In terms of finding and keeping a job, starting a business has never really been seen as the safest or reliable route for a person to take. When the unknown pressure of launching your own brand is added to the cost of living and the unstable job market, most people could give up on starting a business before they even begin, but it’s not impossible. Students throughout Georgia are thriving as entrepreneurs and their success can help other aspiring entrepreneurs as well.
Chevon Hines, president of the Collegiate Entrepreneurs Organization (COE), explained that there are three key things that a person wanting to start their own business should do.
“First, decide that this is something you want to do. Second, do your research and third, network,” Hines said.
Hines elaborated on her first point, saying that a person has to be ready to take on the lifestyle that comes with starting your own business. Starting a business from scratch is a struggle for anyone, because if you don’t work, you don’t eat, she said.
Also, doing research beforehand can help to make sure that a person planning to start their own business won’t jump into the business arena without knowing what to expect, something that entrepreneur Brandon Woodford knows about firsthand.
Woodford, creator and founder of fashion line Wizdum Clothing, focuses his brand around the phrase “Do Your Research,” which encourages people to use the resources they have to enlighten themselves to the learn more about the opportunities that are available.
“My type of wisdom is the concept of being more aware and conscientious of a lot of the information that’s around you,” Woodford said. “Basically, being a cool nerd through fashion.”
Although gaining exposure was one of the greatest challenges for Woodford, he used social media resources to build his brand and expand his network.
Woodford decided to take time off as a student from Fort Valley State University to pursue his dream of starting his own business, a decision that a student has to think through if they are planning to be an entrepreneur while in school. Starting a business takes time and money, so taking classes and being an entrepreneur may not be easy. However, with proper planning it can be done.
Senior marketing major Ryan Kulp is currently opening a restaurant with Q Trinh, a student at Georgia Perimeter College, which is scheduled to open in East Village on Feb. 14 called, “We Suki Suki.” One of the ways that they have managed to find a balance between building a business and taking classes is through relating what they learn in class to what they’re doing in the workplace.
“I take my courses online because I have to. I’m so busy. But the knowledge I learn from it, I apply directly to what I’m doing,” Trinh said. “I get to apply my knowledge real-time.”
“I take classes from two in the afternoon until seven and I did that so I’d have the mornings free to think about ideas and what I have planned,” Kulp added. “I’m a marketing major so the classes I [have] taken at Georgia State, I carefully have combed through them the past year or two.”
The two networked and met last year before coming together to start their business, one of the major points stressed by Hines in regards to finding success in entrepreneurship. And for those that don’t know how to build their network, COE offers students access to Herman J. Russell International Entrepreneurship Center, the Small Business Development Center and 200 Office, which is the leading co-working space for entrepreneurs in the city.
With the different paths that students can take to being a successful entrepreneur, one idea was central in making their dreams into reality – a strong work ethic.
“It’s not about it being easy, it’s not necessarily about who you know, or what you know, it’s just how willing you are to do whatever it takes to make your dream happen,” Kulp said.
Published February 14, 2012 in The Signal: “Pure Wizdum: Student entrepreneur shares secret to his success“