Dominik Skorynko is an INCubatoredu alum and Founder. He grew up around family members with an entrepreneurial mindset. Before immigrating to America from Poland, he witnessed a business mindset in his uncle, who owns a successful printing company in Poland. After immigrating to America, his father started his own construction company, and his mother has always been inclined to find innovative ways to earn income.
A non-traditional business course became a start-up playground and the catalyst of entrepreneurial skill development for Dominik, a former INCubatoredu high school entrepreneurship student at West Leyden High School in Northlake, Illinois. This exposure to the methodology and practices of entrepreneurship within a 'fail-friendly' environment, combined with the examples set by his family, led him to launch his own business while studying film at Columbia College. He is currently working part time at his former high school in the Communications Department while attending college.
Dominick shares key lessons he has learned thus far in his entrepreneurial career, and how INCubatoredu helped him get where he is today:
1. High school can be relevant to the real world
INCubatoredu is beneficial and very valuable for students because it’s such an innovative way of learning, because you’re actually doing what you’re learning. And you're not just reading a textbook and taking a test; you’re actually developing an idea and practicing real-world skills.
My mentor James was an app developer who had a relationship with Grubhub™️. He helped me establish the right mindset to have a tech startup, because it’s not the same as the traditional brick-and-mortar business. It’s a lot more fluid and all over the place. He walked me through it and gave me the right ideas and mindset throughout the development process to get the app and business model rolling.
This business idea was Card Assistant. It was a digital wallet for business cards and sharing basic contact information. Ultimately, I didn't secure funding in the early stages, and I couldn't continue building at a reasonable rate of progression. That’s when I pivoted to working on my own professional development and earning certifications that put me on the path that I am on right now—running my own business as Founder/CEO of Skorynko Media Group.
2. Being comfortable is not entrepreneurial
To be successful, you need to take risks, and you have to get out of your comfort zone. Being comfortable is not entrepreneurial. It doesn’t really get you anywhere. You need to get out of the status quo so that you actually learn from missteps and not let them drag you down to the point of giving up.
3. Don’t be afraid to quickly shift direction
An important skill to have is knowing when to pivot and not being afraid of change. There are many times where I've seen other businesses fail because they refuse to pivot and they don’t recognize a pattern of failure. Even if you’re not going to succeed from that first pivot, it’s going to get you further down your path where maybe yet another pivot will get you where you have to be.
I wanted to start a production company in Chicago where we produce films. But at the moment, I'm still in school, and I have a part-time job, so it's hard for me to do it all! My current business is providing services in website design, marketing, material creation, photos, and video, and I work on films whenever I have time.
4. Networking and socializing are essential, even if you’re quiet
I do a lot of cold calling and cold emails—just talking to businesses and giving them tips and suggestions on how to fix issues I spot. But a lot of my work is through referrals with local businesses where I have good connections. There’s a local IT company that brings in a lot of website work, so it’s word of mouth right now. But, I’m hoping to expand my own marketing and advertising.
5. Change can lead to new opportunities
The idea of change is going to stay with me. That’s one of the most important things I got from the entrepreneurship program—being able to accept change, and look forward to change! In about five years I imagine myself outside of school and creating a fund to help creatives produce what they want to in the Chicago area. My focus is on making sure that other youth will be able to tell their stories.