Recently, I was invited for an interview by a successful entrepreneur, Rick Meekins, managing parner of Aepiphanni Business Consulting. Rick's team produces the Off-the-Cuff podcast, an inspirational and educational podcast for entrepreneurs. One of the topics for my podcast interview was: What people and events inspired me in my journey as an entrepreneur?
Reflecting on this topic and my journey as an entrepreneur for the last 30 years, I came to realize that many people influenced and guided me with their wisdom, expertise, knowledge, and methodologies. These insights resulted in many successes as an entrepreneur and career professional.
In preparing for the podcast interview, I reflected on the learning I’ve done and experiences I've had over the years. This blog series and associated in-depth articles that will follow will share the wisdom and guidance that was shared with me by successful entrepreneurs and business practice professionals.
What's driving your interest in pursuing an entrepreneurial lifestyle?
Achieving success as an entrepreneur requires mastery of several disciplines and learning a great deal about the many aspects that make for a successful business venture.
In the series of blog posts and articles that follow, I'll share the successful entrepreneurs and business professionals that taught me how to succeed as an entrepreneur and professional business IT consultant. I'll also share my own innovations, best practices and lessons learned over the years.
In the 1980's, the Internet's World Wide Web was beginning to take off with the business community. In the professional office space, personal computers like the IBM PC and Apple Macintosh were beginning to replace dumb terminals connected to behemoth mainframe business computers.
As a recent college graduate of an electrical engineering technology program, I had several years of business experience under my belt, from working my way through college and as junior high school student, helping on the weekend with my parent's small business ventures.
My path to entrepreneurship was a fork in the road to success as an employed engineering technology professional.
Shortly after entering the work force, I began to see unfulfilled market opportunities that I could satisfy with the academic education, business, and technology experience that I had gained over the years.
My instinct to apply gained knowledge, experience, and resources to meet a perceived need kicked in, and a small business entrepreneur was born.
In 1978, my journey as an electrical engineering and computer science student began at the State University of New York (SUNY) at Farmingdale. SUNY Farmingdale’s Electrical Technology Class of 1978 program graduated 36 students, from a total of 600 who enrolled in the program. The curriculum was challenging and professors were tough, often pushing students beyond their limits with coursework, assignments, and preparatory work that would help ensure employment on graduation.
After graduating from SUNY Farmingdale with my A.A.S. degree in Electrical Technology, my plan was to continue my studies at the prestigious Polytechnic Institute, where I would earn my B.S.E.E (Bachelors of Electrical Engineering) degree. On graduation, I’d have my pick of employers who were competing for graduates of Polytech’s engineering program.
Six months before graduating SUNY @ Farmingdale, I received a generous employment offer to work for a large, industrial electronics manufacturer, Hazeltine Corporation. I accepted the offer, and went to work soon after graduating from SUNY Farmingdale, as a computer terminal electronics technician in Hazeltine’s commercial products division.
In two short years, I graduated from working on the factory production floor to working in an office space. I was now engaged supporting the product engineering design team, providing computer terminal customers with technical support, and developing educational programs for customers that maintained their own Hazeltine computer terminal equipment.
At the time, I didn’t realize that I had begun my career as a professional technical analyst, engineering consultant, instructional designer, and trainer.
After a few years of employment with Hazeltine Corp, the entrepreneurial bug bit me. Earning a salary with benefits, and engaged in a bachelors of computer science course of study, I decided to open a computer consulting business to serve small businesses and large business enterprises that were local to the community where I worked and lived.