Understanding the Importance of a Vision

Devin Lars, the Co-Founder of Doing Everything Different, spoke to a group of students from Suffolk County Community College last week about what it means to have a vision and be a visionary.

To be entrepreneurial means taking a vision, sometimes one that no one else can see, and turning it into a reality. Devin’s story is one that illustrates the true power and importance of having a vision for whatever it is in life that you would like to strive towards and achieve.

Your vision might be to become a published author, or to work with animals, or to start your own business. Our visions are as unique as we are as individuals, and the best vision is one that reflects who you are and what you care about at your core.

When it comes to Devin’s vision, he choose to Do Everything Different. From how and his team designs clothes, to how they approach celebrities to wear their clothing, to other services they provide. He saw something that no one else saw that reflected who he was. Devin took that vision he had in his mind and turned it into a reality.

Will you be a visionary? Will you be someone who takes a vision and makes it a reality?

Check out Devin talking about what it means to be a Visionary below.

watch?v=ZMAIYyAJjCE

 

 

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Three Principles

I’m consistently amazed and inspired by the entrepreneurs that I’ve had the opportunity to meet while on the Extreme Entrepreneurship Tour.

The Extreme Entrepreneurship Tour visited Lubbock, Texas over the weekend and inspired and motivated students from WorkForce Solutions.

James Chapman, an entrepreneur, story teller, and overall passionate guy had the students on the edge of their seats during his presentation. His personal story was inspiring, he mixed in countless jokes, and his energy was sky high.

James shared three principles that his mom taught him to live by, and each of the three principles really resonated with all the students in attendance. They are:

  1. Always act professionally

    • Growing up in a difficult part of Chattanooga, TN forced both James and his mother to start from a different place than most people would start. But he knew that is not where he wanted to end. To make sure his end is not defined by his start, James focuses on always presenting himself in the best way possible.

  2. Take advantage of your opportunities

    • Opportunities show up from time to time for anyone with their eyes open. They may be something small, to work on something you are passionate about, or to be promoted in your organization. James advised to always take advantage of the opportunities that comes your way… but to also remember that like Thomas Edison said, “Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.” Do that work joyfully.

  3. Work as hard as you can

    • James reflected on the long hours that are required to start a business and run it successfully. You only have a certain numbers of hours in every day to take advantage of, so it’s important to do the hard work. Notice what you’re shying away from; find an accountability partner; just do it. As James exclaimed throughout his presentation, you need to “Hustle, hustle, hustle!”

Almost every student talked with James after his presentation, and I know that between them and our team there will be many people stepping up after hearing him!

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A Willingness to Help

Flying into New Orleans, I could still see some of the damage done by Hurricane Katrina, now nearing ten years since the storm. Downtown New Orleans still had buildings with visible water level marks from the crippling storm. I couldn’t even imagine what it must have been like for hundreds of thousands of residents to come back to their city and begin the clean up.

But it was evident for our team that New Orleans was a city that banded together, and became stronger from such an utter tragedy.

While at Delgado Community College, the Extreme Entrepreneurship Tour spent an afternoon with a few hundred students, giving them stories, tricks, and tools to help them on their own entrepreneurial journeys.

As the day progressed, many students began exchanging contact information, and even a few ideas. When an attendee asked if anyone knew someone with commercial kitchen space, three people offered to allow her to use their space. It was really powerful to see so much selflessness in one room.

The people of New Orleans are all individuals that have fostered a willingness to help others. It is through this willingness to help each other that they rebuilt their city, their houses, their businesses, and their community.

The wikipedia entry for New Orleans notes that it is known as the “most unique” city in the United States. It is a city filled with personality and culture, but most importantly people who can and do create big things.

And now, they have a thriving local business economy all stemming from countless individuals that are willing to lend a helping hand.

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Why You Should Start Today

Each and every single one of us start at a different place in life.

Skyler Sutton is a young, serial entrepreneur, currently CEO of both Rain and MyChamberApp. He’s got a list of accomplishments that would be the envy of many young business people. But his success wasn’t the focus of his keynote presentation last Saturday at a regional FBLA conference in Susanville, California.

When he took the stage to speak to over 450 students breaking from presentations and competitions, Skyler opened up about his difficult upbringing and business journey. He shared the grave details of not being able to afford much, including how that led to wanting a Happy Meal more than anyone I’ve ever met.

But the start is not the end, or even the middle.

Skyler started with little, instead of letting little stop him. With very little money, and his brother for a partner, Skyler started an aquarium service and cleaning business that grew to over $750,000 in revenue. He took action every single day, and created something he was passionate about… even if the original goal was simply not to ever miss buying a Happy Meal with his friends again!

