Hi e31. friends. I’ve been meaning to publish this post for a while now, so I am super excited that today is finally the day!
Many people don’t know this, but the concept of e31. first came to me at the beginning of my 3rd year at UVic- well before the launch of this blog- and truth be told, starting a blog was never in the picture. One night, I was complaining to Adriana (my roommate at the time) that I had nothing to wear for my presentation the next day. My words were literally, “I would go out and buy a new outfit, but I don’t know where to go and I am tired of wearing the same blazer that almost every other girl in business wears”. Adriana sarcastically/not sarcastically said, “well you like clothes, why don’t you open up your own store” and that was when the “ah ha!” moment that triggered everything happened. I silently whispered to myself, “why don’t I?”
I quickly understood what it meant to be preoccupied with a business idea that would consume my thoughts almost every hour of the day, which was perfect timing as I was going through a break up and needed the distraction. e31. (at the time called b.martens) became my BHAG -Big Harry Audacious Goal- and all I wanted to do was was work on it: whether that be conducting research or reaching out to essentially anyone who I felt could provide constructive feedback and direction.
In the second semester of my 3rd year, I entered a small “PitchIt” competition at UVic where I had 120 seconds to pitch a business idea to a panel of judges. Leading up to it, I was extremely nervous and I went back and forth with whether or not I should enter it. My hesitation was two-fold. For one, I was nervous that someone would run with my idea once I “released” it to the public, while the second reason had more weight to it. I was scared of putting my idea and essentially myself “out there” as it was either a really good opportunity to succeed and progress to the next stage or to set myself up for rejection and criticism. Having considered the pros and cons, I figured I had more to gain than to lose, so I entered the competition and pitched it on January 24, 2014. To my surprise, I was 1 of the 5 winners, not to mention the only girl! Here is a youtube video (that I made public for the sake of this blog post) of myself practicing my pitch the night before. Since then, the concept of the store has evolved and I am even more excited about it today than I was back then. I get a kick watching myself but this is just another one of those things that I am learning to get comfortable with. (Don’t mind my unmade bed!)
What I Learned.
Looking back, now a year and half later, I can tell how much I have learned and grown both personally and as an aspiring entrepreneur. For one, I’ve learnt that there a ton of great ideas out there, however, very few people actually follow through with them. One of my professors, Brent Mainprize, is notorious for saying “an idea is worth nothing, the execution is worth everything”, which I would agree with. Having said that, you do need a decent idea to get started. To support this, I’ve also learned that ideas for the most part are so personal to the founding entrepreneur that even if someone does take your idea, they can’t take your passion and motivation: which in my opinion, are non-substitutional essentials when trying to start a business. Pitching in front of complete strangers (not to mention all men who would gain no value from a store like mine) gave me the confidence to talk about e31. more openly and since then, I have been able to get people’s input on it and the idea has become much more refined over time.
I’ve also learned through starting e31. (the blog) that once you start talking about your goals and the words come out your mouth, or in this case, typed onto my screen, it actually drives you more to pursue them. I feel as though I have this blog to keep me accountable. In fact, studies have shown the significant difference of what happens when people express their goals in one way or another instead of keeping them to themselves.
I never understood how people could drop out of university/college being so close to completing their degree until my 3rd year. However, I had made a promise to myself and my parents that I was going to finish my degree, so e31. was put on the back burner while I completed the remainder of my academic semesters and accounting co-ops.
I am back at UVic completing my final semester of my BCom with my semester specializing in entrepreneurship . I feel as if the semester was over before it began as it is only 3 months long, ending at the beginning of August. So far, we have been learning how to be objective entrepreneurs who fail forward fast, pivot, fail forward fast, pivot.. well you get the point. This summer, groups have formed around different business ventures in which for some teams, they are working on a hypothetical business plan and then for other teams, it is a business that they want to actually pursue post graduation. e31. and I fall into the latter.
With much anticipation for this entrepreneurship semester, I knew I could finally allow myself to make e31. the priority as it would become my entrepreneurship project. Finally, I am able to work on e31. to a greater capacity and I have loved every minute of it thus far as it continues to evolve each day.
I am so excited to share with you a bit about what I am working on this summer and more importantly, the incredible women who I get to work with to help bring e31. to life! In the next few posts, I will be e-troducing my incredible group members, or as I call them, e31. collaborators: Lindsay, Meghan, Bonita and Ellyn.
I want to leave today’s post by encouraging you to go for it. Whatever it is that consumes your thoughts- be like Nike, and just do it! I’ve learned that the only thing stopping you can be yourself and once you get over your insecurities, doubts, or whatever it may be, the sky’s the limit.
Thanks for reading yet another e31. post and until next time, work hard and be nice to people!