The Summer Student You Wish You Were VS The One You Are

At the end of the semester you day dream about summer and all the things you swear you are going to do once you have more time. You start dreaming of three blissful months filled with adventure, memories, and a beach bod. Well folks, were are one month in… how you holding up? Here are some expectations VS reality: Summer Edition!

Dieting

Them
You

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Exercise

Them

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You

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Socializing

Them

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You

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Vacation

Them

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You

Sleeping

Them

You

Learning

Them

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You

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Maybe your summer is a lot like this. Maybe it’s not. But it’s not too late to turn it around!

Interesting ways to continue learning this summer

As great as it sounds, you should try not to make these things a habit this summer:
  • Taking 3-hour naps at 4pm, resulting in falling asleep at 4am that night
    Scrolling aimlessly through TLs, forgetting that a world exists outside your bedroom
    Not reading SPURblogs


Yes, there are the typical ways of staying mentally active this summer: internships, summer class, being an apprentice for a shoe maker…

But if you aren’t doing those things, here are several interesting ways you can continue exercising your noggin!

    1. Summer jobs- Even the simplest dog sitting job will give you the satisfactions of playing with pups, practicing organization skills, or even sparking a new business idea!
    2. Summer camps- Whether you are a staff member or planning to attend, social events are a great way to network and gain experience.
    3. Start your business- If this seems like it’s impossible to do, I bet you you’re wrong. Our site has tons of useful blog posts up about the problems you may run into an a community that can answer any question you have.
    4. Traveling- Check out this link on why traveling is an important thing to do when starting a business
    5. Do your own research- Take it upon yourself to find what markets are growing in your city or scour the internet for crazy unknown products. This could spark interest or inspiration in a field and, you guessed it, lead to a new business idea!
    6. Try to get social media famous- Pick a platform and make a cool profile whether it’s about your fashion sense, the foodie within, or photo-shopping yourself into pics with celebrities (and yes that’s a thing). Since it’s summer you probably have more time to shoot and post to grow a following!

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If none of these are things you plan to do, at least challenge yourself to try something completely new. Take kickboxing classes, learn a new language, take a stab at a form of art, even if you’re bad at it…

Whatever it is, keep your mind pumping. Your brain is like a car in that if it does nothing for a long period of time, the insides wear and there is much to do to get it running like normal the next time you need it

Be aware that you don’t need the traditional ways to feel like you gained something. The key is being proactive and doing what you say you will, and there is usually always something to take away from the experience.

Work on vacation without opening your laptop

You’re in the snow caps of Colorado, on a cruise the the Bahamas, wherever the summer has taken you, adventure awaits, but you don’t want to miss out on startup gains!

Have no fear. Traveling and seeing the world IS working on your startup. You’re giving yourself a much needed brain break, spending time with those you care about, and learning in an entirely different way than you do at home.

So much can be gained from relieving your mind of your common daily routine and opening it up to new experiences and adventure. So learn how to gain the most when you are being the least hands on with your business. If you don’t believe this can be done, here are the simple ways to be on vacation but still impacting your startup without ever opening your laptop.

 

  1. Enjoy yourself

    First and foremost, remember that this is your vacation. You set aside this time and paid money to do this. So relax. Your mood will improve and you’ll become more energized to work on your business upon returning home. All you have to do is think about the rest of this stuff, and you’ll be set!

    Down to read more, that is!

  2. Understand what there is to gain

    Go in with an open mind that witnessing new cultures, trying new foods, letting go of all the stress can have a serious impact on your live. Not only are you learning new ways of life and the history behind it, you are building your self awareness and where you fit into the world. The way other groups have solved a certain problem their whole life may be different than how you’ve done it. Ask yourself why? Is it a regional thing? A social thing? Does it work better than how you do it? Can you carry these practices back home and apply it to your idea?

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  3. Take pictures

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    Going in with the task to take pictures should make you more observant and open to what is going on around you. Take your eyes of Twitter and look around. Observe the sights and sound and let it sink in that you are in a new place. Capture these moments for your own recollection as well as seeing what you can find on your trip that is photo-worthy

  4. Write down what you learn

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    On the plane ride, car ride, or hitch-hike back home, reflect one some things you learned on the trip. I challenge you to write down 3 things you learned and ask others around you to participate. It can be about what you learned while going on a hike, or what you learned about someone else on the trip, or something you think you could apply to your start up.