We all start from a different situation. We all experience different things growing up. What we all have in common is that our path to greatness will not be easy. We all have our own share of doubts and insecurities. We have our own reasons we think we can’t.

But we get to choose whether that is where we stop or where we start.

We  also all have in common the ability to start from anywhere, and to go anywhere. We can start a website, launch a KickStarter campaign, provide a service, or change the world in our own unique way.

We are the first generation to have to ability to start almost anything, from our phones. We can start a business, build an app, or launch a product.

So start! Research something you’re interested in. Reach out to someone who could help you. Build the first prototype. Serve your first customers. No matter your background, or circumstances, your IQ or GPA, start something today. Take little actions every day to move closer and closer to your dreams, and don’t ever give up on what you started.

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Stanly Community College – October 13, 2014

The closing panel at last Monday’s EET event was like none other. The 300+ youth in the audience were so impressive; it seemed that the more questions that were asked, the deeper and more impressive they got. The participants at this event were soaking up every drop of knowledge our panel of experts had to share!

Along with 3 other amazing entrepreneur panelists, Bradley Todd shared many words of wisdom. One of the crowd favorites (and turned out to be a quote of the day) was his answer:

There are many ways to skin a cat.

Brad shared this old southern expression after being asked what he learned though being entrepreneurial. The saying speaks to innovation. That if one way does not work, you just have to be creative to find another way.

After the event, Brad invited EET Moderator, EJ Carrion, and Keynote Speaker, Devin Lars, out to see his his farm after the event. The EET team took a 20 minute drive through the NC country to find Lucky Clay’s Fresh, a very innovative aquaponics farm that produces fresh fish and organic produce. They raise tilapia and freshwater shrimp in the greenhouse, along with a wide array of organically grown, seasonal heirloom vegetables.

Learn more about how aquaponics works here!

The team had a BLAST at this event and are were so incredibly impressed with the interactive extreme future  entrepreneurs in attendance!

 

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IWCC – Sept 25, 2014

Does your idea stink?

Brittany Hodak, co founder of ZinePak was the featured keynote speaker at the recent Iowa Western Community College Event in Council Bluffs Iowa on September 25.

Brittany has seen a lot of success in her company and now lives in a Manhattan sky rise that has more people occupants than her entire home town back in Oklahoma.  She made it clear that she was no different than the students sitting in that room. She too had an idea, and she was determined to make it reality!

She shared about how being a CEO can be really awesome (most of the time) and gave her Top 12 Entrepreneurship Hacks for the students in attendance.

Brittany calls herself an “accidental entrepreneur” because she didn’t even want to be an entrepreneur until she got fed up and Googled “how to start a company.”  She had a great idea, but no one would listen.

The night before her presentation, Brittany was addressing how most people don’t want to share their idea because they are afraid someone would steal it. I wrote down what she said, because it makes so much sense:

Ideas are easy. Execution is really hard. Someone can copy your idea, but they won’t be able to copy your passion.

You should not be afraid.

Don’t be afraid that someone is going to steal your idea. In fact, you should share your idea with as many people as possible. The people you trust not to steal it (your BFF, your Mom, your roommate, etc.) will LIE to you; they will lie because they love you. Try to find people who will have honest discussions with you and can bring points to light that you can’t see.

Brittany’s advice is to come up with a GREAT idea (really, make sure it does not stink) and tell people about it. Everyone you possibly can. When they question you, be able to PROVE that it is a great idea and trust the passion that can’t be duplicated.

 

 

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SEMCA – May 13, 2014

JUST JUMP. 

EJ Carrion asked for a volunteer in the middle of SEMCA’s EET event. Young Frankie raised his hand. EJ told Frankie that he was about to get the BEST prize of the whole event… and proceeded to give him a piece of tape. Yes, thats right, a piece of tape.

“Aim high…”

EJ asked Frankie to place a piece of tape on the wall with as high as he possibly could.

Frankie  walked up to wall got on his tippy toes and even did a little jump to get the tape as high as possible. EJ looked at the tape, looked back at Frankie, and said “Okay, not too bad… BUT I think you can go even higher than that.”

EJ then pulled out a $10 bill and (using his jumps) to taped that $10 bill about a 12 inches higher than Frankies “highest possible” reach. By placing the bill even higher, EJ gave Frankie a new goal. If he could reach it, the $10 would be his.

He jumped. Miss.

He jumped even higher! Miss.

He got a running start. Jumped. Slammed into the wall. Miss.

He got on the first step next to the wall. Jumped. Missed.

(I have a heart palpitation because I’m not not sure if the Tour is insured for this…)

He got on the SECOND step next to the wall. Jumped. Missed.

