Flirting with Entrepreneurship

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As I see the light at the end of the tunnel of my collegiate career, the reality of being out in the real world is setting in.

Pretty soon, after the gowns have been placed away in storage and summer is upon us, all my other collegiate compatriots will be looking to complete internships or nab a summer job with the bright and cheery promise of returning once again back to these hallowed halls. We seniors, though, are on a different path. We actually have to look into becoming gainfully employed. Scary thought, isn’t it?

Many seniors have had internships that turned into employment offers contingent upon successful completion of their degree programs. Others have no idea what it is they’ll be doing. I fall somewhere in between. While I was offered the option of returning to the vineyard I had an internship with this past summer, that’s realistically only a part-time job and a seasonal one, at that. I won’t dismiss it just yet. Then I have the family business option. I could go back and work part time with my dad at the franchise of Cartridge World I helped him open up my senior year of high school. It’s doing alright these days, but he could definitely use the extra manpower and it’d be nice to show him how my 4-year education here at Florida Tech can be directly applicable to growing the store.

My Dad (Robert Wilson) behind the counter at Cartridge World of Suffield

My Dad (Robert Wilson) behind the counter at Cartridge World of Suffield

This leads me to an interesting situation. While I could go full-bore into either one of those two options, I could also apply and (theoretically) become employed with a much larger company. This would provide some security in the income department, because I would have an almost guaranteed income stream I could use to live off of and pay off those pesky student loans that plague my generation. But where’s the fun in that?

My time here at Florida Tech has encouraged me time and time again to call upon my diverse skill set to deal with a myriad of problems, issues and situations. I’ve kind of become a “jack-of-all-trades and master of none.” This is what many of my professors refer to as the Entrepreneurial Mindset. I’m always on the lookout for how I can champion the next opportunity, and right now I’m feeling that if I focus all my efforts on one position, I would lose out on countless opportunities. This is what makes working two part-time marketing positions so attractive to me; I’m not limiting myself on the growth of one enterprise. Better yet, I may even be opening the door for some ventures of my own.

Recently I’ve been toying with the idea of opening up shop online. What will I be selling, might you ask? That’s a great question. I have no idea. I’m finding too many options to choose from, and then I’m also looking into the different methods of selling. I could have a little side hustle where I go to yard sales, goodwill and the like to pick up all sorts of things and flip them for a profit on ebay or craigslist. I could start up a drop shipping website that also sells on ebay and Amazon. Or I could go one deeper and import directly from china and sell here in the states for some rather gluttonous margins. I’ve read countless articles, guides and forums on the topic and the more I read, the more I want to pull the trigger and start something, but I conversely also realize how little I actually know. I’m starting to think I should just bite the bullet and learn on the fly. It may cost me a little extra here or there, but I’ve always been a big proponent of experiential learning and this would prove to be one heck of a lesson plan.

I recently got talking with a friend of mine here at Florida Tech that started his own business with his dad as an extension of one of his hobbies. He had always liked jeeps and became really good at hooking up aftermarket lights. Soon all his buddies back home were asking him to acquire and install the lights he was using. After a while, his dad took notice and, with a $3000 investment, turned a hobby into a business that, after about three years of operation, holds around $300,000 in inventory at any given time while maxing out their supplier’s production capabilities. This really struck home with me. It’s the American dream, right? Work with what you love and happen to make a comfortable return to boot. It’s just time for me to decide what it is I truly love to work with.

 

Featured image credit here.

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