It Will Fail, Fail, Fail
The year was 2000, Tiger Woods won golf’s US Open by fifteen shots, and the now historical event that is 9–11 was only a year away. By May of 2000, America’s graduating seniors were preparing for their first year at college.
To kickoff summer school with a head-start, I left in late May departing the third home and the third state I had known in three years to settle into a six-hundred acre spectacular college campus at the University of Colorado in Boulder.
If I had been honest with myself at the time, I couldn’t afford any of it. But, I went anyway.
I did what hundreds of thousands of other graduating high school seniors were doing at that time, I borrowed money through student aid accepting Federal funds in exchange for a roll of payment stubs that resembled a coupon book.
Well, except I hustled a bit, and I got lucky. Public college tuition prices were increasing, but they didn’t spike until about 2007. I got in early, and I walked the line applying for and receiving in-state tuition through emancipation. My father had past away when I was sixteen, so I had less paperwork proving I didn’t have parental support.
Four years later, I graduated with a few thousand in debt, not a few hundred thousand.
Still, that bone chilling feeling of signing a dotted line owing money I didn’t have a plan to repay was terrifying.
One of the now most common student loan repayment programs is called Income-Based Repayment. For anyone paying those, the temptation is magnetizing to liken these gutter infused repayment systems to an old-world debt bondage contract used during the American colonial era, called indentured servitude.
With literally hundreds of thousands of our youth leaving college with a mountain of lifetime debt, how can we help them claw their way out?
By getting them out of debt, we help our brightest and most motivated youth become better contributors and investors in our economy.
So how do we do it?
Perhaps we start by helping them borrow less money?
We can and should also do it through small businesses and startups. We can and should better educate and position our youth to start and grow their own successful businesses.
Biz Girls CEO Accelerator by the Rockies Venture Club provides an excellent example of the types of programs that help our youth learn to start and grow their own businesses they can execute before, during and after college to mitigate and pay any loans they may need.
When I started a business in 2015, I had well over ten years of experience in business. I completed much of the work in isolation… and mostly so I could concentrate.
Eventually, however, I started asking questions and reaching out about my progress to my networks and circle of friends and family. I asked many questions including financial questions about my budding startup.
Sadly, I didn’t hear positive beats. Instead, I heard this song play on repeat: Startups fail, fail fail ~La La La~ It will fail, fail, fail!
The first time I heard someone say my startup would succeed was from a mentor at the RVC Hyperaccelerator, and that was over two years after we kicked-off product development.
Instead, I continued to hear the tune— Startups fail, fail fail ~La La La~ It will fail, fail, fail!
Both Forbes magazine and my husband told me 90% of startups fail. My circle of family and friends had cold to luke warm reactions with mixed uncertainty.
That’s it. There was no further discussion or solutions offered to help me progress.
I returned to my office persisting and plugging away developing my new product, building my website, and preparing our social media pages.
I was in my office, until I wasn’t. We ran product testing surveys at the Flatiron Mall in Broomfield, Colorado. I was also eight months pregnant, so you can imagine how well those surveys went. I went back to running a few online product surveys.
I reflected deeply on the hammering negativity surrounding my conversations about startups, and it got me thinking.
Are other young people getting the same negative backlash when they pose a small business or startup idea to their networks? Are they afraid to start a new business? Do they have the tools and the support network they need to do it? Is it enough ingrained in our culture to have positive conversations about starting a business?
After all, we ALL seem to have an opinion about how to use Facebook, right? Why can’t we make starting a business popular like Facebook, Instagram or Snapchat? Because starting a business is hard work and expensive? Hhhmm, using social media like Facebook obliterates an enormous amount of American’s time every single day. Let’s ponder that.
Moreover, our Federal Government certifies hundreds of thousands to each of our graduating seniors to attend undergraduate and graduate schools, but do our youth come out with the skills they need to start and run their own businesses?
With hourly wages and salaries failing to keep up, it seems the entrepreneur’s path remains the most promising solution. And I’m betting our young professionals can do it.
This article was written by Kristin Miller, Founder and CEO of Colorado startup, InMotion Albums. InMotion was named a CES Innovation Awards Honoree in Digital Imaging in the same category as HP and Samsung, and was featured by the Consumer Technology Association (CTA)™ hosted startup-themed broadcast media tour. InMotion is currently ramping up manufacturing preparing a pre-sales campaign for August, 2017.
Reach Kristin at email@example.com, www.inmotionalbums.com