An open letter to my mentor

Dear Mentor,

Thanks for saving my ass. For the late night phone calls. For the tough love, pep talks, and guidance. Although I’m naive, inexperienced, and stumble along to accomplish things you can do walking backwards with your eyes closed in high heels, you saw my potential. You taught me I can’t change the world alone. I know I can ask you for help with anything (like editing this letter before I post it online) and you won’t judge me.

I want you to know the hours on the phone, afternoon meet-ups for coffee, and the occasional wine night have brought tremendous value into my life. Your guidance goes beyond career advice. You’ve helped me navigate through the chaos of being in my twenties. I don’t know where I would be without you, but I sure as hell know I wouldn’t be running my own company.

Because of you, I’m fearless. You have given me the ability to spread my wings and unleash my soul knowing that when I crash (not if, but when)you will be there to help me get back up. Your words of wisdom help me navigate through the never-ending chaos of starting a company. I’m convinced you have the powers of a master jedi. While you’re mentoring me through the crisis of sending out the wrong email on MailChimp, you’re managing your boss lady career at the same time.

I can’t help but compare myself to all that you have been able to do. I’ve learned more by watching you than I did my entire undergrad. While you stress the value of my 4.0, you and I both know the secret to success lies in mastering uncharted territory, territory you are willing to let me explore with you. Why? Because you see parts of yourself in me. And that is the biggest compliment of all time.

Thanks for everything that you do. Together, we will change the world.

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3 top criteria investors look for and what you can do about it.

You might think that investors are key to starting your business. In fact, sometimes you feel like your very existence is dependent on finding one.

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The truth is, you need to start your business before you get an investor. Think about it! Investors want to invest in something that will grow their wealth. Sure your idea might be the best thing since Snapchat, but you have to prove it. 

There are three criteria most investors look for when they’re analyzing a startup opportunity:

  1. That you have a killer idea
  2. There is a market for your idea- AKA people will pay for it
  3. That you are a talented entrepreneur

Combined, what do all three of these criteria prove? That a startup can make money and generate CASH. And how do you get cash? Sales. Here’s the ugly truth: To get most investors attention, you have to show sales first.

 

Every investor I spoke to about starting SPUR said the same thing: ‘Come back when you have some sales.’ I thought, ‘How!? You’re asking me to create something out of nothing!’ 

I know that you’re thinking the same thing as I was, ‘I don’t have a product to sell. What now? How can I find an investor?’ I have one word for you: CROWDFUNDING

Crowdfunding lets you raise cash from your social networks that are packed full of people who are passionate about you and your project. But here’s why crowdfunding is perfect for you: it helps you find an investor. Running a successful campaign proves to investors you meet the three criteria I outlined earlier. In addition to finding an investor, crowdfunding unlocks a ton of benefits and insights that every successful entrepreneur needs to know and we are here to help you reap the rewards.

Not only can you raise money on our site, we’ll help you do it, too. In Startup School, we’ll walk you through the entire process to help you get funded and launch your dream business. 

STARTUP SCHOOL: CLICK HERE & SIGN UP FOR FREE

With our help, you’ll be cashing out in no time. 

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Ready to make an opportunity that investors would be crazy to pass up? 

CLICK HERE & SIGN UP FOR FREE

Turning your passions into profits: How being creative landed this designer her own TV show

See how Kayln did it in this candid Q&A.

Entrepreneurship is totally a family thing, at least it is more me. From my intrapreneur sister, Lila, to my designer-turned-TV host cousin, Kalyn. Kalyn Rothaus, the host of Office Spaces, knows what it takes to work hard and break through even the hardest of industries. I can remember back to the days when she was in college bringing home her designs, my Aunt Kit looking at them and asking my 14-year-old self what I thought about it all. (Aunt Kit is the person I credit with kicking off my career- but that’s a story for another day). Kalyn has come a loooong way since college. She has her own TV show, just tied the knot, and is kicking some serious butt. I picked her brain for the quick-and-dirty about what it took to get here and how to brand yourself. Get the deets below!

 


What inspires you to work so hard?!

I am a goal setter and always have been. When I have measurable goals it is easy to work hard to get there faster and enjoy the hard work with perspective on the outcome!

