Why I Started 2 Small Businesses
(Holey Waffles & Ryan Squared)
August 5, 2018 | 10:34 PM | Personal Essay
I had an idea to sell snow cones at my university during a long week of temperatures stretching into the triple digits. After getting a snow cone machine from my house, I bought a ton of syrup from Smart & Final. To my surprise, I wasn’t the only one who thought people would like snow cones. The next day Student Activities decided to give out snow cones for free. So that was kind of a bummer. But it got me in the mood to start a little business.
My first two years of college were focused on completing my Gen Eds. In fact, the only business related classes that I did have were macroeconomics (still a Gen Ed) and an intro to accounting. When I started in the fall of 2018 at The Master’s University, I began to take quite a few of my major classes. It was in these classes where I began to really develop the mindset of a marketer. I started over analyzing advertisements and focused on how companies branded themselves.
After my failed attempt at selling snow cones, I had an even better idea that would make up for the failure. I wanted to use the tiny business I would create as a marketing experiment where I could test all sorts of things out and learn what it really takes to start and run a business. I figured it would be better to invest a couple hundred dollars into a business and see if I actually like running a business and marketing it before I pursue down the path. After a couple trips to Target, lots of hours of planning with my buddies Pablo and Stanford, and a trip to FedEx to get some laminated menus, I had officially started Holey Waffles. I’ll have another post with stories from Holey Waffles and some lessons I learned, but the main objectives of the business/project were this:
2. Have Fun.
3. Break Even.
If I met all of these, I would call my little experiment a success. Holey Waffles really expanded my knowledge base of how stores work. It taught me what a POS (Point of Sale) system is and how it can be used to track so many different variables about customers. A POS system is the technology behind a businesses cash register and used to check out guests when they shop.
I’m still learning and I’ve continued on with my second business, Ryan Squared. I create wooden decor for dorm rooms and sell them to students. I enjoy woodworking. And I think there is more behind it. My brain is task-oriented and I feel accomplished when I complete a project, like making a table for someone. As for my future, I’m hoping that these little business experiments help prepare me for a marketing job down the road.
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