4 months of toiling, writing reports and running my own business finally came to a head last Thursday, at the Mini-Venture trade show for Professor Ellen Farrell’s Structuring the Start-Up course. Around the room numerous students (many entrepreneurship majors but surprisingly, like me, many who were not), were all setting up booths which displayed what our companies did, how we performed and how much money we made off a company that was started for just $10.00. The results from students around the room varied, from a student who did wine tastings and made more than 2 thousand dollars, to a cell phone repair company that made around $150.00. My own flyer delivery company with the help of my partner Noah managed to bring in almost $1500.00.
Around the room there was a certain look in people’s eyes, not everyone’s, but many of them. I could tell that they had caught something, and they were really passionate about it; it was the Entrepreneurial bug, as I like to call it. It all starts when Professor Farrell starts the first day of classes naming past students in her class and their successes; selling their companies for millions and creating companies from nothing is what first gets our attention. It is then reinforced by the want, which soon becomes a need, to create value ourselves, and not just sell the value others have created by working for some large corporation. And we very quickly get to fill that desire, by starting a company for ten dollars.
It may not seem like a lot, but from what I’ve seen over the past 4 months, ten dollars can go a hell of a long way into creating something that is worth a whole lot more, once you add in a passionate student’s creativity and hard work. For 10 dollars many students started service based companies; Cell phone repair, green bin cleaners and a couple guys who put up Christmas lights. My own company was a service delivering flyers, in which my ten dollars went towards buying some business cards. Other students went into advertising, selling ad space on place mats while others still went into retail and sold apparel.
The course had allowed us students to be forced into something that many of us were likely nervous into ever doing; taking the risk and starting our own businesses. Being responsible for a business isn’t easy and the risks that come with it are normally high, but in Prof. Farrell’s class we only had 10 dollars and our own time invested, so our risk was reduced. We also had mentors and successful entrepreneurs come to speak to us on campus, which only gave us even more desire to press on with our ventures and even consider being an entrepreneur right out of school, which, given the difficulty of landing jobs at the present time, doesn’t sound like too bad of an idea.
I’m a finance major but I’ve definitely caught the entrepreneurial bug, for me, there are few things that sound more exciting or rewarding than taking an idea and turning it into something real, and then to make that successful and valuable to others. I took from this class a lot of experience, and many lessons learned about how start-ups operate and the obstacles they face. I hope that others who may have never heard of Structuring the Start-Up or who are not Entrepreneurship majors strongly consider taking the course; you’ll learn a lot under Prof. Farrell’s guidance, and hopefully even more when you’re not and working on your mini venture. The rewards of starting you own business are high and the chance to put much of what you’ve learned during your time into action is invaluable, and hey, you never know, you may even catch the entrepreneurial bug yourself.