I had the honor of speaking at the We Inspire Summit by Stiletto Gal at Cal State Fullerton this past week. What I loved about being part of a college tour is that I was in college when I started my journey as an entrepreneur. The only difference is now there are so many incredible programs and tools in the university level to help advise, mentor and even fund young entrepreneurs.
Ash Kumra, Founder of Youngry, about my entrepreneurial journey. He asked about some of the best advice I had received from my mentors and the advice I had given as a mentor:
1) ASK. If you don't ask you don't know - I always say if you want something ask for it. What’s the worst that can happen? You may get a No but you’ll still be in the same situation than if you hadn’t asked. Be fearless and know what you want. Ask and in my experience, 9 times out of 10, the person has helped me or at least directed me to someone who could.
2) TAKE NETWORKING TO THE NEXT LEVEL AND BUILD RELATIONSHIPS - When I say networking, I’m not saying go to a networking event, exchange a few business cards and then watch them pile up on your desk. I’m telling you to identify the people you want to meet and then reach out to them. In the day and age of social media you pretty much have access to anyone in the world. Reach out. And when you do attend events and meet people that could be beneficial to your business, follow up, go to lunch, build a mutually beneficial relationship and stay in touch. You don’t know when or how your paths will cross in the future and how you may be able to help each other out. It’s important to create a strong network and to be able to call on that network? That’s where the relationship building comes in.
3) BROADCAST AND BE A BILLBOARD FOR YOUR BRAND - Best advice I got from none other than Henry Winkler - The Fonz. I remember working for him on Hollywood Squares. He was the executive producer and we would chat during lunch and show breaks. One day I told him that I wanted to write a book and build a brand. He said, if that’s what you want to do, then start broadcasting it to anyone that will listen and start being a walking billboard for it. I didn’t know exactly what my brand looked like at that point but I took his advice and told anyone who would listen what I was working on. You would be surprised at how many of those people stepped up and helped me.
4) PAY IT FORWARD - Tom Bergeron, Host of Dancing With The Stars, did something amazing for me. He heard I was doing local new segments in San Diego and asked to see one of them. I very nervously brought him a copy and asked for his feedback. I received a call on Tuesday from him and all he said was “You have a meeting with my agent, you’re that good. The meeting is on Thursday”. Tom got me an agent and that agent got me on my first national tv show in NYC. I remember asking Tom what he wanted for helping me, and he just smiled and said “just pay it forward”. As much as you ask for help, it’s just as important to help others. Pay It Forward!