This is a story about an 18 year old kid, and her first trip into the world of business.
I promise you..it is also about YOU, especially if you’re trying to build a business of your own…any kind.
Gloria is a smart kid. REALLY smart.
How smart? She’s about to graduate from high school and start Yale in the fall.
That leaves this very ambitious young adult with two months to have her next adventure. She’s looking for a paying gig, preferably doing something in her intended field, which is biomedical engineering.
Not much call for summer jobs for aspiring biomedical engineers, although you never know.
She’s also considering being a tutor. She sure has the grades for it…and the patience.
The conversation turned to how to market her tutoring service (which she hasn’t even officially begun yet). As smart as she is, she has absolutely zero experience in marketing…other than she did a good enough job marketing herself so the admissions committee at Yale accepted her application.
If you think that’s simply based on grades and test scores, let me tell you…there are a whole lot of valedictorians and nearly perfect SAT scores applying to Ivy League schools. Many of them are turned down. Supply and demand.
But yeah…this is a different kind of marketing.
I told Gloria the first thing she has to do is figure it who her target audience is. Who will be willing to pay for a tutor? Since she has such great skills, she can choose lots of different potential audiences. Elementary school kids who are struggling with basic skills. High school kids trying to catch up from a rough year. Kids who want a good score on the SAT or ACT.
I asked her to drill down a little more. Who is paying the bill? Who is the competition? What sets her apart from them? Price? Personal service? Skill level?
It was all kinds of fun to watch someone who had experience success in chemistry, physics, calculus, introductory engineering…wrestle with the basic principles of marketing. Price elasticity, law of diminishing returns, features vs. benefits…these were the first time she’d ever heard of any of these. She asked if I had majored in business or economics.
(Answer: my undergraduate major was psychology. I took one economics course and passed by the skin of my teeth. But I’ve been living the principles of marketing for about the past ten years. So this is real to me. Plus…even though I got a bad grade, I actually did learn something in that class!)
So as I write, Gloria is wrestling with these fundamental business questions.
My guess is that she figures it all out, comes up with a plan, and creates some magic.
She’s used to stretching for new knowledge. And she doesn’t enjoy failure.
But rather than avoid it by not trying, she avoids it by staying open to learning and working harder.
Pretty good combination!
Now…if you plug those attributes into YOUR life, watch what happens!
You might not get into Yale, but it won’t matter. You will have graduated from the Real Life U!
What have you learned that was a stretch for you, but you did it anyway and got the benefits?
What have you tried and failed at, but are committed to getting back on the horse?