Last week, we finished our mini-series called ‘classroom to the boardroom.” In case you don’t know about this mini-series, it examines how three Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT Grads) started a business either while in school or after they left. In each episode, there is a valuable lesson to be learned for all the students out there, who want to be entrepreneurs. Each one of these episodes debunks a myth for you starting a business while providing some common themes for all students.
Let’s discover now.
NAIT Grad – Justin Nand
In the first episode to the mini-series, we featured former NAIT Students Association (NAITSA) President Justin Nand. Justin Nand was a great leader within the NAIT community and occasionally drops in today. During his time at NAIT, you arguably could not have found a student who was any busier! Here’s a list of his involvement while at NAIT.
- Feb 2012- Mar 2012 – CMA Case Competition
- September 2012- April 2013- Member of Enactus
- October 2012- April 2013 – Lead Team Student Leadership Award of Distinction
- September 2012- December 2013 – NAIT campus ambassador/ Student Recruitment
- February 2014 VP Secretary of IntoNAITion Toastmasters
- April 2014 – Member of the Accounting Club of NAIT
- April 2014 Member of Business Connex of NAIT
- September 2013- March 2014 CPA Student Ambassador for the Alberta Accountants Unification Agency
- April 2014- Board of Governors Member of NAIT
- April 2014 Supplementary Learning Leader of NAIT
- January 2014- March 2014- Member of CPA Case Competition
- February 2014- April 2015 Vice President External for NAITSA- NAITS Students Association
- December 2014- April 2015 – Officer of Finance at Alberta Student Executive Council
- May 2015- April 2016 – President of NAIT’s Student Association
Justin was involved with all of these activities, while at the same time operating Ashna Decor. Ashna Decor is a family business that provides decorations for weddings, engagements, receptions and all types of events. The decoration company does between two to five weddings each summer, and it’s Justin’s responsibility to ensure billables are paid, events are scheduled and all other operational duties.
Myth #1 – From Justin Nand
“I don’t have enough time.”
I hear from students, and other people who want to start a business say “I don’t have enough time.” Everybody has the same amount of time, and it’s just a matter of how we manage that time. We all have 24 hours in a day. You don’t have to build a multi-million dollar business right off the get-go. It’s okay to start a side-hustle business that produces extra earnings for you and then over time, that business replaces your full-time career earnings! Stop watching Netflix and going out partying on the weekends all the time and complaining you don’t have enough time to start that side-hustle.
You have enough time, just be conscious about how you’re spending it and work accordingly! Discover what skills you have and how you can make money, and start working.
NAIT Grad – Raymond Saw
In the second episode of our mini-series, we featured Fulfillment By Amazon (FBA) seller Raymond Saw. In his last semester of school, Ray discovered the opportunities possessed on Amazon and how you can start selling on their platform. He claims if he had discovered Amazon FBA in his first year at NAIT, he could have grown his business into a large company. Since Amazon FBA provides support to peoples shipping & logistics for a business, it allows sellers like Raymond to focus on what matters. In the case of him being a student, it can be focusing on grades, group projects, hanging out with friends, etc. All he has to worry about is generating sales and Amazon will handle the rest.
Myth # 2- From Raymond Saw
“When you’re starting a business, you don’t need a large sum of money!”
As a student, you more than likely lack capital resources. Like any business, there is always an initial investment when getting started. Starting an Amazon FBA does not require a massive amount of money, compared to other business opportunities out there. In fact, most Amazon sellers usually invest around $2000 to get started. The size of the investment depends on the products being sold, and supplier minimum order demands.
The big lesson we can learn from Raymond is the importance of starting small and scaling over time! As an entrepreneur who lacks money, becoming creative in your operations allows you to be more efficient. As your products become more popular in the market, and your suppliers provide larger discounts for volume, your margins increase! Which, over time, allows you to invest money into other areas of your business like new product skews, research and development, marketing, etc.
Author & Shark Tank investor, Daymond John talks about “The Power of Being Broke” and how it makes you creative as an entrepreneur. It also provides you with grit and determination to keep pushing forward!
NAIT Grad – Darion Getzinger
In the last interview for the mini-series, we featured Edmonton photographer Darion Getzinger. Since its launch, this episode has been absolute FIRE! Darion captures client’s weddings, anniversaries, or any special occasion! She shares her life on Facebook & Instagram, dealing with customers, recent photoshoots, experiences at the gym, and much more! Her social media presence is very transparent and helps her relate to customers. Though she did not take a social media class while at NAIT, enrollment in courses like negotiation and conflict resolution help her in her daily business operations!
Myth #3 – From Darion Getzinger
“You need to have experience working for someone else before you can do your own thing.”
Skills are skills at the end of the day. If you can weld, do search engine optimization, write ad-copy, operate equipment, whatever, skills you possess can help you create a side-business. You do not necessarily have to work for someone else before you start your own business. When you want to avoid risk, like receiving a stable income, and improve your skills from higher performing individuals, then by all means working for someone else may be beneficial. However, if you are the type that wants to start your own thing, ask yourself “What skills do I have that someone would pay me for?” Or you can ask yourself, “What do I do well that people would be willing to pay me for?”
For Darion, she knew how to take candid photographs, and people would pay her for her services.
These Myths are Beliefs
These myths that we have identified are not necessarily myths, but rather limiting beliefs. Limiting beliefs are those thoughts that hold us back from ever starting. Limiting beliefs being, “I am not good enough, I don’t have enough money, I don’t have time, I need more experience, I am lazy, I am unlovable.” All of these are limiting beliefs and whatever we choose to believe in our minds becomes our reality.
The truth is, they are utter- b.s.
These limiting beliefs are based on a story that we play in our heads that are NOT TRUE!
Stories are only a narration of an event that happened from one’s perspective. One’s perspective might even be accurate but rather a biased perspective on what occurred. These stories allow us to play, the victim in our own demise.
Stop playing the victim and learn to overcome those beliefs. Stop beating yourself up before you even get started. Cease to be your own worst enemy.
What Do these Individuals Have in Common?
Darion, Justin, and Raymond all have one thing in common. They all chose to not to listen to their limiting beliefs. Each entrepreneur will tell you there will be challenges and every reason not to do it. It is about overcoming those problems and pushing forward. Each entrepreneur needs to have a goal and statr working towards it.
Starting is half the battle, and if you can build the right mindset as a student who seeks to be an entrepreneur, anything is possible. You can start building other difficult skills like learning to generate money, and over time, scale your skill set and start hiring others into your business.
It all starts with the end in mind.
Just like what Napoleon Hill said, “Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve.”