A dozen teenagers gathered on a Saturday morning in Bethesda, MD to study entrepreneurship. Now, that was a sight to see.
Due to my 20+ year run as the founder and owner of a professional services firm, I was invited to speak at a session hosted by the Bethesda Entrepreneurship Academy. I realized after a quick review of the exceptional speakers recruited by Zain Yaqub (the Academy’s founder and a teen entrepreneur himself) that I needed a unique and unexpected topic.
My presentation, entitled “The Entrepreneurial Spirit: Wealth & Empowerment,” delivered just that. In what I believe was a refreshingly candid and entertaining style (hey, I perform stand-up comedy as a hobby), I sought to disabuse these future business titans of the notion that success is measured by your take home pay.
Rather, the value of business creation is in the ability to craft more meaningful and intimate relationships with family, friends, community, etc., while building a lifestyle which is consistent with a belief system.
Here are the five steps to business creation I offered during the presentation:
- Identify the things important to you in life.
- Make an honest assessment of your strengths and weaknesses.
- Define the personality type(s) you most successfully work with.
- Construct a business plan that aligns accordingly.
- Drip with self-confidence.
Did my message resonate?
Admittedly, it was hard to tell. The youthful audience was reasonably well engaged during my talk, yet the Q&A afterwards lacked any significant meaning or depth.
Perhaps it was merely a reflection of the date/time of the event? Or maybe I came off too much as a tyrannical type A?
Or, worse, this group may not be ready for entrepreneurship…yet?
The president of the Bethesda Entrepreneurship Academy sent me this thoughtful Email to clarity how engaged and responsive the students were to my thoughts about the meaning and value of entrepreneurship.
Dear Mr. Hausman,
Thank you for making the time to share what you have obviously spent decades mastering and delivering in your own company. We loved your talk and especially how dynamic your presentation was. After you left, there was a a great deal of classroom discussion in the second hour about the points you had made, and engagement on the ideas you had presented. Particularly on your stories about prioritizing what really matters.
At your request, your very generous visit with us was of a different format than the normal Q/A format that the entire class is typically run with. So some students may have been a bit hesitant to speak up at first, because of the departure from the standard teaching style. But I want to assure you that the students benefited greatly from your visit and from the lessons you shared with us. As we continue to work hard towards creating our own businesses, your wisdom will resonate and stay with us. We look forward to following in your footsteps – both as an entrepreneur and as one who gives of his time to his community, the way you did with your talk. Thank you again.