Boss Man

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Starting your own successful business seems like an easy thing. Steve Jobs made it look like a piece of cake. But evidently the cake doesn’t slice so easily, or, perhaps you need one heck of a good baker to make it.

Now I just want to chow down on some cake. Where was I…

At the Launchpad, “Like a Boss” event at Columbia on November 16, grads and undergrads of all majors were invited to have that cake and eat it too. And by cake, I mean invaluable advice on starting your own business by a panel of professionals in the field who have done just that.

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Don Smith, a Film & Video professor at Columbia, said you have to develop skill sets outside the classroom.

“It’s hard to learn in school,” he said. “People have to learn how to work.”

Terri Lonier, from Columbia’s Arts, Entertainment & Media Management program, agreed, but stressed that having a deep passion towards the work you do is also crucial.

“Lead with your strengths,” she said. “Think about the things that make your heart beat a little faster.”

Lonier told a story about how years ago she was given the opportunity to create the Visiting Artists Program at the Lillstreet Art Center. She took the idea and turned it into success.

Lonier also advised students to make sure that their job and their passion can sustain their living situations.

“I don’t think there’s anything that kills creativity faster than figuring out how to pay your rent,” she said.

Justin Sinkovitch, also from the Arts, Entertainment & Media Management program, echoed the words of FDR. Fear, he said, just isn’t worth missing out on success.

“Don’t be afraid,” he said. “Screw it. Just go for it.”

All excellent advice. Especially for those grads like me, about to cannonball into the job pool. (Hey, at least it wasn’t another cake metaphor.)

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Other Real-Life Recommendations from the Panelists:

  • Go out and buy 10 books related to your field and actually read them.
  • Check out and to start fundraising those little light bulbs hanging over your head.
  • Know what success means to you. It may be making that million or it may be just a handwritten letter of thanks from a stranger, but know what it is when you see it.

Also, Check Out This Video–Panelists’ Advice for the Novice Entrepreneur:

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