Being an entrepreneur doesn’t just mean you’ve started a company, it means you’ve set out to begin a conquest of success, failure, and overcoming your fears.
One of the most important lessons I have learned is that you must think differently to become a successful entrepreneur. My largest struggle, when developing and creating ideas, has been to maintain a positive attitude and to stay focused on my vision for the longevity of the project.
Many think that “successful” people of this world have created their lifestyles because they were given more opportunities than others or they just have an extra bit of “luck.” This is a sad misconception in society and is simply not true. The thing that people need to understand about being an entrepreneur is that you have to think differently than the rest of society. You have to modify your thoughts away from life’s daily obstacles to the future you want and the solutions you want to create in your life. You have to release all negativity towards others and yourself and focus on the positive aspects of life. As you turn your thoughts from negative to positive, your life begins to transform and the world begins to open up to you.
Over the past few years, the positive mindset has been my biggest discovery. As a freshman in college, I worked on starting a company based on a new website concept for college students. I developed a business plan and presented it to one of my college business professors. The feedback I received was that my idea did not provide enough value to the consumer, which she felt was mandatory in any new product. An investor showed high interest in my idea, but in the end, did not fund the project. My fear of failure and the fact that my first venture was failing began to take over. I didn’t have the correct mindset that I needed to create wealth, success, and happiness. After the failure on my first company, I was devastated but realized that I had a lot to learn. The main reasons for my lack of success with this venture were:
- The product did not provide a valuable solution to the target market.
- My mental state changed from positive to negative and I began to doubt myself, causing termination of the venture.
In my sophomore year, everyday on the mile walk to school, I repeated to myself, “I want to achieve great things. I will be successful. 2012 is my year.” This affirmation, repeated day in and day out, planted the idea of success in my subconscious, and I was able to watch it grow. Throughout the next few months, I applied and was accepted to several UA programs, including: meeting Warren Buffett, multiple trips to New York City for different entrepreneurial opportunities, personal meeting with the Macy’s CEO Terry J. Lundgren (after winning a college entrepreneurial team competition), acceptance into the Eller College of Management, and acceptance into the 3-month UA study abroad program in India. I discovered that the main reasons for these successes were:
- Positive thinking
- Visualizing of where I wanted to be, rather than focusing on where I was
- Not allowing fellow peers to project their negative thoughts on me. I had to push past their negative mindsets and create my own positive one.
My trip to India reinforced the need for positive thinking in order to become a success. While in India, I made the conscious decision to push myself past all my mental boundaries. I made sure that I experienced everything that I could. I wanted every minute in India to be meaningful and be a learning experience. The Indian culture opened my perspective to the different ways the mind works and my ability to create things within my own life. Through learning different yoga and meditation techniques of the Indian culture, I learned that anything you have in your life began with a thought. After making this realization, I began to use this tactic to implement things I wanted in my life.
There were many social opportunities in Bangalore, India. I met many locals, most of whom had complicated first names and similar last names. It was extremely difficult to “friend” these locals on Facebook and Linkedin. One weekend I took a retreat with a few friends into the mountains of India. During a meditation session, I focused on my passion for innovation and my next business venture hit me. This idea would solve a common global problem in making social media connections. SociaLink was created. I had a product idea that provided a valuable solution to all demographics and it was easy to use! Now I had to implement it.
After presenting the idea past several colleagues and professors and doing hours of research, I felt that I had hit on something big. My good friend and current teammate, Hector Rosales, showed high levels of passion for the idea after I shared it with him in India and I brought him on the team. We researched and interviewed several software developers in Bangalore, so that we could have the face-to-face connection with whom we might be working with. Upon my return to the States, I did the following:
- Performed a study on the number of users in age groups who would use SociaLink.
- Developed marketing ideas for how to get the idea to its potential users.
- Found funding for my project.
- Wrote an NDA (non disclosure agreement) for software developer to sign.
- Developed a business scope of work.
- Researched and interviewed other software developers.
- Bid the scope of work to several software developers.
- Reviewed the developer bids and awarded a contract to my developer Snyxius that included a strict development schedule.
Now, I was able to take the idea from concept to reality. With our development company, based in Bangalore, India, we spent 5 months project managing them from Tucson, Arizona. This meant we had to work in different time zones and resulted in a lot of late night calls. This is where I learned the importance of using the 24 hours in your day wisely.
While working through development I faced some mental struggles but was able to overcome them through continually thinking positive. Keeping a strong mentality and having friends who constantly support each decision I’ve made has been the reason SociaLink has become a reality. Without keeping a positive mentality, having like-minded teammates, and constantly persisting, my vision, the dream would not have become a reality.
SociaLink is an iPhone application that allows you easily connect friends and new acquaintances to social networking sites instantly upon meeting them. The social sites you can choose from include Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram. SociaLink is the simplest way to connect with new individuals and watch your network grow. Whether you are a student, businessman, or just the social celebrity of your town, SociaLink will help you make more efficient connections with new individuals at just the touch of your fingers!”
SociaLink was launched Dec 19th in Apple’s App Store and is growing daily. We’ve had a number of reviews to date and are on a very positive roll.
I believe that success is made from a number of factors: positive thinking, passion, persistence, experiencing adversity, and good ideas that solve problems in easy ways. I didn’t create SociaLink to make money, but rather to add value to peoples’ lives and simplify networking and connecting.
Michael Austin Jacobs is a passionate 20-year-old entrepreneur and student who is following his dream. He is presently a Senior in the Eller College of Management at the University of Arizona, (Tucson, AZ) and planning to graduate Summer 2013 with a B.A. in Business Management. His previous venture was CollegeReg.com where he looked to provide value to college students who were in need of a place to share private information. His current venture is SociaLink, a mobile application that simplifies the way people networking. You can find SociaLink on the Apple iTunes App Store for free.
Image Credit: Shutterstock.com
Category: Startup Advice