If you’re reading this, I am pretty sure you’re still reminiscing about bathing in the sunbeams on a beautiful Florida beach. I, too, have shared similar sentiments about my previous spring breaks, but this year’s was a little…different.
During spring break I had an unforgettable time launching my start-up music festival smartphone app, Festivus, at two music festivals: BUKU in New Orleans, LA and South by Southwest (SXSW) in Austin, TX.
From my launch, this is what I’ve learned:
1. It’s not about what you know, but who you know.
You’ve heard it once; you’ve heard it a million times. And here is a million and one. I made so many great connections in a plethora of different industries at each festival (I even met a few celebrities like A$AP Rocky, SZA, and Chance the Rapper) just through the strength my friends’ networks alone. In almost any field, the person you need/want to connect with is often a friend of a friend of a friend.
2. Build a Strong Team.
Whether you’re promoting an app, playing in the NCAA tournament, or touring with a star artist, building a focused and driven team is the cornerstone for success. I wouldn’t have been able to spend my spring break at BUKU music festival or SXSW without my team who built the Festivus app.
3. Master the Art of Finessing.
Finessing, as defined by Webster, is “skill and cleverness that is shown in the way someone deals with a situation, problem, etc.”
There were countless instances at the festival where my friends and I got into places we didn’t have access to so we could build connections, promote our brands, and etc. We began to master the art of finessing by learning what to say and how to move, and that got us access to virtually any of the places we needed to be. Like they say, there is no reward without risk. As an entrepreneur, you have to be willing to take big risks in order to reap big rewards.
4. The World is Small. Be Nice.
Building on lesson #1, I’ve learned that networking is less about your business cards or accolades, and more about how people remember you. As the late, great poet Maya Angelou so eloquently stated, “At the end of the day people won’t remember what you said or did, they will remember how you made them feel.”
So please be nice to others, you never know when you’ll meet them again.
5. Never be Afraid to Put Yourself Out There.
I was truly humbled at SXSW and BUKU. There were so many people from all over the world that were very ambitious, driven, and focused on their own ideas and their own start-ups. Yet I didn’t wear a name badge to advertise my app. It was my job to walk up and introduce myself to as many people as possible to promote Festivus, and 9 out of 10 were very receptive and supportive of my idea.
BONUS Lesson: Enjoy the Ride!
In the course of a week I traveled over 2000 miles, met hundreds of people from all around the world, and built countless memories at two major music festivals. Better still, was that I was able share that experience with my fellow Georgia State colleagues as they were building their own start-ups and brands.