 


How do you stay motivated to break through in such a difficult industry and always believe in yourself?

I truly believe I have always worked hard, but I have also had some luck! I think the combination of being at the right place at the right time in conjunction with hard work creates this magical formula in my life for opportunity.

 


You think outside of the box with your designs- how do you apply your creativity and innovation to everything in your work life?

I apply my creativity to everything in my life. I try my best to be silly, and not take myself too seriously which helps my creativity flow more freely. I find that when I was afraid of what people thought, I couldn’t be as expressive in my work and in my life. I am constantly reminding myself to trust “me” the most. Although, I do have to make clients happy too, so there is a fine line.

 


What is the number one piece of advice to you have for someone who wants to make a name for themselves and be successful?

Say yes. When I was asked to be the on camera Host for Office Spaces, I said yes, even though I was terrified (to say the least). I began to soak up everything around me and learned from everyone I could- from the camera operator to the production assistants, constantly asking what I could do better. I also watched myself on the monitor after shoots to understand how I could improve. The bottom line is, I said yes, in spite of not knowing what yes meant. The truth is, I believe I am smart enough to figure anything out AND ask for help when I need it!

 


Do you think having a personal brand is important? What advice do you have for branding yourself?

Well, before I knew I would have a TV show, I thought about this question a lot. I had no idea how to start. Then, I was thrown into an on camera role, and the most important thing I can do for my “brand” is be me. I am constantly being told what to say on camera, but I always pause and think about how to say things in my own words and express what I believe.  If you are your own brand (especially in a creative industry where we sell ideas and dreams that are not tangible at first) be your unique self and believe in what you create.

#SPURmoments: Olia Bosovik

Founder | Travabond
Assistant Director | Venture Development Center at UT Dallas

Olia Bosovik is a world traveller from Eastern Europe and an aspiring entrepreneur, who along with a few friends co-founded Travabond- a web platform for planning unique off-the-beaten path bachelorette trips and girlfriend getaways. Her team recently had a successful campaign on SPURstartup, that you can see here, to get this business up and going.

She graduated with an MBA from UT Dallas in December of 2015 where she came up with the idea for the startup and where her team took third place in UTD’s Business Idea Competition.Prior to joining UTD as an Assistant Director of the Venture Development Center, Olia worked in commercial lending for Comerica Bank where she got to work with small businesses, real estate development, and oil and gas exploration companies. When she’s not traveling, working on her startup or at work you can find her doing Pilates, playing tennis and sand volleyball, hanging out at a local coffee shop, and trying out new venues and things to do around Dallas.

 


Why do you want to be an entrepreneur?

I am passionate about working with smart, driven and creative people and about helping others. I get excited thinking  that one day something I created will make someone else’s life better and add value to them. I also like to be in charge of my own life and destiny.  I don’t like to be confined by rules and hierarchy. It was difficult to work for a large financial institution because of that. I am a self-motivated, fast paced, efficient, and impatient. I like getting things done and prefer to fix things that don’t work then wait forever to get something done just right. Most large companies do not operate this way, so I found myself feeling stuck working in that environment. I have also failed numerously in my life and have always come out stronger and with lessons that taught me how to do better next time. i think it’s important to understand that and be ready going into entrepreneurship.

 


How do you balance school, work, and your startup?

It’s all about time management. I worked full-time while I was getting my bachelors degree full time, so juggling multiple things  at once is not new to me. Prioritizing and making to-do lists is key an making sure to put everything in the calendar is what I try to do so I don’t forget where I have to be and when.

 


What inspired you to start Travabond?

I love traveling. It has always been my passion and a source of inspiration. I love learning about new places, meeting new people, emerging myself in a local culture, it changed my perspective of the world, and made me  realize how small we are compared to the rest of it. My passion for traveling and recognizing the pains of planning group trips inspired me to start the business.

 


What is it like working for IIE when you are a new entrepreneur yourself?

It’s amazing! Best decision I’ve ever made. It’s true they say: we must align our actions with our goals. I take pride in being  a part of someone else’s journey and supporting them, creating programs and finding resources to help other startups. One day tables will turn and I will be in need of support and I will have a network of people and resources to offer me the help and support.