(You think you see where this is going…) 

He got on the SECOND step next to the wall. Jumped. But guess what… Frankie grabbed it!

The audience burst into applause and I started breathing again. In EJ’s happiness he turned him into the hulk and he ran over to pick up Frankie then did a victory lap around the stage.

Turns out, he tape was not the prize after all. The prize EJ was referring to (the best prize of the entire event) was actually two very important life lessons:

 

1) The importance of GOAL SETTING

2) The importance of INNOVATION and RESILIENCE.

Thanks to Frankie for these awesome lessons!

What did you take away from it?

Written by Laura MacMinn (laura@iempact.com) 

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Pushing through

I wasn’t sure what to expect from Brittany Rose, the Founder and CEO of More Than Cheer. Which is a recreational sports management company based out of Virginia. But after she stepped onto the stage at Suffolk County Community College, I was immediately inspired. Her confidence, her pose on stage, her passion in her voice for helping young people become more entrepreneurial, was something that had the audience members on the edge of their seats throughout the entire presentation.

Brittany spoke to over 300 high school and college students about how she had to continuously push through, and never give up on the things in life she so desired to accomplish. Brittany shared her inspiring life story of how More Than Cheer came about, and also how she became to be a part of the Baltimore Ravens cheerleading team.

And it resonated with the students in attendance, student’s swarmed Brittany after her presentation, and throughout the entire event. She was a rock star in these students’ lives, because she gave so many of them hope and inspiration to push through difficult, somewhat daunting situations that many of the students were facing. She even gave me the kick in the pants I needed to push through with some difficult situations I was dealing with.

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What it’s like to be on tour with Extreme Entrepreneurs

The Extreme Tour just completed a four-day road tour in California with Arel Moodie as the moderator, and Devin Lars as the keynote speaker. We had more fun then I could have even imagined, and throughout our four days together I captured the sights and sounds of what it’s like to be on tour.

Monday

We started the week in San Mateo, CA with a quick stop at FedEx and Trader Joe’s. After arriving at our hotel, Arel and I headed to downtown San Mateo in search of some incredible food. We hit the jackpot! I had a kale salad and an all-natural energy drink.

Tuesday

The following day we arrived at West Valley College for our first of three tour events. It was an excellent event with over 300 students participating throughout the event. Arel Moodie had the students on the edge of their seats, and Devin Lars helped students understand their vision.

Tuesday

We then quickly packed up, and headed to Skyline College to get prepped for the following days presentation. Arel and I didn’t get too much prep work in, seeing that we both fell asleep in the van shortly after arriving on campus. (Wish I had a picture).

Wednesday

The event at Skyline College was another huge success. We had a bunch of local high school students attend, and helped advance the mission of Skyline College to give more and more students the opportunity to pursue entrepreneurship as a career.

Wednesday

After packing up, and saying goodbye to the event hosts, and sponsors, Arel and I headed over to see Devin Lars’ office and shop. Devin is the Co-founder and celebrity fashion designer of Doing Everything Different, a positive clothing line that is inspiring people across the country.

We also enjoyed some incredible food, compliments to Garden Fresh, which is a local vegan restaurant in the San Francisco area.

Thursday

We finished up our week at Chabot College with a bang! Over 275 students came out and listened to Arel and Devin talk about how to take an idea and make it a reality.

Thursday

Talk about an incredible week of fun! We finished the week with a tour of a local startup in the San Francisco area and ate a mountain of food at Benihanas.

It was an incredible week, filled with excitement, energy, inspiration, motivation, and determination.

I can’t wait to do it all again!

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If You Can’t, You Must

Chad French, a high-school dropout, turned computer geek, turned successful internet entrepreneur, inspired everyone in attendance at Eastern Florida State University with his presentation titled: If You Can’t, You Must.

Mr. French spoke openly about his hardships from his early years, the countless businesses that failed, as well as the early successes. Chad didn’t leave a single thing out of his life story, literally spilling his guys with the 500 + students, faculty, and staff in attendance.

And the students of Eastern Florida State University gravitated towards Chad’s very inspiring story. He received two ovations from the crowd and almost brought some students to tears (myself included).

“If you can’t, you must,” is such a power statement on so many levels because it reminds you that if you feel like you can’t do something, you must press forward and take action. And to finish that quote from the famous motivator Anthony Robbins,  “and if you must, you can.” If you must, you can. If you believe in yourself you can do anything you set your mind to.

Chad French illustrated to all the students, faculty, and staff in attendance that if he can become a successful entrepreneur, then every student, faculty and staff member  can as well. All it takes is passion, perseverance, and dedication.

Always remember, “if you can’t you must, and if you must, you can.”

Thanks Mr. French for being a part of the Extreme Entrepreneurship Tour!

 

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