Ever wonder why Donald Trump, billionaire real estate investor and co-creator of the NBC television show, "The Apprentice," hires former (and current) entrepreneurs as employees?
No need to guess, I’ll tell you in his own words: "It’s always interesting to watch people who have been incredibly successful in their own businesses work in a group made up of equally strong personalities. It takes a special kind of leader who can effectively manage a team of veritable strangers and find the best way to get strong, winning performances from them."
In fact, The Donald isn’t the only CEO who knows that having an entrepreneurial mindset is a huge asset to any organization. Randal Pinkett, winner of "The Apprentice: Season Four," recently published a book entitled "The Campus CEO" about his life as a student and business owner before his stint as an executive with the Trump organization.
The book is a student’s guide to launching and growing a profitable business from any college campus, and it comes right on time in light of the rising cost of everything from education to gas. In fact, studies show that more and more students are opting to quit the dead-end jobs that often have nothing to do with their major or future career aspirations and instead take a swing at running their own business.
The value of real world experience
I did not start my company while I was in college, but I quickly figured out (within three years of graduating) that the best way for me to create a lifestyle that I love was to start my own business. In 1997, when I started my first company, I knew that I didn’t have all the answers nor was I prepared to go "cold turkey" and bite the corporate hand that was feeding me. So I set out to learn as much as I could about how business works while I was working on my business.
I am a huge proponent of getting the necessary education you need first (i.e. stay in college and get your degree) and getting tangible practice if possible as well, so "moonlighting" was the best option for me.
As a student, the best way to do this is to learn about courses your campus offers for would-be business owners. Also, business incubators are popping up on campuses all across the country – join one – and internships are still great options for getting hands-on experience as well as access to managers, executives and even business owners who can become valuable mentors. So be sure to apply early to as many internships as possible.
Next, check out Pinkett’s book, which helps take the mystery out of the process by exploring the issues of business ownership, such as how to write a business plan, build a winning team, how to network your way to business success and other topics every entrepreneur needs to know.
Don’t stop learning when class ends
I also recommend creating your own "University on Wheels" as a way of getting into the entrepreneur mindset, no matter who you might choose to work for. What if I were to tell you that you could take three college courses a quarter without having to go through a long or costly registration process?
Well, you can, because there’s a concept called University on Wheels (UOW) – and when I got introduced to it, I was amazed at what I could learn and get done with it. You’ve probably heard of UOW before and maybe you’re already putting it to work for you, but if you haven’t, here’s a short intro.
If you commute to school or work or have a stretch of time where you are in transit on a regular basis, then you probably listen to your favorite music on your iPod or use the time to call and chat it up with your friends. UOW suggests that you turn that time into getting schooled by listening to educational audio files or books in your car, on the bus, subway, airplane, or even on foot. You can transform wasted time into "workshops on wheels." Plus, with the proliferation of podcasting, there’s an entire industry out there waiting to serve you by making your commute time educational and profitable.
The goal is to always be on alert for ways to learn more, be more and do more. You have an amazing opportunity to turn what you know into cash flow, and with examples of super successful young business owners like Mark Zuckerberg, creator of Facebook.com, you now have the incentive, too. Thousands of college students are taking the steps toward entrepreneurship and setting themselves up for business and career success. What about you?
Sanyika Calloway Boyce is the author of four books. She travels nationwide to educate, empower, entertain and enlighten students about money, credit and debt. This former debt-strapped college student shares real and relevant money messages that young adults can relate to and understand. Visit her online today at financialfitnesscoach.com.
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