Everyone can learn a lesson from entrepreneurship. I would highly recommend that everyone take a course in entrepreneurship if given the chance.
Before starting college, I was skeptical about entrepreneurship. I never considered entrepreneurship as a future career possibility. Back then I would have never considered taking a class in entrepreneurship, much less pursue a minor in it.
Previously, I thought it was impossible to learn to be the next Bill Gates, Elon Musk, or Steve Jobs. In my mind, entrepreneurship was only done by really smart people or extremely fortuitous people who happened to be in the right place at the right time (of which I was likely to be neither). At that time, what separated the Microsofts and Apples of the world was untouchable and happened thanks to pure luck
I took my first entrepreneurship class, Newslab, on a whim as an elective for my journalism major. During the course of the semester, I quickly found out that entrepreneurship is not just a chance happening or even just the ownership of a small (or large) business.
Rather, entrepreneurship is a process comprised of a strategic way of thinking and planning. It’s not just about launching a company. And although money-making can be a happy part of the process, entrepreneurship is really more than a means to an end of for turning a profit.
The process associated with identifying an innovative product or business model has challenged my thinking. The lessons learned have expanded far beyond just starting a creating a business. By the end of the semester, I gained a mindset that I know will benefit me no matter what industry I work in.
- Awareness of the world around you
Ignorance is not always bliss. In entrepreneurship, we are constantly challenging ourselves to innovate and solve problems. It’s important to observe carefully and not settle into the old ways of doing things. Business as usual. It’s important to ask questions and ask…”how can it be done better?”
- Planning can only take you so far
It’s easy to plan a business on paper. For instance, we can really like a car by reading its Edmund’s or Kelly Blue Book Listings, but we don’t really know what it’s like until you test it. When thinking about ideas, test it as much as possible before spending big money on it. Now instead of impulsively moving forward with ideas, I make sure to test it on friends, potential users, and seek out the advice of thought leaders.
- Acceptance of a chance of failure
Part of entrepreneurship is accepting a potential failure. This goes hand-in-hand with learning to take risks. More specifically, we have to learn to make calculated and well-informed decisions that might not always go accordingly.
Since starting college, I’ve taken 3 entrepreneurship classes and the business plans created in my entrepreneurship classes have all failed. And perhaps that was for the better.
One thing I can attest to is that the lessons learned in my entrepreneurship classes have yet to fail me. I strongly believe that students should spend time studying the philosophy behind entrepreneurship. While not everyone will start a company, everyone can learn to think strategically and innovatively.
About Kristen Chung
Kristen Chung is a travel-loving junior at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. When she’s not running or flipping through the pages of a magazine or a newspaper, she can be found looking up recipes on Pinterest or playing ultimate Frisbee. She wants to work somewhere at the intersection of Journalism, Media, and Business.
Feature photo by John-Mark Kuznietsov