This class really keeps me busy, but I am learning so much! I have very little experience with site-building. I had to create a space a few years ago using WordPress, and I have used it for three classes now. I can’t remember how to do certain things with it that I want to do, so I am glad to have this class to learn. I’m so glad I built that site before. It was a helpful preparation for this class. However, I know there is so much more to the business website I will be creating this semester. It seems a bit intimidating to me, but I am confident I will eventually get it. I enjoyed learning about different sites to assist people in building their own websites. I have a little experience with creating books online and working with templates to do that. I hope this will be similar. I am glad I can build upon my limited knowledge. I am a bit overwhelmed with choosing both the website and the host. I feel like I don’t know what I don’t know and that could cause me to choose something too far above my current abilities. I just have to look at it as a learning experience and remember there are people at those sites who will help me if I need it.
Choosing a product was a great learning experience. The hardest part was coming up with 20 businesses I might want to try. I liked the process of taking the five most likely to succeed and going over different aspects of running a business to determine which one or ones might work out best. I wish I would have had Excel sheets set up like this to work through many of the difficult choices I have had to make in life. I hope I have narrowed it down to good choices. I think I have because I am excited about the two options that have made it to the top.
I found the work we did this week to be quite instructional. I never knew there was so much help for figuring out how to start and run a business. I liked learning ways I could use Excel to assist with that decision. I had never heard of affiliate marketing (although I have noticed advertising on people’s websites, so I knew people did that but didn’t know it was its own business or what it was called). I had no idea something like drop shipping even existed. I called one of the companies I would researching for the project. My conversation with the woman lasted for about 20 minutes. She shared a lot with me about dropshipping. She knew some things about some of the other companies and difficulties with them. I found it to be a most enlightening conversation. The discussion boards have helped me so much. I love reading what other students have to say and learning their viewpoints on this case study. It helps me to see things from different views and enlarges my understanding of the concepts.
Brother Poole, I just have to tell you that you are the type of instructor I love to have for my online classes. Some instructors just have “canned” things they send around or write for grading homework. I can understand how time-consuming it must be to answer each student individually, but it helps me so much to get specific feedback. I appreciate the time you put into this class. You are quick to respond to our questions or any issues we may be having. As an older class member, it has been scary for me to try to approach this class, because I know so little about the Internet, how to create a website, how to create a business, or certain things with computers. I know I have the ability to do this stuff, but sometimes the creators of these classes assume that all of the students have grown up with computers and the Internet. They sometimes skip steps because of this assumption. Thank you for filling in the gaps for those of us who need it. I really appreciate it!
I enjoyed the work we did this week. I am learning a lot about what it takes to get a web business up and running. I still feel like I have no idea what I am doing, though. I have another class that I had to make a list of 20 businesses I could start. I thought that might be a great overlap with this class. However, when I looked over that list, I realized that only a couple of those ideas could work in this class. I seriously feel somewhat lost right now. I don’t have a problem with going with an idea, but I have no idea how to choose something I could do. I am not familiar enough with the business models or the Internet to figure out what would work best for me. I don’t have an idea for an affiliate model, which sounds like the best for a student to work with, so I am not sure where I could go with that. I liked the idea of choosing a product to sell and even came up with an idea. But when I checked it out on both Amazon and eBay, the products there sold for much less than the amount that would be required for me to produce a similar item. I thought I had a good idea. Now I am concerned I don’t.
I really enjoyed learning about Demand and Competition. I had no idea how to learn if a product was a good choice for a business. So, it was nice to know that information is available at the click of a few buttons. I thought it was cool to learn how to find numbers for how often a keyword is clicked and how much competition there is for that product. Those numbers will be critical ones to know when starting our businesses.
I have appreciated the many things I have learned in this class. As I was pondering on the principles taught, I felt joyful to remember this new knowledge I have gained. There was much information to give us a taste of what it takes to be an entrepreneur. I already have a testimony of the importance of honesty and integrity in our lives, but I was impressed with how often this was included in entrepreneurial speeches. Although these two principles are also gospel principles, they apply in the secular world as well. Businesses (even large ones) fail when people get greedy and use dishonesty to steal from the company and/or others to try to make themselves rich and powerful. It seems it is almost intoxicating for many people. We can benefit from living the Golden Rule of treating others the way we would like to be treated. That seemed to be the most important ideas the different lecturers wanted us to learn and internalize.
One of the highlights of this course was learning from Steven A. Hitz. His book “Launching Leaders” was excellent with many tips on succeeding as an entrepreneur and person. I loved his videos and would be thrilled to take his course someday.
My favorite part of the class was interviewing a successful entrepreneur. I learned so much about starting a business, the daily work involved, and the rewards of being your own boss. I loved my mentor’s positive attitude and her drive to keep going no matter what! The only hard part about writing my paper was to keep its length down to two pages. I wanted to share everything I had learned.
