“I would like to kill you. Never write something like that again.”
These are lines from an e-mail I received about two years ago. The reason? The person read an article I wrote for my former business, an internet magazine called On The Wall (OTW). The reader felt that my article, a music piece, did not give sufficient praise to his favorite band -- The Beatles. Luckily, after I calmly replied to his e-mail, he apologized to me.
Although OTW did not make millions of dollars, and did not become a case study for business schools around the globe, it boasted over forty volunteers, made thousands of dollars, and most importantly, had a tremendous impact on myself and others.
I began OTW when I was 19. My peers and I wanted to gain valuable experience in our chosen career paths without waiting until we finished school. These fields included: journalism, marketing, finance, accounting, web development and graphic design. Also, we felt that we did not have sufficient outlets to write about controversial issues. Issues like: how to ‘divorce’ your parents, ‘schoolism’ (when someone stereotypes you based upon your program of study), and the problems associated with snobby people.
What were the impacts of OTW? One was the opportunity to meet amazing people. To promote the magazine, staff members and I organized events. One such event was a pub crawl. At a particularly busy pub we handed out OTW ‘taste test’ flyers and lollypops to each person standing in line. The ’taste tests’ were paragraphs of featured articles with the OTW URL at the bottom. Those that received the flyers chatted with our staff members, and some numbers were even exchanged. (There were great “pick up” possibilities for many involved, indeed).
As members of a real business, staff members and I were able to join professional associations -- such as the Association of Internet Marketing and Sales. At the associations we met experienced businesspeople, exchanged ideas and received advice. I am still in contact with some of these people today.
Learning valuable skills was another benefit of OTW. I learned what I call the ‘off pattern’ theory. Nearly all people whom you associate with have a regular pattern. An example of this, is when someone always replies to your e-mails 10 hours, 3 minutes and 22 seconds after receiving them. If this person takes longer than said time to reply to your e-mail, it likely means that there is something wrong- perhaps they are mad at you, or perhaps they are swamped with work.
No really, I learned valuable skills such as people management. I had never managed any employees prior to OTW. For example, when our first Marketing Director was very behind on all his projects and I urged him to work harder he said, “I’m just a volunteer! I’m not being paid!” 'Staff member of the month' awards were immediately instituted thereafter to recognize people's hard work.
In addition, I learned to really assess whether someone would follow through on a project that they committed to, after their initial enthusiasm.
Needless to say, the professional opportunities I received as part of OTW were amazing. I received one full-time paid summer job opportunity due to my experience, plus several other jobs indirectly. Employers recognize the unique learning lessons one gains from being an entrepreneur. Other past OTW members received job offers due to their experience with OTW as well. One received a high profile job in journalism, and another, a great job in personal finance.
Although there are many benefits to becoming an entrepreneur, know that running your own business is not just learning, gaining professional experiences, and meeting new people. It’s a lot of hard work, risk-taking and luck. Plus, depending on your type of business, there could be the occasional death threat….
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| Nov 3rd, 2004
Good article! It's very interesting to find out how you learn new things that can be very valuable in life.
Re: My Internet Magazine Biz Ginger Blythin
| Nov 11th, 2004
I laughed when I read the bit about your ''off-pattern" theory... it is *so* true!
Congratulations Zouaoui Mostari
| Mar 3rd, 2005
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