Starting your own business is not as hard as it seems, according to several entrepreneurs who shared their stories on April 22. The College’s School of Business, Small Business Development Center and the Entrepreneur Club hosted the event, titled “Young Entrepreneur Success Stories.”
With a panel of five young but experienced entrepreneurs, students were able to gain insight about building and owning their own businesses.
First to share the secrets of his success was Mike Michalowicz, CEO of Obsidian Launch, a business growth accelerator that partners with young, first-time entrepreneurs. Michalowicz explained one business model – the “Toilet Paper Theory” – that helped him on his path to success.
Tracing the steps an unfortunate person might have to face after racing to the restroom and finding nothing but three sheets of toilet paper left, Michalowicz said one could learn three lessons from this experience.
“First lesson: Exploit your strengths,” Michalowicz said. “Second lesson: There are resources all around us. Third lesson: once you go for it, go all in. Retreat is not an option.”
Moving away from the bathroom theory, Michalowicz said a true entrepreneur could do anything with a dollar in their pocket.
“You don’t need money to start,” Michalowicz said. “I’ve started three companies with no money.”
Money, however, was always in the future for young entrepreneur Catherine Cook. A college freshman and the co-founder of myyearbook.com, one of the fastest-growing social-networking Web sites on the Internet, Cook had an original idea and stuck with it.
“We were willing to do something new,” Cook said. “I have no idea how it got this big.”
With 5 million visitors and more than 1 billion page views per month, Cook has already achieved a seven-figure annual salary before graduating college.
“You actually have to be brave enough to try it out,” Cook said. “Don’t think you’re still in college and you don’t have a degree to do it. Just get out there and get started.”
Among the other panelists present was Sunny Kancheria, a real-estate professional, Michael Periu, director and founder of the New Business Institute and Erica McGeachy Crenshaw, a former Wall Street equity research analyst at Goldman Sachs who purchased AmeriSpec Home Inspection Service.
With insightful views from all the panelists, students were able to listen to these success stories and share their own business ideas.
“I want to stress stay focused on your goals but make certain it’s a realistic goal,” Crenshaw said. “If you’re determined to reach your goals, you will reach them.”