I’ve always been curious about the behind-the-scenes of things, sneaking past the curtains to see the magic where it lives. That’s why my job is awesome. I get to find the stories that the audience doesn’t see.
For this venture, I attended a Small Business Week Celebration hosted by Comcast and CNBC, and met entrepreneurs auditioning for the reality series The Profit. The nervous energy fizzed through the room as hopefuls prepped their speeches. Although they were vying for the same opportunity, instead of competitiveness, the business owners offered each other world of encouragement and support. The bartender at the open bar did brisk business as a few steeled their nerves with liquid courage.
The entrepreneurs who declined to step in front of the camera were as intriguing as the ones willing to put their faces and dreams on national television. Once they knew I was a journalist, they were more than happy to tell me about themselves. This isn’t typical. The word ‘journalist’ tends to put people on guard, wary of what I might reveal about them to the world. Perhaps startup founders are accustomed to risk. Instead of reservation, they greeted me with the enthusiasm of a proud parent, eager to show pictures of baby’s first steps.
The panel that wrapped up the evening’s events overflowed with useful nuggets, shared by those who had already experienced both success and failure. I summarized the heart of them in my article on Southeast Makers. My takeaway from the evening: If possible, find a mentor. If not, networking and panels are the next best thing.