GET OUT THERE: Using your free time to talk to customers

It’s summer, which means you are free from school, have time to hang out, and can get moving on your business. This time is particularly great for going out and talking with potential customers about your concept since more people are out and about. Engaging with potential customers is an involved and personal activity, so use this window where you have freedom to schedule time and put in that extra effort to reach out them.


The ability to introduce yourself and steal a few minutes of someone’s time is daunting but necessary. Approaching random person and asking them for an opinion on your concept can be awkward, but if they can provide you with actionable feedback, the exercise could be the most valuable thing you do. Here are some things to consider:

  • Realize that they are people, too. We interact with people every day, this time it’s just with someone you don’t have a previous connection to, and that’s okay.
  • There is always something to gain (more often than not). Meeting new people and talking to potential customers can provide insight, opinions from different background, and a new contact.
  • No harm, no fowl. Sometimes the conversation may get lead down a different path or you receive criticism. Still, these things are important to — but not let bring you down. if anything, you’ve improved your communication skills.


Now when going through this exercise, there are three types of people you need to be concerned about:

  1. Potential customers that do not yet know about your company (the vast majority of people)
  2. People that know about your company, but are not currently customers
  3. People that are already purchasing your product (if you are this far in the startup journey)

Consider these questions for each category. These will help you identify potential trends where you can make an immediate change to your concept:

  1. Why is this person unaware of my company? What are the best ways to reach them?
  2. Why are they not customers if I know I can help them and my product is better than what is currently available?
  3. Why do they continue to come back? What could make the product better?

Again, try not to get discouraged if the first couple people you approach ignore you, it will make the feedback you do get more valuable in the end, guaranteed.

A challenge to you: introduce yourself to five people you think could fit into your target customer profile and sell them on your concept and share your experience here. *

*This should be an exercise you are constantly practicing since things change so quickly. Having a pulse check on your customers will make the difference in being proactive with making decisions rather than reacting to an unexpected event.

How to beat summer laziness and work on your startup

Summer heat got you down? Putting textbooks away make you feel like productivity shouldn’t exist? Too tempted to chill with friends or take a road trip every other weekend?

What if I told you, you can work on your startup this summer, progress on your idea, and still get a good amount of adventure in? Well, believe it! Here are 5 tips to help you accomplish this!

1. PRIORITIZE
What needs to be completed for you to feel satisfied with your progress? Sometimes life and work can get overwhelming.

First, make a list of all the responsibilities you’ve got going on this summer like work, summer school, vacations (pft, responsibility…). Then, make a list of attainable milestones for your business you want to reach by the end of summer along with what you wish you could do for fun (examples: survey 50 potential customers, read a book each month, exercise more).

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Don’t forget that summer is a time where YOU get to choose what you will be doing and no one gets to tell you otherwise. Analyze your lists and find what is realistic for you to wholeheartedly complete. Maybe you take some things off your plate. Maybe you move some things from the wish list to the do-list. Keep in mind, just because you take something off your plate, doesn’t mean you can’t come back to it in a few months.

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Most importantly, make sure to leave room for friends and family and designated days where you don’t think about work at all, for your sanity!

2. DELEGATE YOUR TIME AND STICK TO IT

No matter what you’ve got going on, anything can be done with time management, dedication, and coffee.

Organizing your time at least a week in advance will help you identify and execute needs as well as give you the reins to decide when you work and when you play.

You’ll then find the nooks and crannies of time where you can squeeze chances to work on your startup, see the bigger picture, get more done, and maybe even have a good night’s rest.

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Here are two resources to help you hustle while making room to live life the same time:
Todoist– If you’re a solo startup, try this guy. It’s simple and easy to use, displaying daily and weekly to-dos. Premium features (like reminder alarms) can be added for a cost. Also, get productivity tips emailed to you when you subscribe to their newsletters!

Resource: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.todoist

Trello- A SPUR favorite! Make categories, set deadlines, attach teammates to the tasks and more. This is great for if you have a team and want everyone to be in the loop.

Resource: Trello.com
Now it’s your job to stick to it! The more you do, the more likely you’ll immensely make progress on your goals. Just becare to not to over work yourself (see number 1).

