Everyone Goes To College To Get A Job, Not Start A Business by Joshua Chavez
Josh Chavez: My electrical engineering classes. Probably some of the most boring classes on the planet.
Everyone that is in college is going to college to get a job. That’s the foundation of college. Eheh! I won’t say everyone. But I will say a majority of the folks. And that’s no fault of their own because the world need hot, insanely type-A driven CEO’s, owners and investors. All the way down to the workers at 7-11 and McDonalds. And it’s weird how a lot of entrepreneurs start down here and end up here. So the mindset at my school (for sure) was “Hey, what job are we getting out of college? Let’s make the best grades so we can get the best G.P.A. so we can get the best job and make the most money (in most cases).”
I think I surrounded myself with a group of people who were all studying engineering, different facets of engineering. Anywhere from mechanical to industrial even. And I kind of found this niche of guys which I lived with. I mean…we talked about business all the time. Because we were all consuming similar content to what we mentioned before. We were all listening to these amazing podcasts. To mention a few, like The Art of Charm podcast was the first one I really dove into. It was talking about self-improvement, referencing Jesse Itzler and how he started his company NetJet and how he’s now married to Sara Blakely and just all these different things were just hitting at once. We would come home from school or from classes we just hated. I mean my electrical engineering classes, some of the most boring and confusing classes on the planet. Looking back, it’s like. Man…I got them done. But I hated them. I hated going to class. I hated doing homework. Imagine going to the library at 11:30 at night when your project is due the next day at your 7:30 a.m. or 9:00 a.m. class? I just hated it. So I fought it for so long. Let me just power through it. Power thought it. And thank God I’m an insane type-A and an executioner really. Because it empowered me to get done with the degree. But then man…once I was out…there was this mental shift. Directly out of school I got hired in a technical sales role into one of the largest semi-conductor manufacturers and suppliers in the industry. I was in a rotation training program for a technical sales role or a sales role in general.
I was like “Man!?” The first day I walked into the office and saw the cubicles and just the depression and just the mood (it’s no fault of anyone. It’s just what happens when mundanity set in, whatever). And when I saw that, I’m like “Oh, my gosh. This is going to suck me dry of all energy I have, all drive I have, all creativity I have. How do I get out of this as fast as possible. And the reality was I’m making good money. And in practicality you can’t leave a good source of income until you have another one.
I just found myself starting to brainstorm. “Okay, what’s next?” This is going to be very short lived for me. I want to get out of here as soon as possible. And so when I graduated from that program.
This was a full-time rotation program and I was getting paid for such, but it wasn’t your final location (your final position). So once I got deployed and I was in the Colorado office, I was just getting a bunch of industrial accounts, a bunch of boring sales accounts. And I’m like “Man!” and that’s where this insane dream. And even at the end of this rotation, my company Sol Shorts was I guess created. I was like I need something to make me money as soon as possible. And something for me to put my creativity and passion into because this sales role is not. Because you’re an account manager. You’re not a front line sales manager. And I think that is really where my passion is selling amazing products to people. Not being behind a desk, replying to emails “I need this number. I need that number. Country of origin.” I’m like “Gag. Boring.” Right?
So how do I do this as fast as possible. I literally made a pair of shorts. I got out a ruler. Drew up what I needed to draw up. And then made the dimensions for a pattern maker. Sent it off. Got the patterns back. And Boom! I had a prototype. I was working with a local manufacture when I was working in Dallas And I had a prototype in like two weeks. It was kind of laughable. But going off the Lean Startup method, what those guys talk about, you should be really embarrassed of your first product.
And that was where I was living with two other guys at the time that were in this rotation program. And they were like “Dude, these are like the best.” They were ripping them apart a bit. But all my friends have that commonality. I think I mentioned this somewhere else. But most people say sell to your friends first and see if they’ll buy it. Which is true. But I think sometimes friends will just blow smoke up your *ss if you have a decent product. And they’re like “Yeah…dude. I’ll but it, whatever.” My friends are not like that at all. They’re jerks. They are like “this product sucks. Like ….whatever company is manufacturing it is way better. I don’t like this. I don’t like that.” I’m like great…let me fix the most important things you don’t like and then I’ll come back to you. And sure enough I came back with an even better product and showed them the potential and the immense platform that I’ve created for the sports company and further down the line it’s really a health company at the end of the day.
But man…they were loving it. We’re on Kickstarter [Editor’s note: campaign was successfully raised] and we’ve raised over $5,000 in like 2 weeks. When you scale that out over 52 weeks (of course) you have a bigger launch than your traditional sales but you add in wholesale and you add in retail to that and boom! Now you’re a multiple, hundreds of thousands dollar company.
It all starts somewhere but definitely …[laughs] in college the mindset was 100% What Job Are You Going to Get? How Much Money Can You Make? What Degree is the Best to Study? At the end of the day…partying! Like that’s a big thing in college. And I think that’s the think when I reflect on college I’m fine going into debt for is the experience of the people that I met in college. Less so maybe for the degree itself. But it did allow me to get a job to help fund my first company.
Question: When you were in college, were you thinking about starting a business?
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