepreneurship combine?

In a recent post, Jim Yaghi detailed why most college students will not become entrepreneurs, and the major reason is that they’re only there because they have to.

Think about it: whether it’s society, or family, or good-old boss pressure, most college students are there against their will. Because of it, they tend to offer their least, since there’s zero motivation.

Now, when a student realizes the relationship between income and studies, there’s a much higher change of strong dedication. At this point, that student has the potential to assimilate academic efforts as a personal investment to be recovered at potential job interviews, in informal conversations with superiors, or even in personal relationships.

And that is where academic life and entrepreneurship converge, and studying becomes an investment in personal development.

Take Charge Of Your Academic Investment

Classes are nothing more than a portfolio of the skills a student-preneur sees as the most benefitial to their enterprise. I, personally, would steer away from exact sciences – even though I appreciate the logical thinking that comes with math and physics, there’s very little return on that investment.

Here are some ways you can turn your academic investment into entrepreneurial opportunities:

Students offer networking and leadership opportunities
Students offer networking and leadership opportunities
  • Take advantage of the exposure and develop a network beyond ‘beer-buddies’
  • Explore the possibilities within each class: copywriting skills out of English, leadership skills out of History, etc..
  • Be on your teachers’ good side by raising critical questions – reference letters are particularly powerful when meeting Venture Capitalists, Banks, and initial customers.
  • Find and explore the small business center/junior business/business department and develop contacts – it might turn out into a speaking gig
  • Make use of the career center to find cheap qualified labor – again, cheap outsourcing!

If you’re not in college

I realize the average reader of the LifePath of a Network Marketer is not a college student, but the same concept applies: entrepreneurs are opportunity-obsessed and their success depends on knowing when, where, what, and WHO to invest their time with.

Learn how to turn adversity into opportunity, and you will have no unecessary experiences.

What Is Entrepreneurship?

Entrepreneurship Is…

Opportunity Obsessed

The Power Of Entrepreneurship
The Power Of Entrepreneurship

Personally, this could not be more true. Entrepreneurs have a blood thirst for opportunity, and are often seen squeezing money out of rocks.

The obsessed part draws a line between the “stable job with benefits” and the “jobs are fuel to my next startup” professionals. To be honest, I don’t have a single relative that would fit into the first category, so I blame my family for my lack of interest in the 9-to-5 world. (just kidding)

Jokes aside, stable jobs’ seekers are beyond my comprehension.

The entrepreneurs that inhabit my social circle, and the ones I admire, such as Perry Belcher, Yanik Silver, Frank Kern, and others, are opportunity-obsessed professionals that have seen many opportunities fail, but keep creating more and more due to this insane obsession.

Holistic in Approach, Leadership Balanced

There’s no doubt we’ll always have the ‘schemes’ entrepreneur trying to get ahead by scamming people, but for the major part, entrepreneurial enterprises seek to fulfill a need, offer a benefit, and conquer the minds of its customers as a necessity. The holistic approach grants that serious entrepreneurs are over-delivering, offering as much as possible in exchange for consumer loyalty.

Being a leader is communicating those values and inserting that obsession into those around you, instigating commitment, motivation, and attracting success.

Leadership = Personal Responsibility

Entrepreneurs are disciplined enought to understand they’re the ones responsible for their success and their entire operation depends on their decisions. Leaders are those that accept this responsibility despite the pressure.

Value Creation, and Value Capture

Isn’t this the basis of capitalism?

We strive to offer only the best, so we are rewarded with only the best. As I mentioned above, entrepreneurs seek to fulfill a need, creating value to those benefiting from it, and receiving credit for doing it well.

How Much Value Are You Creating?

This blog is inhabited by an incredible number of entrepreneurs, so I must ask you: are you creating value to your customers?

HOW?

Be sure to measure and track your answers – they are directly related to how much value ($) you capture 😉

Mike Kelly: Leadership & Mindset Beat Any Recession

Mike Kelly, Owner of the Kelly Hospitality Group
Mike Kelly, Owner of the Kelly Hospitality Group

When I decided to write on the power of a recession-proof mindset, I started looking for successful examples of entrepreneurs that create their own economies, despite what the media calls a “recession”. Mike Kelly, of the Kelly Hospitality Group, is one of the best examples of such entrepreneurs.

In the small NC community formed by the Outer Banks, approximately 35,000 people reside within  along,  thin stretch of land (almost an island).

The region is highly seasonal, reaching over 500,000 visitors/week during certain times in the summer. Due to the summer migration, most businesses in the area are ONLY open from Memorial Day to Labor Day, closing theirs doors as the tourists head back home.

During the winter months, few businesses stay open, and the majority burn through their summer profits just to keep their lights on.

At Kelly’s Restaurant & Tavern, however, tables are full even during the winter.

Kelly’s is the star of the Kelly Hospitality Group, which includes two other restaurants in the area as well, owned by Mike Kelly.

The night before Valentine’s day, Kelly’s dining room was full before 5pm. The last entree came out of the kitchen a few minutes past 11pm, with guests waiting over an hour for a table.

In the lounge, as diners arrived and waited patiently for a table, Mr. Kelly himself was the host, entertaining guests, serving drinks, and ensuring effective table turnovers.

The same scenario can be applied to the Friday before last, and to the one before that. Kelly’s is always full, and the reason is immensely due to its owner.

Mr. Kelly is always the first one in, and the last one out. He knows every vendor, every repeat guest, and this relationship is extend in all his marketing campaigns.

On his 3 restaurants, several data-gathering opportunities are softly presented to guests, and the communication is differentiated between local Outer Banks residents and tourists, to maximize personalization. This winter, when the area was surprisingly covered by two inches of snow, Mike sent out a postcard to his list of residents with a picture of his building covered in snow, that said: we’re always open, it’s warm inside, and the food is always great.

The consequences of Mike Kelly’s efforts are represented on the cordiality and dedication of the staff, who are greatly motivated by the owner’s leadership. Kelly sets the example to be followed by every employee, and even his wife often joins the staff and help on the busiest occasions.

His persistent relationship-building, through personal & direct marketing, impacts his turnover and determines his success.

One thing to be noticed is that Kelly’s marketing has been consistently effective, no matter what the economy is. Recession in, recession out, his presence is always noticed in the local media, his campaigns always include a bonus for local residents, and it reflects on his sales.

Entrepreneurs such as Mike Kelly create their own economy, focusing on his target market and ignoring national economy, news, and bailouts. Their mindset sets the pace of their success, and their leadership guides his entire enterprise forward.

Now, it is up to you: how do you plan on overcoming this ‘recession’ epidemic? Have you not been affected at all? How?