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Making Dreams Come True

dora the explorer eating an elephant one bite at a time
How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. (Dora the Explorer Eating an Elephant One Bite At a Time. Drawing by my niece, Sophia, when she was 9 years old.)

The end of the academic semester has always been a bittersweet time for me. I love teaching Entrepreneurship in the Arts and the students who find their way to me. By the end of the semester, it always feels like we’ve been through a monumental journey together. No one, not even me, is the same as when the semester started. I’m already missing my students.

Even after 11 years of teaching this class, I’m still excited to begin a new journey with fresh college students with different ideas and perspectives. Whether students in the arts realize it or not, many will be independent contractors when they start pursuing their craft as a career. This automatically makes them business owners, with all of what that requires.   

Everyone deserves to do what they love for a living. We spend so much of our lives creating our livelihood, so why not spend it doing something enjoyable? Helping students achieve their dreams and do what they love is incredibly rewarding. It’s fun to see what they do next.

In my consulting practice, I’ve helped people open and grow businesses for over 25 years and loved nearly every minute. I feel so lucky that I also have the chance to work with college students on the art of business because I get to combine four of my favorite things — my love of teaching, geeking out on business, all things creative, and helping people make their dreams come true. 

The hardest part of any dream is knowing how to get started. The fear of the unknown, questioning whether the idea will work, and dealing with the self-doubt that always tags along every time we contemplate a risky dive into something uncomfortable. 

I meet people all the time who have a fantastic business idea tugging at the back of their brain, but they don’t know if it will work or how to get started. Sometimes, they want to take their hobby to a professional level, are ready for more opportunities than they get at work, or are thinking about what they want to do to start phasing into retirement. Sound familiar? 

So, how do you start making your dream come true? No matter what you’re working on, the first step to any new endeavor is to have a clear picture of what you want. Defining the details and picturing how you’ll get there removes some fear of the unknown and motivates action. When we can see it, we can be it. (Check out the blog Manifest It for more.)

In entrepreneurship, we put all these ideas and details into a business plan. As my students can tell you from their big class assignment, writing a business plan takes a lot of thought and work. But it’s worth it. A business plan is a feasibility study; it’s required to get financing to start a business, and it’s a road map to follow to get the business up and running. 

No matter if you’re writing a business plan, an application for a grant, or any grand idea you want to make happen, creating a quality plan takes work! Here are some tips. 

1. Get detailed.  

 I read plans that say “the best product” or “great customer service” but don’t define what this means or how they intend to make it happen. Draw a picture with words to explain what the experience will be like in enough detail that the vision for the project can be clearly imagined. 


2. Do your homework. 

 What people feel or think about a project is not enough proof of its reality. Back up ideas with facts and figures. Research details about how much to pay people or charge for products. Study what’s happening in the market and what similar successful businesses are doing.  


3. Be specific. 

 Don’t guess what your costs will be. Shop for what is needed and use real numbers. Once your budget or loan is set, it can be hard to raise more money. No matter what project is being worked on, money will always be involved, so projecting what is going out and coming in is a big part of the plan. 


4. Work out the kinks.

Take the time to thoroughly consider the little details and tweak the original idea to strengthen the plan. It’s much easier to think things through before they happen than to try to make decisions while under pressure. The more that can be anticipated, the better prepared you will be for the unexpected. 


5. Get feedback. 

 Don’t be afraid to talk to people about the plan and ask for advice. The chance that someone can steal an idea in the exact same way is slim, but be sure to talk to trustworthy people. 


6. Listen to advice, but take it all with a grain of salt. 

 Everyone has an opinion. Decide for yourself what the best interests are for you and your project. 


7. No mediocrity!

 Creating a plan is a big job. Commit to take the time to do it well. The care put into a plan tells interested parties how much care is taken in making the dream come true. 

Sure, I talk about creating a plan like that’s easy, right? I realize I’ve been helping develop these plans for a long time, so what seems second nature to me may not be as easy to others.    

I am offering a Study Hall course over summer break to help people create their own business plan in 13 weeks. I’m still working out the details, but I plan to offer this as a webinar so anyone can participate, no matter where they are this summer. Everyone, including men, is welcome to sign up! 

If you’ve been thinking about starting a business, this course will give you the guidance, support, and accountability to complete the work within a reasonable time and take you closer to making your dreams come true.

If you’re interested in learning more, sign up for an invitation to attend a short online meeting to be the first to know more details. 

Now, back to grading business plans and figuring out final grades!

Headmistress Jill




Did you know I've published a book?  Learn more about it here!


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