Unpacking Entrepreneurship: Five Key Takeaways From June’s GET to Learn
By GET Phoenix
Our June 2023 GET to Learn offered valuable insights into entrepreneurship, with a panel of successful entrepreneurs from diverse industries shedding light on their unique experiences and lessons learned:
From left to right: Sloan Walters, Sean Coleman, Ryan Cordwell, and Dakota Jeane DiSanto
Sean Coleman: founder of TRACK, a vaccination management platform, and now embarking on a new venture to assist underserved self-employed entrepreneurs, freelancers, and creators in obtaining mortgages.
Ryan Cordwell: Creative Director for Eurosport, a prominent European auto restoration and service garage in Phoenix, with ample experience crafting captivating visuals and narratives that leave a lasting impact.
Dakota Jeane DiSanto: owner of The Social Media Manager with experience working for numerous businesses and influential individuals around the world to enhance their digital presence, including the Kardashians.
Sloan Walters: co-founder of multiple firms dedicated to financial wellness in the workplace and private wealth management.
Here are five key takeaways from our time with our distinguished panelists:
1. Purpose and Passion are Drivers of Entrepreneurship
Entrepreneurship is seldom a decision made on a whim. It's often sparked by personal experiences and an enduring passion for making a difference. To kick off the discussion, each panelist wove purpose and passion into their stories of entrepreneurial success.
For Sloan, witnessing his mother's financial struggles firsthand ignited his passion for helping others grapple with similar challenges, offering viable solutions to ease financial hardships and bring about positive change in people's lives. Sean's journey, on the other hand, began during the COVID-19 pandemic, swiftly identifying and acting on the increased demand for vaccine management solutions and demonstrating his commitment to making a meaningful contribution during a crisis. Dakota, a social media enthusiast, turned her love for connecting with people and sharing engaging content into a thriving business. Ryan's entrepreneurial venture was born out of a deep-seated love for the visual arts.
All unique and compelling in their own right, these narratives serve as reminders that at its core, entrepreneurship is about purpose-driven change and a burning passion to bring a vision to life.
2. Entrepreneurship Often Comes with Unexpected Challenges, Both Personal and Professional
The challenges of entrepreneurship are often multi-faceted, ever-present, and unexpected. Whether it was Sloan's fear about providing for his newborn child, Dakota's operational hurdles, Sean's feelings of isolation, or Ryan's difficulty assigning value to his work, the panelists highlighted how entrepreneurial challenges can affect both personal and professional lives.
However, each panelist demonstrated that these challenges can be understood, faced, and ultimately, conquered. Their stories serve as potent reminders that entrepreneurship requires resilience, adaptability, and continuous learning.
3. Understanding Your Worth is Crucial
A recurring theme was each panelist's struggle to recognize the value of their entrepreneurial pursuits. Ultimately, understanding and appreciating one's own value is not just about pricing services; it's about acknowledging the passion, expertise, and dedication invested in the work. Whether it’s Dakota’s struggle with invoicing or Sean's undervaluing services, all panelists emphasized the importance of self-worth and valuing one's time and skills appropriately.
While understanding your worth is critical, Ryan leaned into humility as a powerful tool for personal growth. In entrepreneurship, being humble is not just about recognizing one's limitations and weaknesses, it's also about fostering a relentless drive to learn, adapt, and evolve. It's the realization that no matter where one stands on the entrepreneurial journey, there's always room to grow, learn, and improve.
4. The Importance of Mentorship
The influence of mentors was distinctly evident in their impact on each of our panelists. Dakota shared her experience of working with a mentor from a New York fashion company. Sloan's mentor was not just a business advisor but also a guiding light in his personal life, showing that mentors can help shape your worldview and lend support in personal matters too.
As for finding mentors, Sean advised looking for people who are currently where you want to be in a few years. This not only provides a clear vision of what success can look like but also ensures that the guidance you receive is relevant to your specific goals. Ryan emphasized diversity and that mentorship is rarely static, explaining that mentors could come from any age group or experience level and that they will change as your goals and needs evolve.
5. Networking and Building Relationships are Key
One of the most resounding pieces of advice echoed by our panelists was the value of networking and building relationships. Whether you're just starting on your journey or you're looking to extend your reach, the panelists shared that being authentically engaged with others is paramount.
Starting from scratch in a new city or new industry can be daunting, but our panelists’ experiences highlighted the importance of taking the plunge. Dakota emphasized regularly attending events, starting conversations, and being your authentic self from the beginning. Ryan shared similar sentiments, stressing that the simple act of reaching out to others and offering your services can open doors to new opportunities.
Our hope is that the shared experiences and imparted wisdom from our panelists will inspire budding entrepreneurs to transform their visions into reality. We also extend an ongoing invitation for you to join us at future GET Phoenix events, where you can make new connections and further ignite your passion to make a meaningful difference in your personal and professional life, whatever that looks like to you.