Goins shared the story of how he built the blog Goins Writer, which launched him into his dream career and the lessons he learned along the way.
“I became a professional writer without leaving my job, getting divorced or flaking out on my friends,” he said.
First, he had to surrender insecurities and realize that friends, fans and patrons are essential relationships to achieving his dream.
Goins also emphasized that it takes many hours of practice to improve a skill or make a product marketable. That includes not only doing the work frequently but also getting feedback from people knowledgeable in the area.
His final lesson to students was to get rid of the “all or nothing” mentality and instead plan, build bridges and use byproducts.
In 2011 and 2012, Goins’ blog was voted one of the “Top 10 Blogs on Writing” by WritetoDone.com. His first book, Wrecked: When a Broken World Slams into Your Comfortable Life, spent two weeks in the Top 50 Books list on Amazon.com and is in second printing, selling over 20,000 copies in a matter of months. His most recent work is The In Between.
Alumna Kathleen Bond (’11) knew she wanted to own her own business, so she studied entrepreneurship while in the Honors Program at Belmont University. But it was two years later that the then-Turnip Truck manager would return to campus for insight at the Center for Entrepreneurship. With the guidance of professors, she and her parents purchased and remodeled a coffee shop in the Gulch.
“When we first started looking at Casablanca, background research could only get us so far,” Bond said. “We needed someone who could help us understand why they were trying to get out of the market and how we could make profits and lower costs.”
Entrepreneurship Professor Jeff Cornwall helped her parents see the big picture as investors, she said. Today Bond employs 17 people, including her younger brother and sister and oversees the 1,200-square-foot Bond Coffee Shop that serves paninis and bagels alongside its coffee.
Bond returned to campus again Wednesday to share her success story and promote her business during the second annual Entrepreneurship Village. In the amphitheater and surrounding the Bell Tower, 33 student- and alumni-owned businesses in the idea, early start-up and revenue generating phases showcased their innovation and creativity.
“I think by assembling this critical mass, we are able to share the quality, ability and volume of what’s been happening in the program. It is great for alumni to connect with current students, find interns and make contacts,” said Entrepreneurship Professor Jeff Cornwall.
Belmont students know finding industry gaps and solutions to meet the market’s needs are the key to entrepreneurial success.
For Lexington, Ky. senior Ross Hill, that path meant finding an alternative for traditional picture booths, which he found were too cumbersome and at times took up to an hour to set up. His solution, PictureBooth earned his startup $5,000 and him the title of “Outstanding Student Entrepreneur of the Year” during the Belmont Student Business Plan Competition sponsored by Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz, PC on March 15.
“PictureBooth was created out of necessity. It is a portable, shippable photo booth that creates social media for brands. It can be set up in five to 10 minutes and decreases cost by using social media to share pictures instead of printing,” said Hill, who already has gained Red Bull and Krispy Kreme as clients.
Although the competition prize winnings will enable Hill to manufacture 10 additional PictureBooths, Hill said it was Belmont’s entrepreneurship program that enabled his business to flourish.
“This competition has been a culmination of my last three and a half years at Belmont learning from all the entrepreneurship professors,” Hill said. “I had to prepare a pitch to get investment for this business, and that helped narrow the focus and figure out the target market. Preparing for a business plan competition shows you the starting and finish line so that you know where you are going and not wandering around aimlessly.” (more…)
Dr. Jeff Cornwall, Belmont University’s Jack C. Massey Chair in Entrepreneurship, was named Friday as the Entrepreneurship Educator of the Year by the United States Association of Small Business and Entrepreneurship (USASBE). Cornwall was selected from a group of distinguished nominees and chosen for his countless and enduring contributions to entrepreneurship education.
“To be named the most outstanding educator in one’s field in higher education is the highest compliment a professor can receive,” said Belmont’s College of Business Administration Dean Dr. Pat Raines. “Jeff’s professional accomplishments and the prestige that he has brought to Belmont’s entrepreneurship program make him an extraordinarily worthwhile recipient of this award.”
Dr. Cornwall said, “I am humbled to be recognized this way for the work that I do as an entrepreneurship educator.”
Past winners of the award include faculty members from Oklahoma State University, University of Texas (Austin), Stanford University, Purdue University and Baylor University, among others.
Belmont senior Tom Haarlander is paving his road to success through three entrepreneurship ventures that provide medical supplies, manufacture them in China and import the products into Europe and the United States. Although he expects to gross nearly $6 million between his three companies this year, the University gave him an unprecedented opportunity Wednesday to practice his pitch before venturing to trade shows to promote teeth-whitening cold wave lasers, anti-aging facial probes and medical optical lamps.
“[The Center for Entrepreneurship] brings stability to what you are doing. I can put my foot to the gas and run all over, but if I don’t have a solid foundation, it will fall apart,” Haarlander said.
Forty-two businesses participated in Belmont’s first-ever Entrepreneurship Village held Wednesday morning under white tents surrounding the Bell Tower. Thirteen alumni returned to Belmont for the village, including Erin O. Anderson, owner of artist management company Olivia Management.
“The best thing [about the village] is getting to know students at Belmont and getting to encourage them,” said Anderson (’06). “I tell them, ‘You may not be sure what you want to do, but you can do it on your own.’ It’s been fun to encourage students to start their own businesses.”
The village featured companies of various industries including smart phone applications, graphic design, videography, photography, music publishing, construction, vintage jewelry, custom apparel printing and textbooks. The purpose of the event was to display the innovation, creativity and success of Belmont’s entrepreneurship students and alumni. (more…)