Lessons in Entrepreneurship

Summer Intern, Amisha Patel, brings her entrepreneurial spirit to her work at Kalypso

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By: Amisha Patel

When I took on the task of writing a blog from an intern’s perspective, I was excited and knew exactly what I wanted to write.  Now I’m sitting at the Honda dealership waiting for my car (I’d planned to write my blog entry here), and I realize I have no idea what I’m going to write.  While I’ve been here, I’ve procrastinated by eating some popcorn and started writing a first draft talking about my first year at business school - which I’ve now abandoned. 

So what do I really want to tell you?  I want to talk about what I learned in my entrepreneurship class. At first, I thought this is a strange topic, considering I’m going to be a consultant for the summer. But there are quite a few similarities. Let me explain. 

In the class, I learned how to write a business plan, how to secure financing, how to develop a product and other best practices for starting a company.  Most of those things you can learn in a book or on the Internet. Thankfully, a large part of the class involved guest lectures from local entrepreneurs, including a former Kalypsonian, Craig Ceccanti.  Listening to entrepreneurs describe their experiences starting new businesses taught me about how to approach just about any new endeavor. 

First, I learned that everyone has some self-doubt - especially regarding what they can and can’t do. No business ever started without a looming fear of failure. Doubt is normal. It means you are a person who challenges yourself and tries new things. Doubt enables people to ask for help, try new approaches, and show humility. 

I realized that once we can recognize doubt as step in the process, we can then move on to execution. No business can succeed without someone pushing it forward. At some point, you have to stop writing plans and execute. In general, I spend far too much time figuring out exactly the right way to do something. I’ve realized how much time I waste trying to get things perfect. I’ve learned that there will never be a perfect time for anything. Life is not in your control. Things will happen that you don’t expect. Don’t wait for the perfect plan or moment because it will never arrive.

Once the ball is rolling, mistakes are inevitable. No one is perfect and no business grows without mistakes.  Sometimes the best ideas and changes come from mistakes.  I learned to be forgiving of both others and myself when mistakes do occur. Knowing that I will make mistakes doesn’t diminish the effort I put into my work. It just means that I’m willing to put forth the effort to do something new. If it doesn’t turn out perfect, it will be ok. There is always a chance to try again.     

The spirit of entrepreneurship has taught me how to approach new ventures like my journey at Kalypso this summer. Despite my excitement to join the Kalypso family, I’ve realized that I’m nervous.  Doubts have been creeping into my head.  Will I be able to apply what I’ve learned in school to my work this summer?  Will I be able to provide value to the client?  Will I enjoy the travelling?  As I ponder my abilities, I’m reminded that I should expect to feel uncomfortable and have some doubt. After all, I am beginning something new. Despite my nervousness, I know I must dive into my Kalypso project this summer. Taking the risk of travelling and consulting on product innovation will lead to new knowledge, some successes, and hopefully only a few mistakes! Growth requires taking on new challenges and projects.

In the end, I hope that my experiences at Kalypso (doubts, successes and mistakes) help me grow professionally and personally.

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