Blog Post by ELP Student Ryan Morrison (Psychology | Class of 2020)

Over the course of this summer (2020), I have been keeping track of the skills I have deployed. From my personal experiences, I decided to curate a list of the top 10 powerful skills every entrepreneur needs in their arsenal to be successful. 

My hope in sharing this story is that it will inspire students and entrepreneurs to never give up. The path from A-B is rarely a straight line. 

As you’ll soon see from my story and the experiences I’ve gained over my lifetime, these are the skills that made it possible for me to see how rejections in fact opened new doors for me to thrive. 

10 Powerful Skills Every Entrepreneur Needs In Their Arsenal To Be Successful: 

  1. Story-Telling 
  2. Say “Yes”
  3. Lifelong Learning 
  4. Empathy/Gratitude 
  5. Humility 
  6. Teamwork 
  7. Grit (Commitment, Determination, Perseverance, Adaptability)
  8. Ownership/Responsibility
  9. Coachability 
  10. Time Management 

As the novel coronavirus ransacked nearly every residency and home in Ann Arbor, Michigan in March, 2020, I had a decision to make: freeze, fight or flee. I fled. (Story-Telling) 

Last summer, my internship position with Ann Arbor City Hall to research Resilience Hubs fell through. 

As a backup plan, I worked as a busboy at Sava’s Restaurant in Ann Arbor to pay rent. I got fired after two weeks for failing to talk to my manager before leaving. 

This was a humbling experience because bussing tables and cleaning dishes and floors is hard work. I learned the hard way that I am not better than anyone else. (Ownership/Responsibility) 

Nowadays, I always make the effort to be friendly and kind and tell the host, waitress/waiter and busser that I am grateful for their service. (Empathy/Gratitude). 

This summer, I got lucky. Nick Moroz, ELP’s program director at CFE, put me in touch with a local Ann Arbor entrepreneur named Dr. Patricia Deldin. Dr. Deldin needed help crafting a marketing plan for her company called MoodLifters, a health/wellness startup that helps adults learn the tools and build the psychological resources for a happy and healthy life. 

I was ecstatic about the connection because it gave me a unique opportunity to combine my background in psychology and entrepreneurship with my interest in technology. I felt like my previous experiences and future goals were finally aligned. I smiled inside-out. I was humbled to have a paid, remote internship during chaotic times. (Humility)

I accepted my offer with MoodLifters in early March, two weeks before Michigan shut down because of COVID-19. The internship was only a month long in June. I was confident I could secure another internship/job for July-August. 

I had never held a formal marketing position before, but I learned in the Entrepreneur Leadership Program (ELP, Center for Entrepreneurship) to always say “Yes” when asked if you can do something. The theory is, you can always learn how to do something. Otherwise, you can find someone who can help you. (Say “Yes”)

By both my standards and my managers standards, I had a successful internship. I had read two books on social media marketing, completed a marketing course with over 30 lessons, and successfully delivered and presented a comprehensive marketing plan to help scale the company and secure more participants. (Lifelong Learning)

After my internship with MoodLifters, I registered for a certificate program through Gallup Clifton StrengthsFinder to become a strengths-coach. I realized my career calling during a talk with Maureen Monte, a management consultant and strengths-coach who had spoken to my ELP cohort. 

My goal in participating in the certificate program was to start my own consulting/coaching business. I hoped to secure a consulting internship to practice my skills. 

Upon completing the Clifton StrengthsFinder certification, I interviewed for a consulting internship with a silicon valley consulting firm called JAH Consulting. 

I made it to the final round of interviews. A more qualified intern was selected for the position. I humbly listened to the feedback and advice from my interview, which I will bring with me to my next interview to make myself a stronger candidate. (Coachability)

I decided to double down on my consulting/coaching business. I have to thank Grace Hsia, our ELP course instructor, for spending numerous hours helping me set up my business. She also sent me additional information about Warmilu to help me in the early stages of my company: Kaizen Management Consulting. I have already had three clients (Grit)

By mid-July I began working on a second project. The idea came about at the end of  winter 2020. The idea was to help fill the void created when Innovate Blue was dismantled. After 100+ customer discovery interviews and brainstorming, this project began to take off. I have been working on this second project nearly full-time since mid-July, logging nearly 100 hours to-date.  (Time Management)

The project is called Maximize. Maximize is a student-led organization and non-profit that  unlocks student potential by empowering students to become proactive about using campus resources, while engaging in self-directed challenges and projects that work toward a better, more diverse, equitable, and inclusive world. (Lifelong Learning)

Maximize has already developed 13 informal partnerships and is in the process of recruiting students for its Discovery Challenge and team members for its Planning Team. (Teamwork)

The Discovery Challenge helps students learn about and use resources across campus to build competencies in 17 key areas of their lives by earning points. 

​Successful completion of the Discovery Challenge earns students the M-Talent Distinction, gaining students recognition for being proactive in their academic, personal and professional development, while preparing students for life post-graduation

​Students who earn 15,000 points “unlock” their capstone, where students can earn funding to work on a project or idea. 

Projects selected for the capstone project are invited to participate in the Maximize Startup Accelerator (Maximize Accelerator Program, MAP). We hope to accept our first cohort in Summer 2021. 

Although my summer has not gone as planned, I could not be more grateful for my journey. 

Are you excited for the second half of 2020? I am! 

I hope we can look back on 2020 as the year we decided to take action. 

“It’s the friends you meet on your path that make the journey worthwhile.” – Snoopy 

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