To be honest, when I was 16, I still thought I was going to the NFL. When I was 18, I committed to Cornell to play, and believed my recruiting coach when he told me Econ. was the same as business. Took me two years and a switch to a Government major, but sometimes I wonder if I had actually researched the whole school part of the recruiting process, would I have maybe studied in the world-class hotel school or actually tried to get into the real business school (called AEM at Cornell)? Maybe it would have benefitted me to do the research and I could have studied more business-like classes to better prepare me for the entrepreneurial experience.
When I was 21, I started my first business, a pickup and delivery laundry service called MaxyClean. That’s when things got real and I realized I wanted to be an entrepreneur. A few things I wish I knew from that experience are:
-Responsibility is on you to make things happen. Your managers and employees can’t be blamed for mistakes made because you hired them.
-Details are crucial. From a confirmation email to the way their laundry was delivered to the shift scheduling process to minor expenses, small details are the most important part of getting your job done. People don’t notice small details when they are done well, but they become glaring when they are screwed up.
-It’s not about how many business cards you have, but instead how well you get to know the name on the card. I was a social-networking butterfly and knew lots of people, but at the end of the day, it was the people I knew best that helped me out. From spreading the word to raising money, the people I was closer with helped me more.
-If there were one more tip I could give myself when I was choosing a career, it would be to learn some kind of basic programming. It’s the common advice these days, but in 2009 I didn’t know I wanted to be an Internet entrepreneur. The thing is that almost every entrepreneur has to use the Internet in some sort of capacity; so most entrepreneurs end up becoming Internet entrepreneurs. Everyone relies on the Internet, even successful brick and mortar businesses, so learning how to create your own pages and fixing your own bugs could save you a lot of stress and money. You don’t have to become a coding genius, but learn how to read it a little better and understand it.