When taking on a new project, every student should ask themselves why they are dedicating their time to said project, and what do they hope to benefit from the experience. As a student, if your answer to the benefits is made up of dollars and cents, you are probably not off to a good start.
Being a student or young professional is a time for adventure and growth; it should never be defined by money. Even Mark Zuckerberg didn’t create Facebook for the money. It was his passion project and he took it to a place where he could reap the rewards. Whether you’re an entrepreneur or not, you have to understand that you are building a brand, not a business.
For the past couple of years, I’ve started and taken on many projects that required a great amount of time, but nearly all of them saw zero return, monetarily speaking. Even my social media consultancy didn’t see much return as I offered many of my services pro-bono (that said, I do wish I collected some of the money I was owed).
Now though, my experience has paid off where I now have a full-time job and (un-related) am able to share my thoughts with this great community. I think this all stemmed from the realization that the greatest thing I can do while I am still young is build a brand, not a business.
Businesses come and go, but your brand stays with you throughout career. Fortunately, students are more empowered with knowledge and communication tools that allow them to build their brands earlier and faster than ever. So don’t worry if your early endeavors don’t result in riches. . . building a brand is more important. After all, it’s the biggest brands that have the biggest followings.
Harrison is the Community Manager at MBA@UNC, the new Online MBA program at the University of North Carolina and sticks to his entrepreneurial roots as the founder of the global social good campaign, Tweet Drive. As evidenced through his previous projects, Harrison has a passion for all things social media, philanthropy, and finding new ways for students to understand the power of a brand. Before moving to New York and while still a student at Temple University, Harrison founded the PR/Social Media consulting firm, Kratz PR as well as Engage TV and the #PRStudCast podcast. Feel free to connect with him to discuss community, social good, branding, or the Philadelphia Phillies on Twitter, @KratzPR or Linkedin.