Recent research revealed that 78% of MBA students end up working for someone else. So if you are someone whose end goal is to become the founder of a start-up, spending precious years confined to a desk might not be the best option anymore.
Corroborating this story is fashion boss and entrepreneur Ebony Swank, CEO of Swank-A-Posh, America’s leading female-wear fashion brand. She is a high school dropout and one of the country’s unlikely success stories. In life, the businesswoman has had to face several challenges, from bankruptcy to failed attempts. Contrary to what you might think, not having an education was never a major contributing factor. She has learned a lot more from the classrooms of life than most people ever do sitting inside the 4 walls.
“I learned to be successful by surrounding myself with successful people,” says Swank. “Being amongst people and entrepreneurs that I could learn from. The learning never stops, and I still consider myself a self-learner and observer, which helps enable to scale my brand to the next level.’’
Excellent Decision-Making and Foresight – Always Ten Steps Ahead
Making calculated, clever decisions isn’t an ability that can be taught. Only when you actually get burned by the flame will you learn all the ways to avoid it. No amount of textbook learning could ever make up for the wealth of knowledge that one gains on the ground.
Swank urges aspiring entrepreneurs to plan ahead. Something you learn from your own mistakes is how to rise after failing. Failing at a task does not mean you are a failure. One bad ending doesn’t make you a bad businessman; it makes you an experienced one. Failures happen; it’s the lesson you learn that matters.
You cannot anticipate everything, that is not how it goes. This isn’t your school exam where you’re given the syllabus ahead of time. You need to be prepared to face a plethora of challenges, some more difficult than others.
However, it all gets easier over time. That is where experience in the field matters – something that you won’t get from closed classrooms, outdated case studies, and theoretical knowledge.
Even though Swank holds no fancy degrees, she employs quite a few people who do, and that is everything you need to know about the power of real experience.
Onto The Next Generation Of Exceptional Black Female Entrepreneurs
Ebony Swank can rest easy knowing that her legacy will be carried on for ages, a lot longer after her time. With her 25-year daughter, Alaya, gearing up to take charge of Swank-A-Posh, she has plenty to look forward to in the future.
What makes Swank the happiest is knowing that she has taught her daughter well. From learned principles to secrets picked up on from years of experience, Swank sits ready to empower a new generation of black women, much like herself.
Stay alert, think practically, and always be armed with a plan, are Ebony Swank’s top tips for aspiring young entrepreneurs everywhere.