If I had to give someone advice for starting a business, I would say first to believe in yourself. Don’t let anything stop you from reaching your dreams. Do your research to find out everything you can about your service or business. Learn how to be a leader. Learn how to budget and spend wisely. Take an accounting class or two so you will be financially savvy. Take the time to determine and develop core values. Never lose sight of those values. Learn to tell stories, so you can positively influence others and sell your product or service. Make a bucket list so you may have things you look forward to doing when the hours seem long. Be dependable—someone people can count on to get things done. Get involved in all of the assignments and save them. You will want to remember everything you learn.
I love that the readings and videos were about gratitude and attitudes this week! Our attitude can certainly turn a bad day into one that is good or at least tolerable. I believe that people who have good attitudes live their lives with gratitude. Gratitude helps you to appreciate all that you have and all that others do for you. I was recently at a reunion with my former college roommates. They asked me about the passing of my son several years ago. I started telling them about the day he died. One of them said, “That must have been the worst day of your life.” I responded, “No, it wasn’t. I choose to look at it as one of the best days of my life, because it was the last day I got to spend with my son. I was able to talk to him, to tell him the things I wanted him to know, to tell him I loved him, and for him to communicate that back to me. It was the last day our entire family got to be together. I see it as one of the best days of my life.” That whole experience taught me so much about the power of gratitude and how important gratitude is to God. I learned that when we thank God for even the simplest of blessings, it opens the door to revelation from Him. If you need answers to a serious problem in your life, first express gratitude to the Lord for the blessings He has given to you. Then the answers will come. I also liked the advice from Larry North to have a tough skin. Realize that bad things will happen randomly in life. Learn to deal with those things in an intelligent way. Drop the bad. Let go of the hurt. See the good. Figure out your best strategy. Keep on going. Never let the difficulties and discouragements of life get you down. Successful entrepreneurs always have faith and confidence in their abilities. God sent us here to succeed, and we can do it with His help.
I thoroughly enjoyed the readings and videos this week. Sometimes a few can seem a little long, but they were all so interesting this week. I especially love the ones from the General Authorities. Elder Gay’s video was inspiring. It can be easy to get caught up in the materialism of our day. We live in America, the promised land. Sometimes I forget how rich we are in comparison to so much of the world. Sometimes it is easy to take for granted our freedom, opportunities, safety, and wealth. I feel so blessed to have all that I do. I loved Elder Gay’s message of service and rescue. They can apply wherever we are. When I was a Relief Society president, I learned most people are struggling with difficult things. There were many opportunities for service and even some instances of rescue. I loved when Elder Gay told of the picture in his office of Martin Harris’ farmhouse. As he said, Martin did much for the Church, but it was interesting to me how the Lord knew his heart. I fear my heart may sometimes be too much like Martin’s. It is human nature. I am so grateful the Lord works with us to give us the experiences we need to turn us from the “natural man” in us. I also really enjoyed the speech by Muhammad Yunus. I found myself agreeing with the things he had to say. I was impressed that when he saw a need with the poor people in Bangladesh, he found a way to meet it. I can hardly fathom how 42 people needed a mere $27 to meet their needs. What a blessing it will be to live the law of consecration, for there are no poor in Zion. But the gist of this lesson, I think, is to do what we can in our own sphere of influence. The Lord may have big plans for us or small, but each of us can do something to help those in need.
An interesting question was asked in the readings this week, “What is it that makes happiness always seem to be just beyond your grasp?” It is funny how true this seems to be universally. And yet each of us has known someone or several “someones” who seem to have a grasp on happiness. I think it is a lack of gratitude. The happiest people I know are grateful. I recently read of an LDS family in Bulgaria—father, mother, two children, wife’s mom—living in a 10 square foot room. They could only sell a little candy out their window for an income. But whenever the missionaries or anyone else would try to give them anything, they would pass it along to someone who had less than they did. They were always grateful for what they did have. (Wendy Ulrich, The Temple Experience, 2012) I learned the lesson of gratitude when our 18-year-old son died of cancer. I learned that when I was feeling sad and missing my son, if I would pray and thank God for my blessings (usually something to do with my son) and then ask for comfort, God would not leave me comfortless. And in reality, He is the only one who can give us peace and joy. I am convinced that as far as everyday things go, happiness is a state of mind. Like Abraham Lincoln said, “Most folks are usually about as happy as they make up their minds to be.” Gratitude plays a big part in that, especially when it comes to being content with what you have. If you are always looking for more or comparing what you have to what others who have more than you have, you will generally feel lacking or cheated. If, on the other hand, you are happy for the good things that happen to other people, you can also be happy for yourself and what you have. Seen from this point of view, happiness then becomes within the reach of everyone.