It’s the time of year when college graduates begin the path to real life – job ambitions – some with clear direction and others still trying to figure it out. Like it was yesterday, I remember in May 1995 graduating college and having no clue what profession I wanted to work in. So, complete with my B.A., I worked at my local pizzeria as I had since age 12 while I “figured it out.” Delivering pizza lasted little over one year (and I loved it), and then I went to a MBA program in Israel–which I dropped out of after less than a week. I ended up working in politics in Israel, loved it and stumbled upon a PR job. At the age of 25, I returned to NY and had my first job at a PR agency.
A few years later, this public school educated boy from the Bronx started his own business which has grown today to be one of the 25 largest PR firms in America. Today, at the age of 37, with a family and children at home, I understand the world a little better than I did as a college graduate in 1995.
The Public Relations industry is seen by The Bureau of Labor Statistics as one of the fastest growing industries for employment, and ranked on the 2012 list of Best Jobs. So, some personal reflections from an entrepreneur:
The world moves quickly. Know the values and consequences of that. It’s just like your parents tell you, life is fast.
- Do it your way. Everyone has their own path to success – find yours and follow it. It could be that you would be happy being a solopreneur—yes, that’s a thing! You can learn more about what a “solopreneur” is by clicking on the link.
One of the reasons I started my own business was I hated wearing ties – yes something as petty as that matters for some of us. Less than 10 years after starting my agency I was named an Ernst & Young Semi-Finalist for Entrepreneur of the Year, and my company was named to the Inc. 500 list.
- Give a damn. Passion matters – Care about your work and chosen profession.
- Focus on winning and the path to get there, not obstacles or mistakes on the way. Don’t be afraid – think big and make it happen.
- Set goals and stop to reflect on daily, weekly, and monthly goals.
- Identify areas where a business can improve. For example, large overhead costs can hold a company back, but something as simple as switching to a different utility provider can save a business huge amounts of money. Suggest a comparison site such as Utility Bidder and your ingenuity will be appreciated.
- We have 2 ears and 1 mouth for a reason – learn to listen.
- Live an ethical, balanced life with honor, integrity and laughter. This pays big dividends in business, and life.
- Read a lot – books, news, blogs – anything you can consume. It’s a major insight into understanding your business well beyond whatever you learned at school (odds are no one will ever again ask you your GPA).
- Even though you are young and think you can do everything, seek evolution rather than revolution. If you gradually take two steps forward, you may take one step back. That’s okay it’s easier to recover from one step backward than if you hurt and take four steps at once and then another four, you might trip and fall three steps behind – it’s harder to get back up to speed from that point.
- Your only limits are those you set for yourself – take it from this boy from the Bronx the sky is the limit.
- Work hard. Work really hard – the harder I work the luckier I seem to become.
My Mom, Penny Waga used to always tell me “try to make the most of it and see it is all really worth it.” Nothing better than that.
Ronn Torossian is CEO of 5WPR, a top 25 PR Firm, and author of “For Immediate Release: Shape Minds, Build Brands, and Deliver Results with Game-Changing Public Relations“