You Can Make An Impact with Entrepreneurship
By Jefferson Cooper
August 24, 2022
Since I was young, I’ve wanted to leave a big impact on the world and was convinced that I was capable of doing so. From that initial conviction, I had a realization that entrepreneurship is how I was going to make an impact. To where I am now, at the conclusion of LaunchX, I’ve grown tremendously. With each business that I’ve started, I’ve developed skills and learned lessons that I’ve been able to carry into each successive endeavor. This is my personal journey through entrepreneurship.
The Decision To Be An Entrepreneur
Starting out on my path, I was convinced that the only way to make a big impact on the world was to become a politician. Although I wasn’t really a fan of the idea, I didn’t see any alternative. However, during early 2020, as I sat bored at home, I took an interest in Elon Musk. At that time Elon was propelled into the spotlight with Tesla and SpaceX. I realized that business was an even more rewarding approach to change. Musk set out to win over the public with electric cars, and his results since then can speak for themselves. I found this inspiring because it showed that, if you make an idea appealing enough, you don’t need legislation to convince people to take on positive behaviors.
The Entrepreneurial Way Is To Use Personal Networks
At the same time that I was having these ideological realizations, I heard about a program through Junior Achievement where, with the aid of volunteer mentors to provide guidance, I’d work together with other kids in my area to make our own company. It was perfect timing. I checked out their website page, planned out my application essay, worked hard to edit it to maximize my odds of getting in, and was admitted. Working together with 16 other kids in my area, though still virtually, we succeeded in building a social media marketing business and achieved a few hundred dollars in revenue!
The biggest value gained from the experience, rather than the money, was definitely the learnings. For example, we were struggling with finding clients when utilizing cold calls and cold emails to different businesses until we got advice to consider advertising specifically to our own personal networks. Putting together a flier that we could get our family and friends to share on their social media and send out, we suddenly found we were having people reach out to us asking about our services. One of the biggest lessons I learned here was that it’s helpful to look to your network for your initial sales, so I knew, in my next venture, I wanted a product that I could sell to people I know.
Teamwork Really Does Make The Dream Work
During my college research process, I learned about another business startup program: LaunchX, an intensive 5-week summer program. It sounded like the perfect space to sharpen my entrepreneurial skills. I knew a lot about what I wanted from my previous experiences – namely, a product with a legitimate MVP that I could sell to people I know, and I was able to get all of this and more during the LaunchX Summer Program. I’ve learned how to program in a new language (Swift) and built an app using a high-level API that was only released by Apple in the prior year. I also conducted my first ever market research interviews to help decide what our product should focus on.
Ultimately, I’d say the biggest area of growth was my teamwork ability. Each team has a maximum of 5 people and we only have 5 weeks to achieve startup success, it’s that much more important to be effectively communicating and making sure each team member is contributing. Because of the importance of everybody, I also got some excellent practice with communicating with my teammates, finding out their concerns, and then trying to find ways to address those concerns. Even our startup idea went through the process of being shaped by different perspectives and that helped it to develop into a more viable business opportunity.
At the end of the LaunchX program we launched a viable business with $325 of real sales. You can watch our Demo Day video here.
The Conclusion of the LaunchX Summer Program
My entrepreneurial journey has been a challenging but fun one so far, and I appreciate LaunchX for helping me improve and learn as I built my startup. LaunchX is great because you learn a lot from the experience when it comes from teamwork and collaboration. If you’re in the program, you’re already pretty good at whatever is your specialty. But trust me, this program will take you to a whole different level. At LaunchX it really feels like what you’re doing here is where you’re supposed to be at that moment. You come up with this product that you really believe in and it’s up to you to get over everything in your way in order to make it a reality. That feeling of overcoming your barriers is excellent.
I can’t wait to apply all the lessons I’ve learned to my future endeavors, as I strive to continue to make an impact. If you are looking to start your entrepreneurial journey, I highly recommend the LaunchX Summer Program.
25 August 2022
Congratulations to Cooper and all youth who made great strides in their abilities!
29 August 2022
LaunchX was another meaningful step on your journey. You acquired several valuable new skills. It’s an interesting thought about effecting positive behavior through entrepreneurship.