Casey Harrison

What I learned from (trying) to build an enterprise

When I was sitting with my classmates discussing what product we were going to develop for our media entrepreneurship class, I don’t think any of us realized what we were in for.

We settled on a podcast, because why not? Everyone is making one these days and if you have any resemblance of media knowledge, creating one is simple enough.

OK. So we knew what we were going to talk about, but how were we going to make it? We had no microphones. We had to find a core topic for our podcast to be about, find guests, make content compelling enough to retain listeners, design graphics and social media pages, analyze demographics and that’s only some of what we did. That didn’t even include formulating a sales pitch to potential investors so that we could fund our startup.

And that was only what was required for a class. That was doing things the right way, with careful instruction, tips and know-how on building something from the ground-up. Imagine being an entrepreneur with a great idea, but you don’t strategize when or how to start your business. What if you cut corners on the aforementioned?

The sad reality is, the hard work may be for naught and the fruits of your labor may never come to maturity.

Starting a business seems to be a lot like taking care of a baby, a pet, or any living, breathing entity: it requires all of your time, attention and resources. And if you don’t have the unwavering dedication to see your idea come into fruition, then it was doomed from the start.

Imagine dumping your life savings and quitting your job to start a business, but not having the vindication to see things through. To me, it’s the ultimate wager on yourself and your work ethic. But it’s also a barometer of how lucky you can be, because it seems businesses can pass or fail on a variety of small, trivial things.

I think I have the determination to be the founder of a startup, but I don’t think I have the creative know-how to see a tangible product available for consumers.

But that’s OK. Because these last 12 weeks helped me gain valuable skills that translate outside of entrepreneurial ventures. We learned to view solutions and approach problems with a 360-degree viewpoint: solves difficult issues in a way that will mitigate harm for all parties. Think of your demographic, and how can you always be serving them better, because after all, if you cater to an audience, they will flock to you.

And these are skills that as an aspiring media professional are valuable for the rest of my career. Even though I don’t have any ambitions of establishing my own company in the near future, I can tell employers what it takes to grow in certain areas and try new things.

Because in the professional world, you are what your word is. And if your word is backed by hard work and a good reputation, it’ll take you far.

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