Trevor Toczydlowski

What I Learned About Entrepreneurship

When I first signed up for this class I really didn’t know what to expect. I was going into my last semester and just needed one more high-level journalism class. This seemed interesting and a fun way to end my college career. As the semester and this class comes to an end I can easily say that this was one of the most challenging yet rewarding classes I have ever taken.

As the class started and we began to learn about media innovations and the way the media is shifting, I thought that it would make up the majority of the class. However about a month in we were given our task for the majority of the semester. We had to develop our own start-up, like the ones we read about and listened to, to solve the problem about helping students find a better way to get internships.

While the idea seems simple enough, the amount that goes into actually preparing a start up was so much greater than I would’ve expected. We also didn’t just jump right into building our start-up, but first learned how other successful individuals created their start-ups and then practiced the simple first steps like an elevator pitch. The biggest thing that I learned early on was that you shouldn’t necessarily be constantly looking to try and build the next big thing, but rather be in a position where if the next big thing comes to you, you’re ready to capitalize on it.

If you’re receptive and able to notice problems that many people have it will be easier to find ideas that will serve as solutions to those problems. The reason many start-ups fail is that they build what they think people need rather than understanding the actual needs of their potential customer base and building a product or service that can be a solution to their problems. Understanding problems and solutions is one of the most critical parts of starting a company. If you’re out of touch with what people want and need you’ll have a hard time finding success.

My group’s idea for our start-up was called Mentor Match. It would be a university sponsored program that functions similarly to a dating app to match you with professionals in your desired field. If your profile matched the professional’s you would then have the opportunity to video or text chat with them and have them serve as your mentor. This also helps solve the problem of not being able to find good internships, as the mentors you make may be able to help you get an internship where they have or currently work.

After all groups pitched their ideas and voted on which one they thought was the best our group was picked as the best. It felt very rewarding to have my peers appreciate that hard work and effort that we put into building this idea. When the project was first assigned we planned to spend the final month of the year working on building the start-up as a class, but unfortunately we will not have the time to make it happen in the time remaining. If you had told me at the beginning of this semester that I would be able to create a start-up idea that others would find successful I would not have believed you.

This experience was an incredible one, but fulfilled any desires I may have to start my own company. The amount of work and dedication it took us as a group of 5 in a controlled environment would make doing something similar on my own a challenge beyond what I would want to take on. I will take the skills that I have learned and try to apply them where I can in my everyday life, but Trevor as an entrepreneur is likely not to happen.

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