Through the whole semester, we were trying to build our own business as we were learning how to be an entrepreneur.
Each team worked on their own business idea to solve a problem. I think this is a meaningful activity that can walk us through how to start up a business ideally and know what we should consider starting a business. Our group decides to do a podcast and I really like this idea. Because a podcast is relatively easier to make it real into a business from a pitch with less technique requirements. I am also happy that our group includes international students as one of target audiences, which makes us more competitive.
When I participated in the project, I realized my hard works in my other club work out here. I used to look for sponsorships and raise funding for my organization. Our project “how I got the job” also needs that, so I quickly put my ideas. The most difficult part for me is the presentation. As an international student, I wasn’t confidence enough to present with my second language.
My team leader Sydney noticed my nervous and came up to offer help. That inspired me a lot, so I told her I would be prepared for the presentation and no worries. At the weekend, I wrote my speech down and practiced it several times. Before the presentation day, I asked Sydney to time me to check if I was doing ok and she said yes. This small moment is so easy to forget, but I appreciate every small help from others and realize those moments could only happen in the teamwork.
The most significant thing that I have learnt from this project was what happened after. At the presentation day, we were asked to score each team with feedbacks. At the result day, professor Amy told us there were a couple of feedbacks were mean.
She taught us how to critique other people’s work and shared another story to tell us how she viewed this kind of issue. After class, I asked professor Amy why she showed us the mean comments instead of taking them out. She told me this class was not designed to protect us but teach us how to face reality. We are media students; our work would be aired one day, and we can’t get rid of it every time. So sometimes we just have to have a “thicker skin” and tell myself it’s not on me.
I also asked professor Amy how to differentiate “personal attack” and “criticism”. Through this communication, I think personal attack is to define someone in a bad way, and criticism is evaluating a thing; it’s more objective. Such belief is really important for a entrepreneur because when we start up a business, our idea would be judged and we have to get ready in our heart.
Last Friday we went our Detroit tour to meet founders of different businesses. The first station was the Bamboo Detroit. At there, we met with Amanda Lewand, the founder of the business, who was a freelance writer and yearned for an office. She found the problem that renting an office, especially for start-up business, is necessary but expensive. Her solution was to rent a big space, with other similarly minded entrepreneurs, and sell it to “sole proprietors and small businesses that need temporary, or very small, office spaces at a low cost,” according to a story about Lewand. Then, she came up with the product: Bamboo Detroit.
I think what makes Lewand success is she knows what she values and what she wants. Because when she was asked why she became a freelancer? She said she knows the demand. She said the freelance leap takes courage and you might need multiple jobs to make it stable. From my perspective, Lewand always finds herself the right solution.
Next company we visited was Lafayette American, an advertising small team solve big problems. Speakers Bre Alexander, the account strategist and Ben Bator, the chief innovation officer, introduced us they are the lighthouse brand for creativity. In my opinion, an entrepreneur is all about creativity. Creating new products to solve a problem or creating an existed product with a renewable idea.
A student asked how to deal with negative feedbacks. Speakers told us to apologize first, then go back to edit it. One thing I learnt is not to be defensive when you hear negative feedbacks. I think this is hard but necessary to achieve. During work, we will meet different people, our clients do not always have to be nice to us honestly. Their job is not to make us happy, it is our job.
Going back to what we have learnt about the “thicker skin” in class, I have already seen how that’s being applied to work, even through a field trip. I am glad I could learn it early to help me prepared for the real world.