 


What advice do you have for other aspiring student entrepreneurs who want to start their business in college?

Now is the best time. Quit planning and start doing. I wish we would have launched our website sooner. There is nothing to lose, I mean literally nothing. Most of us don’t have families, kids, mortgages etc to worry about, so even if the idea completely fails you’ll be so much more equipped to succeed with the next one.

What type of Entrepreneur are you? – Quiz time!

 

What type of Entrepreneur are you?

Take this fun quiz to discover what type of entrepreneur you are and how to leverage your skills!

Go Getter

You’re extremely motivated, confident, and optimistic. To you, the world is a place full of unlimited opportunities. You enjoy taking leaps of faith and frequently use your intuition to make decisions without hesitation. In the entrepreneurial world, you are an opportunist with a fearless attitude that drives progress.
Start capitalizing on your skills and pursue your entrepreneurial dream with SPURstartup!

Architect

You know that there is always a means to an end and strategy and planning is the best way to get there. You recognize the constraints on a situation and embrace them to find the best plan of action. You eliminate risk by planning ahead for your opponents move so that you can be in control of the situation. As an entrepreneur, you have the unique ability to navigate your plan of action ahead of time to make sure you stay on target and work efficiently.
Start capitalizing on your skills and pursue your entrepreneurial dream with SPURstartup!

Hero

You like to find solutions to problems that revolve around people. You’re kind hearted, cause-focused, and willing to take a risk. “Giving up” is not a word in your vocabulary, you’ll do whatever it takes to succeed. As an entrepreneur, you have the ability to be a social entrepreneur, using your talents to find solutions that can change the world.
Start capitalizing on your skills and pursue your entrepreneurial dream with SPURstartup!

Fixer Upper

You’re a jack of all trades, frequently using your wide variety of skills in a strategic way to solve problems. You thrive in collaborative working environments that allow you to serve multiple roles. When trying to solve a problem, you’re not easily discouraged because you know that perseverance will always lead you to a solution. In the entrepreneurial world, you often assume leadership roles because you have the ability to help with a variety of tasks to give strategic direction in all areas of a project.
Start capitalizing on your skills and pursue your entrepreneurial dream with SPURstartup!

Light-Bulb Guy

You’re a true innovator and always coming up with new ideas. You thrive in creative environments and have the ability to see opportunities from multiple perspectives. When it comes to risk, you have little hesitation and enjoy taking chances. In the entrepreneurial world, you constantly push the status quo with your fresh perspective and endless supply of new ways to solve a problem.
Start capitalizing on your skills and pursue your entrepreneurial dream with SPURstartup!
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6 Ways to be a great entrepreneur, grom a Shark Tank insider

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Business Development Manager | Mark Cuban Companies

Robyn is the Business Development Manager for Mark Cuban Companies and advises the SPUR team on all things startup. When she’s not getting me through another quarter-life crisis, she’s advising teams from Shark Tank and networking with every VC in the Dallas startup scene. Here are six ways to be a great entrepreneur, from someone who has mentored the best (and sometimes… the worst).

 

  1. Own your intensely fearless personality. “I love working with entrepreneurs because they aren’t afraid to try new things or think outside of the box. It’s invigorating to be around that energy!”
  2. Ask yourself, ‘is this the path of least resistance to something better?’ “Mark made this point to me once and it has stuck with me. What it means is ask yourself does this make someone’s life easier and when it comes to selling your product, put yourself in the shoes of your customer.”
  3. Know your customers and industry better than anyone else. “So many sales people try to push their ideas onto their customer but don’t find out what their customer needs to be successful and achieve their goals. Do this and then try to help them do it!”
  4. Teams are everything. “Persistence, time management and the ability to recognize your shortcomings” are characteristics Robyn looks for in good entrepreneurs. But no entrepreneur is good enough on their own. “Surround yourself with those who can have those skills. A leader is only as good as his team!”
  5. Don’t forget to thank those that help you along the way. “As new entrepreneurs, you’ll meet many people along the way that make introductions or mentor you if only for a short period. Keep track of these people and keep them close, nurture those relationships and don’t forget to thank them for their help.”
  6. Just ask! The best way to be a good mentee is to simply “ask for what you need!”