This past week my class visited Detroit to meet with some successful entrepreneurs and media influencers.
The first was Amanda Lewan, who is the co-founder and CEO of Bamboo Detroit, which is a co-working space
If you don’t know what a co-working space is, you should totally look it up — especially if you are just starting your business. It’s seriously genius.
Aside from her fabulous business idea she talked with my class about the tough spots she had starting up her own business, some tricks of the trade and some overall life lessons about becoming a professional in the job market.
The main point I took from Amanda was how you have to learn to roll with the punches. She knew that she wanted to be a writer but couldn’t just do that therefore she had to come up with something else she is passionate about. Co-working space turned out to be something that could help her and also be a great start-up. So now she can write but also run Bamboo. She also mentioned that you have to keep in mind competition in the area and make sure you are differentiating yourself from similar products/companies.
The second was Eric Thomas, co-founder of Saga MKTG. And oh was he a character. I can see why so many people follow Eric on social media because boy was he entertaining. Eric is very active on LinkedIn with a lot of connections because people enjoy reading his posts. These posts can be seen as controversial, but to Eric he is just speaking his mind, being real and telling his truth.
The main point I took away from Eric is that whatever you set your mind to and are passionate about, you can do it. Eric doesn’t have a college degree, and yet he is wildly successful in his career. So think about that next time someone tells you “no”, “you can’t do that”, or “you’re not good enough.” Everyone has had those days or people telling them they are failures at some point in their careers, especially the successful ones.
My other favorite, who was probably the most relevant for my generation, was Shanley Pearl. Shanley has an Instagram account called hungryindetroit which has over 13k followers! Crazy right! And she only started last year really getting her followers up.
Shanley has a talent for social media marketing and has had a lot of prior experience in the field but really didn’t find her niche until she started hungryindetroit. She now has more clients than she can handle and runs their social media accounts because of the success with her own account.
But Shanley didn’t just tell us about all the great things. She also shared how hard it can be running your own business. She does all the work for her clients herself and often runs herself down. What she is doing is also something that she is still trying to figure out how it all works. Should she hire people to help her? Should she limit herself to less clients? She is still figuring it out. And that’s okay.
All in all meeting with these young professionals really made me excited about graduating this May. Whether you are starting your own business, trying to amp up your social media followers, or still trying to figure things out just know there are a lot of someones out there in your same position.
Keep going my friends.