The best way for a student to start a business during college is with a network marketing organization.
Before you roll your eyes (or maybe after) consider this:
1. Network marketing is a $167 BN industry. That makes is a larger industry than video games at $67 BN, organic products at $80 BN, and the NFL at $9.5 BN. It also grew as an industry by $50 BN or nearly 50% in the years from 2009 to 2012. All statistics are from 2012.
2. The best network marketing companies are reputable and have a low cost of entry – especially for students. The one I’m involved with (disclaimer World Ventures) also has no inventory to carry or manage, which suits the living arrangements and lifestyle of students. Additionally, the best companies offer plenty of training, mentoring, and leadership development.
3. Students learn the techniques of professional sales, which any entrepreneur – student or otherwise – must master.
Finally a story, about an MBA graduate from Cal Poly who was interviewing for jobs after graduation. All the employers mainly wanted to talk about his business, yes the network marketing one that he built. He was made five job offers and accepted the one that was made by Tesla.
Entrepreneurialism is a must-have trait for all professionals. The best way to learn it is not in class, but to earn it on the playing field of business.
No matter how hard Olympians train, when winning can come down to a thousandth of a second every optimization is crucial. One crucial decision that every athlete faces is whether to risk their health and career by using performance-enhancing drugs in order to closer to the win.
There are parallels in business everyday. I see a lot of companies make unhealthy decisions when faced with the pressures for short-term results. Many cycle through inexpensive interns instead of investing in developing talent for the future; they stifle innovation through excessive cost cutting; or grind “productivity” out of increasingly demotivated employees.
These decisions aren’t as obvious as an athlete deciding to dope, instead they creep in at every level of the organization until long-term health is in danger.
Certainly there are times when the short-term need for a win can outweigh long-term considerations, but it’s important to be clear about the choices that are being made, and the consequences that could appear down the road.
How can you be certain that your organization is making healthy decisions?
Start by to asking these questions:
What are the long-term impacts of short-terms bursts of productivity?
How are we pursuing a strategy of long-term health while pursuing our short-term goals?
Is our drive to win today compelling us to pursue tactics that will make it difficult for us to win tomorrow?
Any organization that is compromising its long term health for short term burst is doping. It’s a choice. The consequences become graver the longer it goes on, and it’s always possible to pursue a healthier course.
The global marketplace is incredibly competitive. The top of the corporate pyramid gets pretty narrow. Generations of authoritative monarchs were enlightened enough to understand the value of Fools, how about you? Take a good look at the people you surround yourself with. Who do you trust to give you the kind of feedback that can shake you to your core and set you on the right track? Who has actually done this for you in the last three months? If you cannot name at least two people, or don’t see the point, then I’m afraid you may be playing yourself as the fool.
I wonder how our decisions and interactions could be different if we engaged the key people in our lives with fresh eyes and no assumptions. And of course what it would require of us to relinquish our safe and well-developed assumptions in the first place.
If this sounds interesting, here’s an approach you could take:
1. Start with one person who is important to you, and the relationship with them that you would like to improve.
2. Take a few moments to observe the assumptions you have about her (i.e. “my sister always takes my stuff” – well, maybe in high school, but now she’s 43…). Write these down.
3. Consider what it will take of you to let go of these assumptions, and stop collecting evidence to prove your assumptions right. Write these down too.
4. Choose to give up your assumptions for the time being, say for one holiday or maybe the duration of the holiday season, and observe your thinking for old assumptions cropping up.
5. Approach this person with a beginner’s mind, enjoy yourself and feel the difference that can show up in your body as well, relaxed shoulders, feeling calmer and more centered.
And once you’ve given this a test drive in the personal realm, you can take it on the road at work. Imagine what letting go of your assumptions can create for your professional relationships as well.
If patience is a virtue and we’re living and working at breakneck speed, do we have to give up our virtue in the name of profitability? The surprising answer is probably not. If you and your employees have a healthy impatience, you will refuse to remain stuck because when people put their ego aside and don’t have to be the one with the answers, they can reach out for help and get unstuck quickly. And it creates results – in fact, American Express is just one company rating its managers on healthy impatience.
And the focus isn’t solely on impatience. It’s also on healthfulness.
Although the weak economy has people clinging to their jobs, recent studies show that 6 out of 10 employees are looking to change jobs. That’s a costly amount of disengagement. The heart of the matter is that many employees are not making their highest possible contribution to their organizations, which are contributions only they can make, by virtue of their unique talents, skills, interests and relationships. Once employers shift the focus of an employee’s engagement to making the highest level of contribution possible, the improvement in results is remarkable.
If you had to choose between good business results and good business relationships, which would you pick? This might seem like a trick question – after all, results are what you put into the bank at the end of the day, but you know that a hard-working team of motivated people makes that possible.
But it isn’t a trick: there’s a conflict between people and profits playing out everyday that executives need to be aware of.
If I asked, would your employees tell me that you manage their results or their tasks?
How do you identify whether you are measuring the process or the results? To begin, there are three questions to ask yourself:
Are you measuring how your team is getting a result?
Is it measurable?
Is it an outcome or a milestone?
Every manager must learn to make this distinction. It isn’t as simple as it might seem. In fact, many of my best clients struggle with it at times. However, the benefits of managing the results rather than the process are multifold. For one thing, a results focus really limits micromanaging because you are not involved in other people’s processes. They can figure out what they are going to do for themselves. You are just looking at the results of their work and how they impact the bottom line.
Freaks brainstorm innovative products, do breakthrough research, and view problems differently than most people. How? They embrace the offbeat and the unexpected because that’s just who they are. In fact, everyone can tap into a freak mindset — and a lot of amazing outcomes can develop as a result.
Here are some ideas to awaken your inner freak:
• Don’t be afraid of being considered “weird.”
• Learn new things obsessively.
• Challenge your assumptions and beliefs constantly through travel and new experiences.
• Awaken your senses by looking critically at your own assumptions about the world.
• Identify the “norm,” and embrace the cacophony of life beyond and around it.