If You Could Go Back – A Young Enterprise View
Here’s a story from two people who are still at University but have dipped their toes into the commercial world.
Working with two future entrepreneurs from Arts University Bournemouth (AUB) allows you to take a step back and see through the eyes of others who are to embark on their own journeys.
Working with two second year students via the Young Enterprise Start-Up initiative, Laura Schofield (top right) and Emma Caswell (top left) progressed their small business (L-E) to the national finals last month. The whole journey had nothing to do with winning awards and accolades but the first exposure to having an idea, bringing a product to a marketplace and interacting with an audience.
While many of us are progressing our businesses, it’s important to look at the merit of others who have their own hopes and aspirations. It brings us to the question, “how would you look at the world as you approach the last year of study?”
What Are Your Hopes For When You Graduate?
Laura – When I graduate next year, I really hope to find some fun and exciting illustration/animation work to get stuck into! I would love to meet some great creatives, perhaps a little more experienced than myself, who can help me find my feet within the industry. I just want to get involved and hopefully make a living from doing my dream job.
Emma – Ideally, I hope to be recognized by a design or illustration agency, which would then help me to gain experience and pursue my career further. I hope that I will be given the opportunity to continue building my portfolio whilst working with a variety of clients. At the moment I am looking into writing and illustrating my own books, and so my biggest hopes would be to succeed in this area of Illustration.
Are you looking at graduation (in 2015) and the transition to a professional world with anticipation, fear, opportunity?
Laura – I see Graduation and the transition to the professional world as a great opportunity. The whole creative industry is constantly evolving and it is something I cannot wait to be part of. There is so much to look forward to, my whole life up until this point will have been spent in education – this is what I will have been waiting for!
Emma – Obviously, the idea of graduating can be daunting, having spent three years and a lot of money on studying, but I am a positive person, and I am optimistic that graduation will lead to a whole host of new and exciting opportunities. Taking part in the Young Enterprise Scheme has taught me a wealth of knowledge about the professional world. Ultimately, I have developed many transferable skills that will hopefully put me in a great position for developing my career after graduation.
I am excited that soon I will be able to put all of my practice to use in the professional world.
Has working with an initiative such as the Young Enterprise Start-Up made you more aware of the commercial world? ie. selling to an audience, building a dialogue with people, having to pitch your ideas to strangers
Laura – Working with Young Enterprise Start-Up has definitely made me more aware of the commercial world in terms of selling to an audience and building a dialogue with people, as I now understand how there is a great difference between being told how everything works, and actually doing it. My management of time and finances along with my communication and presentation skills have flourished due to taking part in such an amazing opportunity and I have learnt some invaluable life lessons that will stand me in great stead for the future.
Emma – Most certainly! There are certain things in life that you simply cannot learn in the classroom! When it comes to delivering a pitch or a presentation to a large group of professional people, it can be very intimidating, and this situation is not something that you get to practice in a real world environment. Young Enterprise Start-Up has definitely given me that step into the professional world, and is going to be a great help once I have graduated.
Do you think that you have the skillsets that many are still learning to use in the professional world ie. the use of social media and how you built the LE audience on Twitter and using sites such as WordPress.
Laura – I think being part of my generation, I am very lucky to have grown up surrounded by technology and social media at the point that it started to evolve into what it has become today. Using sites, such as Twitter, were particularly useful in building an audience for my Young Enterprise Start-up Company: L-E, as it is a free tool that we utilised to build a larger network within the creative industry. I have also been playing around with blogging sites such as WordPress and Tumblr for a few years now, and so, I feel very fortunate to have grown up around these tools, rather than having to physically learn them.
Emma – I think that in my generation we have all very quickly adapted to using social media on a variety of platforms. Social media has quite possibly become one of the largest worldwide selling tools. It is difficult to say whether I have the skillsets that others may not, but it can be said that some people like to stick to what they know. It is very easy to get comfortable using the same techniques and tools. But the digital world is transforming at a rapid pace, and we all have to be prepared to adapt.
We are now able to share our stories with people at the touch of button without even leaving the comfort our homes. Twitter gave us the chance to speak with other businesses, create an audience and promote our brand, without spending a penny. The digital world is becoming more and more accessible and so why not use it to your advantage?
If I Put You In A Time Machine To 2024 How Would You Like To Have Seen Your Professional Career Develop?
Laura – If I were put into a time machine and zoomed to 2024, I would like to see myself as a well-established professional illustrator, working on some larger projects that are helping to make a difference and educate the world in some way.
Emma – Within ten years, I would hope that I would have become a successful illustrator, with a lot more knowledge on the professional world. Although I am not 100% sure on what I will be doing once I have graduated, I would like to think that I would be successful. Who knows, I could be running my own business, L-E could have re-started and we could be a large, successful brand! All I know is that I am going to continue taking every opportunity that arises and putting all of my effort into it! If you want it enough, you can do it, it just takes time, patience and hard work!
If Your 2024 Self Sent A Post-It Note Back To Your 2014 Self, What Would It Say?
Laura – “Only do what makes you happy.”
Emma – “Take every great opportunity and try your best. Don’t take anything for granted. Be optimistic, and don’t give up! You will get there in the end!”
As Laura and Emma continue their studies and look to embrace the commercial world in 2015, we are all now in a place where those who are looking to make a stand are building skill sets and competencies that we are all getting to grips with, namely the social web and the affordability of technology to create, curate and distribute information to build an audience.
I wish Laura and Emma every success, two talented and creative individuals.