During my brief stint in business school, the one thing I remember them teaching me was "if you have an idea, someone's already thought of it. If you do it faster, cheaper, and better, you will succeed." I've had to do plenty of projects "inventing" your own product and carrying out the business plan, but never actually went through with anything. I have a couple of friends -- one an author, one with an organizational solutions company -- who have made their now living -- and I mean LIVING, on their own and everything -- off of their own businesses, and they work their butts off trying to make their small business attract the right customers.
I spoke with Matt from Gemvara about becoming an entrepreneur while still in college, employing your friends, and making your business successful. He started his own custom jewelry business as a junior in college, and Gemvara now has over 50 employees. He broke it down for me by answering some easy, simple questions (because it is that easy, right?)
He gave me some great tips, while sharing his amazing story along the way.
1. Who is your biggest inspiration?
My dad; I was not a model student until my junior year. My father passed away that year, and things all came together for me after that. The lessons he taught me stuck to my core, and he still inspires me today.
2. How did you promote yourself and your business?
A great entrepreneur is self aware enough to know people who have the right answers; I knew my friends who had the right skills and interests, and I built my own personal advisory board. They were the people who helped me build the Gemvara brand.
3. What was your major/minor?
Bachelors in Business Administration, minor in Entrepreneurship.
4. What organizations/clubs were you a part of ? Which do you recommend for college students?
I recommend finding Entrepreneurship clubs, organizations, or the center. I became an intern at the entrepreneurship center, which kept me motivated all through college.
5. What was the toughest part of being an entrepreneur in college?
Everyone you talk to is going to think you're crazy and tell you you're idea won't work. That was the hardest part for me: the loneliness.
6. What book do you recommend college students who want to start their own business to read? what movies to watch?
The Social Network and Startup.com are great movies to keep you motivated. Also using Twitter as a resource to quickly reference and read up on your audience, as well as beefing up your social media has been great for me, and my business.