Last night I took part in a panel on "Entrepreneurship: Being Your Own Boss" at my alma mater, UC Santa Cruz. I was invited by one of the Advisors from the campus career center to speak about starting my own consulting and fundraising firm, and how my UCSC experience helped.
When I first recieved her invitation (by email), I was a bit shocked. I wrote back saying I was hardly an entrepreneur. I don't employ anybody, I work at home, I haven't been in business very long, and I don't really earn all that much. Doesn't matter, she replied. I was surviving as my own boss, and that's what students were interested in.
It was all actually quite enjoyable. For one thing, it's always a pleasure to walk around the most beautiful college campus in California. It was also a surprisingly nice feeling and boost to the ego to be invited back as something of a success story.
The panel included myself (obviously), the guy who founded and co-owns the New Leaf natural food store, a guy who started a truck rental company, an environmental consultant who is a co-founder and partner in a large firm, and another sole proprietor consultant who works in computer programming.
We each spoke for ten minutes or so about our path from UCSC to where we are now, followed by some excellent questions from the students. It was all very informal and I think (hope) the students got a lot out of it. I don't know that anything I said was the earth shaking truth that will change one of their lives, but over all we as a group gave some good advice with concrete examples.
On a different front, I'm now an official Wikipedian, having contributed an article about Chemeketa Park (where I live) to Wikipedia.