Last month, we graduated our 4thcohort of Everyday Entrepreneurs. This random group of 11 found themselves together for 14 weeks on their collective journey to starting businesses. What a difference 3 months makes! Day one, most weren’t sure what they’d gotten themselves into, but persevered and returned a second week. Many were ready to quit a few weeks in. Pia was stuck on figuring out a prototype for her magnetic water bottle case and was stuck. Carly was hung up on a company name and method of sizing her plus-sized children’s and teen clothing line. Kesa didn’t believe it was possible, nor did she see herself as a true business owner until she physically held a business license in her hands.
Week after week they shared their concerns, obstacles, fears, and questions with the group and Jon, their advisor. They recognized that each startup faced similar challenges, similar fears, and insecurities about where to go next. Working through their product validation, pricing and marketing proved difficult. However, they determined whether to pivot, raise their prices, or target different customers.
Confidence started to build week over week as milestones and tasks were ticked off. A network organically formed among the scholars that grew outside the class. Trust in one another formed a bond between the budding business owners that helped them see they were not alone. Success stories began to emerge. Tears were shed when actual contracts and customers signed on, willing to pay money for their services.
Upon graduation, 8 students pitched, 6 were launched and 4 had paying customers by week 12. Throughout this journey the students learned a few critical factors in deciding whether entrepreneurship was the right path for them:
1. The right education and early direction can save you a lot of time and help you overcome many of the unknowns.
2. Having a support system is critical as you try to endure the obstacles that inevitably come along.
3. Entrepreneurship is never a straight path.
4. Launching your own business is very hard and requires work, perseverance, and courage.
5. With the right idea, the right market, a little bit of luck and access to resources, small business ownership IS possible!
Congratulations to our latest group of successful entrepreneurs and small business owners! For more information on the EEPP program or to apply, please visit our website: www.mbrcslcc.com/eepp