The last several classes in Entrepreneurial Journalism have been each of us, individually, talking about our projects. We have role-played doing an elevator pitch, introducing ourselves to a customer, and presenting our products to investors. It’s weird because some classes I think that my product is utterly ridiculous, and other classes I’m totally convinced of how awesome it’s going to be.
The most valuable thing I’ve learned from this class so far is that there are no right answers. I wasn’t expecting that from a classroom setting, but of course, it makes perfect sense. It’s not just that there is not a perfect formula to create a business; it’s also that there are so many good business models out there, and so many possible paths of success.
This came up when the professors said that they’d offered suggestions on our business models, but ultimately, not only might we disagree with them, but they also might disagree with each other. The point is not to create the business plan that someone else approves of, but instead to create a method that you can work through and fall back on as you pursue projects in your life.
With that in mind, the fact that we’ve focused on our methods and we’ve gotten so many contrasting perspectives on business values from speakers and lecturers makes a lot of sense. It’s a weird experience, to try to make business-feasible an idea that is both awesome and half-baked.
But the skills necessary to sell, promote, or flesh out an idea are a totally separate and learnable set of skills. So as much as I might be failing with a business plan for my current project (and I believe that I am failing), I think I am learning how to discuss a possible business plan — what I ought to be looking for, worried about, or researching about. I found myself walking through our business plan steps when listening to a friend’s business idea, and that is probably a great deal of what this class wants to accomplish — make journalists think like entrepreneurs!
Also, this class has finally inspired me to get business cards. That is a victory, right?