When it comes to business there are tonnes of challenges. The first one for me was learning how to spell entrepreneurship, a task that I have struggled with daily since being part of The Accelerator Program in The Centre for Entrepreneurship. Six months down the line, I am now a pro at spelling this and don't have to rely on spell check (Well I rarely do!). This blog post is about my time from graduation until now and the random but exciting opportunities that I've pursued.
My first real experience of being entrepreneurial was during my final project during my degree back in the summer. I studied Product Design and for this project, I worked with Cardiff School of Art and Design to design and make a shop for CSAD's new building on the Llandaff campus. This was the most exciting project by far and truly was the biggest challenge I had ever faced, due of the sheer size and scale of the project. With the massive amount of support from lecturers, technical demonstrators and other students the shop was finished just in the nick of time for the degree show and was filled with amazing Art and Design work by students that went on sale to the public. I really enjoyed working with all these students and finding out about their different inspirations and techniques to create their own personal masterpieces. As well as this, engaging with the public and trying to gain sales was fun but also somewhat interesting. Some customers would be reluctant and generally rude, some ready to buy, some needed just a little convincing to part with their cash. At the end of the week, CSAD SHOP made just shy of a thousand pounds and really proved a great triumph for the students of CSAD as well as myself.
After managing my own small enterprise I felt like I could take on the challenge of setting up my own business. With this in mind I attended a lot of events put on by The Centre for Entrepreneurship, applied for the Incubation Space within CSAD, The Accelerator Programme ran by The Centre for Entrepreneurship and Simply Do Ideas and also took part in Countdown to Launch where I was awarded funding to start my business by Santander. Winning some money towards my business back in the summer really gave me the push I needed to take the initiative to give starting a business a go!
For me the biggest challenge since September has been to keep confident. When setting up marketing plans, designing new products, services and approaching customers it is really taking a stab in the dark for me, and alongside this, I am doing it alone, which for me created self-doubt and fear of failure. To top this off money is also involved and keeping afloat personally is an added stress.
When speaking with my father upon returning for Christmas I was told I seemed quite down. When asked what I had gotten up to I realised that outside of my part-time job and developing a business I really was not living the lifestyle I wanted. Another, heart-breaking question I was asked by a friend was "am I going on holiday this year?" To which I responded "no". Travelling is a real passion of mine and is something that has caused me to ride the end of my quite large overdraft for quite some time now. Thank you my bank for the fantastic memories! At the point of realising I wouldn't be doing what I loved, I then knew I needed to do something.
For 2017, I decided that I was going to start earning decent money. I was happy to do this by either running a business or dare I say it, getting a full time job! When updating my CV this year, I had realised how much I had developed professionally. I am a person who hates writing the dreaded CV, however this time round because of the great range of Entrepreneurial skills I have gained and experienced whilst working with The Centre for Entrepreneurship and Simply Do Ideas; I could write a really strong application for a job, work experience and internships.
The question for me at this point was whether getting a job was a cop out and was I just running away from the hard work? Would people be disappointed in me? Why would I want to work for someone else? Will I regret not finishing what I have started? Or on the other hand have I actually made the smartest decision of my life?
Within two weeks of starting job hunting, I have had an interview for a very respectable interior design company in London; I'm awaiting an interview for a paid internship at a well-known gallery and to top it off I have been offered a job in product development for a start-up company. Not too shabby.
So whether you are setting up a business, going freelance or looking for a job; boosting your entrepreneurial skills and applying them fully, I believe, really do go a long way and will bring a lot of opportunity.
I guess the moral of this article that I would like to share with everyone is that The Centre for Entrepreneurship is not only for people interested in setting up a business, students that aim for a job can also benefit from what the team offer.
The first challenge of getting involved with the Centre though is learning how to spell Entrepreneurship!
Blog post by Product Design graduate Sam Serrano