Hey there, I'm Lauren Milanak, and I'm currently a sophomore at Wake Forest University. My major is business enterprise management, and I've also taken up a minor in entrepreneurship alongside my passion for dance. Today, I want to dive into the world of student entrepreneurship and debunk some common myths, sharing my own experiences and insights along the way.
Myth: Only for Those Who Want to Be in Business
Reality: Skill Development that Transcends Fields
My journey into entrepreneurship began during my junior year of high school at Lake Forest High School. I took a high school entrepreneurship class, INCubatoredu, that would forever change my perspective. While I plan to major in business, two of my four co-founders chose entirely different academic paths, with majors in architecture and sports medicine. Surprisingly, they'd be the first to admit that this class profoundly impacted their lives. The beauty of entrepreneurship is that it equips you with skills that transcend industries and career choices. It's about growth, and sometimes, growth feels uncomfortable. From conquering the fear of presenting in front of hundreds (short video) to learning to work seamlessly with teammates, these are invaluable skills, no matter which path you choose.
Myth: Only for 'Sharks' or Extroverted People
Reality: Drive is Key
There's this common misconception that entrepreneurship is solely the realm of extroverts or the so-called 'sharks.' Well, I'm here to tell you this couldn't be further from the truth. In my journey, our team developed Brush Bestie, a makeup brush innovation inspired by existing concepts. We combined these ideas to create something revolutionary. Entrepreneurship isn't about your personality type; it's about your creativity and drive. Whether you're an introvert or an extrovert, there's a place for you in this world of innovation.
Myth: Only New Ideas Are Allowed
Reality: Always Innovating!
Another myth we must bust is that entrepreneurship only thrives on completely new concepts. In reality, innovation often builds on what already exists. Take our product, Brush Bestie, for example. It was born from the inspiration of multi-color, push-down pens and the frustration of managing multiple makeup brushes. Entrepreneurship encourages us to take existing ideas and elevate them into something better, more efficient, and more valuable.
Myth: It's Not Real if it's Just High School
Reality: This is Authentic Learning with Real-World Tools
When people hear about entrepreneurship in K-12 schools, they often assume it's superficial. However, let me assure you that it's as real as it gets in this class. The curriculum we followed mirrored the methods and tools used by real entrepreneurs, and they played a significant role in its design. Entrepreneurship isn't about the glitz and glamour of TV shows like Shark Tank; it's about embracing the process and its challenges. What set this class apart was the unwavering professionalism and the high standards that were expected from day one. It's about learning to navigate the real world, starting right in the classroom.
Myth: High School Teachers Can't Teach Entrepreneurship
Reality: Teachers Guide & Mentors Bring it to Life
I was fortunate to have a teacher who genuinely cared about each of us, providing unwavering support through the ups and downs of our entrepreneurial journey. He was our cheerleader and learning guide rather than lecturer. His enthusiasm was inspirational! Beyond the classroom, mentors played a pivotal role in enriching our experience. They shared their unique experiences from the business world and helped us forge lasting connections. Their guidance elevated this program from a mere classroom endeavor to a life-changing adventure.
Exceeded my Expectations!
In short, my experience with entrepreneurship was an incredible journey that exceeded all my expectations. It taught me that the value of failure is immeasurable, the importance of networking is undeniable, and a diligent work ethic is indispensable. These qualities aren't just confined to the business world; they are life skills (short video).
This journey has left me with invaluable lessons, enduring connections, and cherished memories that I wouldn't trade for anything. So, if you're contemplating student entrepreneurship, remember that it's not just about a specific career path or personality type; it's about embarking on a journey of growth, creativity, and self-discovery.