What is “entrepreneurship”? Apart from being a word I can’t even pronounce, I knew very little about it before this summer. It was a random weeknight in July when my mom burst into my room, telling me about this new program at my university. Reluctantly, I asked her to send me the Google form to see what it was all about. I carefully read it and came up with a business idea on the spot, having yet to learn about the journey I was about to embark on.
A few weeks later, I received a call asking for an interview, which I happily agreed to. The program managers explained to me that this was an incubator program, and we went over the details of what would happen if I were accepted into the cohort. They also asked me some questions about my idea. Let’s just say, I nailed the interview. As soon as I finished, I quickly looked up what an incubator program was and started getting excited about all the possibilities. Throughout the 12-month program, I would be working with a mentor, university professors, and a diversity of staff members who were there to bring my business idea to life. Once I received the email saying I was accepted, I started planning.
My idea has a lot to do with second-hand and vintage clothing. I won’t go into detail until it’s launched, but coming up with the idea was the simplest part. Before this, I had yet to learn how much time went into starting a small business. During the last few months, I’ve had to sign plenty of contracts, count my inventory a few times, and even meet with a law student to help me obtain the necessary licenses. All that while I still had to do homework, attend classes, and go to work as usual. Although it seems stressful, it’s been an amazing experience. Every Friday, we have workshops or lectures where professionals in industries like finance, social media, and marketing talk to the cohort and teach us amazing new things. I’m the worst at math, but throughout the process, I’ve learned how to use programs like Excel to make my life easier.
Sometimes, it does get stressful and I feel like I’m behind or haven’t done enough. In moments like this I always try to remember that it’s okay, and everyone works at their own pace. I would say that the biggest challenge of a budding entrepreneur is time management. Setting due dates and using a planner are the best ways to stay on track with all the tasks. Another hurdle is the feeling of handling everything alone, in the sense that it’s pretty much one person running everything by themselves. Yes, I do have my parents’ support, but I am the one who attends the meetings, creates the business model, and overall knows what to do. It takes a lot of organization and discipline to get the work done, which are two traits that I’m trying my best to perfect.
When I’m in a work slump or feel the need to procrastinate, I always remind myself why I’m doing what I’m doing. Thrifting and creating are things I love, and having an outlet to spread my ideas and inspire others while also putting into practice everything I learn in class is truly fantastic. As a public relations and publicity student, I recognize the importance of brand identity, the connection between a business and its public, and the various ways advertising can help an audience recognize a product.
The process can be overwhelming, and at times, I feel like I don’t know enough or that I’m not good enough. However, this adventure is all about learning and celebrating the little accomplishments. I am very proud of myself for seizing this opportunity and being courageous enough to dive in, even without knowing what’s to come. It’s a journey filled with growth and the satisfaction of pursuing my passion. All in all, I’m excited to see where this endeavor takes me.