3. STAY MOTIVATED

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Surround yourself with like-minded people. Are they other entrepreneurs? Hobbyist? Your family? Keep these people close to you and converse with them frequently. They can help to fuel your interests, get your creative juices flowing, and keep you on track.
Follow motivational pages. You know the ones. They have the sometimes thought-provoking, sometimes cheesy quotes pasted on an aesthetically pleasing background. Search for the pages that speak to you and get you pumped!
Follow your dream companies. Keep tabs on the companies that you look up to. Whether it be for their success, what they stand for, or how they present themselves online. Remind yourself that you could be like them one day if you try hard enough

4. LEARN HOW TO START A CONVERSATION

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We are always looking for the right person to join our business who we click with and bring complementary skills to the table. A network is a group or system of interconnected people or things. But these connections don’t just happen.

HISTORY FLASHBACK: Steve Wozniak (co-founder of Apple) was introduced to Steve Jobs by a Bill Fernandez who went to highschool with Jobs. WHAT IF WOZNIAK NEVER SAID HELLO TO FERNANDEZ OR VISE VERSA? Wozanaik might not have ever met Jobs, and you wouldn’t be reading this on your smartphone or laptop.

Being out of school can make it harder to connect with others, so start that small talk with your neighbor at a coffee shop. Tell people what you are working on at any (appropriate) event. You never know where it could lead you! Yes, I know what you’re thinking, and no, they won’t steal your idea. This is a common fear between entrepreneurs among many others. Don’t let this hold you back from connecting with the right person to help you potentially making serious strides for your company.

5. GET OFF THE COUCH

Very rarely does success fall into someone’s lap. You might be asking, how do I meet these potentially wonderful partners and make connections? Sure, it may be hard if you don’t know any industry-specific people you can turn to. But once you have the resources, the rest is up to you. So here we are…giving you the resources! Click here to find another posts that talks about finding groups of like-minds, organizing opportunities to connect with them, and what to do once you’re talking to them. Now the rest is up to you!

NO EXCUSES: 5 ways to find opportunities, maximize resources, and MAKE things HAPPEN

Finally! School is out and you are ready to let all the knowledge you’ve just spent two semesters obtaining, pour out of your brain and lock itself in a drawer for 3 months. BUT WAIT.

Summer is actually the best time work on your startup because a) you no longer have to worry about maintaining grades and learning other people’s work and b) you get to make your own schedule and learn things for YOU.

We really believe in utilizing this time to progress on your startup and truly figure out the needs and hows of your business. So here are a few resources that are great for doing just that!

  1. Your Network Firstly, you already have resources at your fingertips! Professors, mentors, friends, family, that guy you met at a workshop, two heads are better than one! Never be a afraid to reach out to someone for a little advice or even just to run some of your ideas by. Another person’s perspective provides clarity and may even spark inspiration.
  2. MeetUp Don’t feel like you have a strong network? Never connect to professors during the year (you should!)? This page is AWESOME for meeting up with like-minds and helpful resources in your area. Join groups such as “ Rock Climbers”, “Robot Fighting”, “Dallas Foodies”, or anything related to where your startup lays and have opportunities to meet up and share ideas with these people. Find your group, there are thousands to choose from!

  3. SPUR Community Our community is full of students just like you, riddled with questions, eager to share advice, and seeking ways to improve themselves as entrepreneurs. Join our family to stay in the loop! We are working hard to release our mentorship program and online curriculum, but it’s not too early to hop on the community and start talking to other studentpreneuers.
  4. City Newspaper Here in Dallas, we have great publishers like Dallas Innovates and Dallas News. This may be a great source for you to continually be in the loop of what’s happening in your city and how you can join in on the action. If an article really speaks to you, reach out to the author and introduce yourself. Be genuine! You’ve now made someone’s day and you have a connection for a possible story to be written about you when your startup begins seeing success.
  5. Be the captain of your ship It’s up to you to make shit happen. Waiting around will never get you anywhere. You are in control of your journey and where your business will go. We know it’s hard. We know some people have better luck than others. So, email people, re-email people, make phone calls, make prototypes with paper and glue, print flyers and put them on every car. You are able to do more than you think. When there are limits, get creative. When you think that you can’t, prove yourself wrong.

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Hope this get you pumped during your days off!