This year has been a wild one. When it come to being an entrepreneur and growing a business, you have to be adaptable. Even more than entrepreneurship, the key today is online entrepreneurism. CEO Alli has a passion for helping others. Check out her piece below on what is normally a recap of her annual speech to the Governor’s School for Entrepreneurs. This year? It was virtual.
“Hi! My name is Alli and I’m an entrepreneur.”
“Hi Alli!” used to echo through the auditorium as the Governor’s School for Entrepreneurs students gave me a warm welcome to their class.
Used to. That’s the operative phrase. Now comes online entrepreneurism.
Each year, for the past 6 summers, I have been asked by the amazing staff at the Kentucky Governor’s School for Entrepreneurs (GSE) to come and tell my story to their students. And I have to admit, it’s one of my favorite speaking engagements of the year. A huge auditorium filled with like-minded people who were interested in what I had to say and gave me their undivided attention?! Why yes, that’s every teacher’s dream come true.
When I first started speaking at GSE my topic was on value proposition…
“How does your product or service outperform what is currently on the market?”
I loved talking about how I came up with the idea for Wicked Sheets and watching the student’s go through that “Click. Boom!” reaction. Then I would walk them through a short fill-in-the-blank exercise about their own product or service and then CLICK. BOOM. They’d get it. Why THEY are at Rockstar status and so is what they are creating.
And then after the 2nd or 3rd year, the staff said, “Why don’t you just tell them the Wicked Sheets story? They’ll get the value proposition formally in their classroom lessons. Your story will teach them more about what it takes to be an entrepreneur. You know…resilience.”
“Huh,” I thought to myself. “Are they saying I haven’t made it yet?”
Absolutely not. It is actually one of the greatest compliments you can receive as an entrepreneur. Because that means you’re not dead yet.
So today I want to take the opportunity to give that compliment right back to GSE. YOU ARE RESILIENT. Your organization is exemplifying what it means to be an entrepreneur – to online entrepreneurism.
This year, their website reads, “COVID-19 has brought new challenges for all of us. As entrepreneurs, we love challenges. We also know that entrepreneurs are needed now more than ever before. But, above everything, we value your safety and well being. We are going to push the boundaries of what is possible when it comes to translating GSE into a hybrid virtual experience and are collaborating with our statewide partners so our entrepreneurs will be working remotely from Paducah to Pikeville this summer. It’s going to be a really unique experience for all, and an example of the power of collaboration.”
Their pivot to online learning and online entrepreneurism was remarkable. Obviously I’m unaware of what the “behind the scenes” transition looked like, but from the guest perspective, it was seamless. I received an email with a link to join Hopin at my designated time slot and viola! There were all of the students smiling, eager young faces to the right of the screen along with that same warm welcome, “Hi Alli!”, but this year…typed.
Congratulations GSE 2020 on a job well done. The efforts you dedicated to online entrepreneurism in a time of uncertainty, was something that I am certain none of your students will forget. From online meetups to speakers that spanned the globe, your pivot was a success. And also, congratulations to the online entrepreneurs who completed the program. Just by showing up, you exhibited the resilience you need to stay on your journey as an innovator and a contributor to our great entrepreneurial community.
Despite the fact that 2019 was exciting because it was in-person, where handshakes and hugs were abound. The love and compassion that filled my screen in 2020 was just as exciting.
Here’s to a few more months of continued online entrepreneurism!