HI, I’M DWAYNE K. SUTTON, bestselling educator, entrepreneur, and founder of Urban Entrepreneur Report.
AS AN EDUCATOR AND ENTREPRENEUR, I feel incredible when a school teacher I advised launches a six-figure blog or when one of my eCommerce stores goes live.
HOWEVER, I DON’T TAKE WINS LIKE THESE FOR GRANTED. That’s because I’ve had my share of losses. I know what it’s like, for example, to launch a website that barely breaks even or to see a retired football player lose it all on his first venture. It’s heartbreaking. Real lives and money are at stake. But, it’s also eye opening. That’s because as an entrepreneur and educator, you learn what works and what doesn’t. You also learn why it works and why it doesn’t.
SO, HERE’S ONE THING I’VE LEARNED: you can’t become a successful entrepreneur by dreaming. You have to bring your ideas to life. There’s just no getting around this fact. Sure, formal education, like my training in journalism and mass communications at the University of South Carolina and business training at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business (MBA), help tremendously. However, in the end, you must execute. You must overcome your fears and move.
BUT, IT WASN’T UNTIL I LAUNCHED MY FIRST STARTUP that I learned one of the biggest lessons of all: each of us is capable of doing more than we ever thought. Here’s what I mean. My, then, new company was given the opportunity to pitch for a coveted multi-year contract offered by a large agency of the state of South Carolina. The competition was well-funded and politically connected. I, frankly, didn’t have the funding or deep political connections. I didn’t believe that I had a chance. But, I prepared and pitched anyway. I won the contract.
I REALIZED THAT THERE WERE MILLIONS OF PEOPLE JUST LIKE ME: those seeking to transition from employee to entrepreneur. They simply needed guidance and the right knowledge.
WELL, AFTER HELPING A MUSIC EXECUTIVE LAUNCH HIS OWN SUCCESSFUL INDEPENDENT RECORD LABEL, I quietly, and unexpectedly, became the go-to startup adviser for hundreds of well known musicians, filmmakers, record producers, songwriters, and comedians. Like many others, they too were nervous about launching a venture. Today, many own multi-million dollar businesses.
WHILE I WAS HELPING THEM LAUNCH SUCCESSFUL BUSINESSES, I WAS ALSO BUSY LAUNCHING MY OWN. I started one of the first web design firms in the U.S. and launched a company that invented a new model for music business education and talent showcases. By partnering with organizations like Cox Communications, Universal Music Group, and Columbia Records, I was able to provide over six thousand people in small markets with the opportunity to learn the business of music from, and showcase their talent to, the top minds in music and media. More importantly, we taught them the entrepreneurial skills necessary for taking control of their careers.
AS MY REPUTATION AS AN ENTREPRENEUR AND EDUCATOR GREW, I WAS INVITED TO DELIVER KEYNOTE ADDRESSES to organizations like Marriott, Keller Williams, the Department of Transportation, the University of Cincinnati, and the University of North Carolina-Charlotte. I was also invited to teach marketing and entrepreneurship as a university professor. It was teaching, however, that literally changed my perspective and life. After winning several teaching awards, it became clear to me that I had a gift for educating the next generation of entrepreneurs.
IT WAS ALSO CLEAR TO ME THAT I HAD DEVELOPED A UNIQUE APPROACH TO HELPING PEOPLE from all walks of life make the transition to entrepreneurship. I called this transition, if you will, filling their second cup. Get it?
STILL, I HAD A DREAM OF REACHING AN INTERNATIONAL AUDIENCE WITH MY ENTREPRENEURIAL MESSAGE. So, I made two key moves. I created several online courses and developed A Second Cup of Life podcast. Thankfully, I have been incredibly successful. During the past 17 months alone, over 16,700 people from 133 countries have paid to learn how to start and grow businesses, build brands, and pitch their ideas. The podcast will launch on August 21, 2017.
BUT, I HAD AN EVEN BIGGER DREAM: TO HELP 10,000 PEOPLE REALIZE THEIR ENTREPRENEURIAL DREAMS. And that’s why I started this podcast. My mission is to inform, educate and inspire the next generation of entrepreneurs. This blog is one part of this mission.
THERE YOU HAVE IT. A LITTLE ABOUT ME. I hope that we will have the opportunity to connect soon. If you’re in the Charlotte, North Carolina, which is where I live with my wife and daughter, please send me a note. I would love to chat with you about changing the world, one entrepreneur at a time. Take care.