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Turning Struggle into Success

Nov 16, 2020

Derrick Bernard Webster, Executive Director of New York Tech’s Center for Entrepreneurial Studies, joins John Rebecchi (M.B.A. ’83) just in time for National Entrepreneur’s Day! Webster started out pursuing a doctorate in art education; however, due to financial issues, ended up becoming a public school teacher. He believes this unexpected and unplanned outcome helped him learn to pivot at an early age, an essential skill for entrepreneurs. One of his first hurdles was overcoming the idea that he is not the traditional entrepreneur because he did not come from business school or have a business oriented background. However, he had faith in his ability as a creative. This internal confidence allowed Webster to realize that he was capable of to making it happen by leveraging creativity throughout the journey because being an entrepreneur requires creativity. Currently, to help future entrepreneurs, Webster uncovers skills that the person has that can be “transferred to other arenas.” It is about finding out what you can do well and transferring it to entrepreneurship.

Additionally, Webster believes entrepreneurship is about storytelling. The problem statement has to be compelling and it must solve a problem. It is important to get to why this matters, how you will make money, and why you are the best person. Webster recommends looking at AirBnB’s first pitch deck on how it should be done.

The roadmap is important because it is the manual for how to organize your business. Although many entrepreneurs believe “No one else is doing this we have no competition” is a good thing, Webster believes it could mean that there is not a market for it; however, the market plan will show investors everything they need to know to make the investment in you.

One of the main takeaways that Webster explains about entrepreneurships is sacrifice. When Webster became a father and bills were stacking up for him, he struggled with the decision of going back to work or starting his business. With his wife’s encouragement, he started his business. Webster explains that deciding is a highly disruptive decision because you are disrupting the lives of those around you. It is about getting through this period of time. One quote that resonated with Webster and continued to compel him to continue on the entrepreneurial journey is “entrepreneurs live the way others won’t for a time, in order to live the way others can’t for the rest of their lives.” Entrepreneurs need to be aware of the sacrifice and hard work that goes into this profession.

Webster was able to achieve success in his career due to his ability to pivot, make necessary sacrifices, and set goals for himself. He is also an author of the book STEP FORWARD: An Illustrated Guide for Advancing Your Entrepreneurial Mindset.

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By Konstance Teleisha