A couple of questions that are frequently asked at Spark! are:
- What did you do for your business yesterday?
- What are you doing for your business today?
- What are you doing for your business tomorrow?
Now, these questions might seem silly to you, but if you truly ask yourself, “What am I doing currently to help my business?”, you might rethink what you’re doing and pivot. Our mentor last year, Vince, said, “Every second that you aren’t working on your business is a waste of money.” John, my business partner, and I took this seriously.
Being a full time student and business owner is the hardest thing I’ve ever had to balance in my life. Teens have constant pressure applied to them by the school system; however, with our business, I’m constantly motivated because it’s all up to me. Throughout the years of going through school, people get awards just for showing up. When we show up for Spark!, we don’t get a pretty blue ribbon; we work hard to achieve what people are doing in the business world.
We do have an advantage: our motivation. The fact that we’re doing the same thing people ten years older are doing is motivating. It makes us feel like it’s possible to climb the startup mountain. When we’re put in a room with successful entrepreneurs and told to network, we’re automatically on equal playing fields because we’re all trying to achieve the same goal. Despite the age gap, we are all in similar situations.
I have a couple takeaways I have from the past two years at Spark!:
- Be persistent. I have learned that the only way to get people’s attention is to be persistent.
- Always pivot. The only way to be successful is to be able to change on the fly and be okay with it.
- I’ve also learned not to be afraid. I can’t tell you the extreme nerves I get when I’m told to introduce myself to big business owners, but I always try to remember that once, they were in my shoes.
Colin Waites, Parkway Spark! Incubator