“Wake Forest is the perfect time to “do.” You get to choose how you spend your time. Go out and do as much as possible while you’re here. Fail as much as possible. You’ll learn so much and no one will ever know. When you’re in the real world, you have an identity, a brand to report to. It’s harder to fail then and more people will notice.” –James Beshara
On the morning of Thursday, November 14th, a group of student entrepreneurs gathered in the Autumn room of Reynolda for breakfast with Wake alumnus and CEO/Co-founder of Crowdtilt.com, James Beshara. Having now launched three successful ventures, Develo Flies, The MiFi Report, and Crowdtilt, his impressive track record speaks volumes to his entrepreneurial spirit and incredible work ethic, as made evident in his campus-wide presentation given the night before alongside Co-Founder of Reddit, Alexis Ohanian.
The breakfast began with a series of introductions. As the students provided Beshara with personal entrepreneurial experiences, successes, and plans for the future, Beshara provided the students with some of his own personal experiences and stories. Reflecting back on his time at Wake Forest, he offered lots of advice, advising students to take advantage of their time here as both students and entrepreneurs. “Here at Wake Forest, you have been given a fantastic opportunity to test the waters. There’s very little downside involved. The more times that you can fail under this safety net, the better your odds.”
Failure? Talk of failure at Wake Forest is almost taboo. It is a topic that isn’t most comfortable for most, but Beshara embraces failure in its entirety, and he encourages students to do the same. “I’ve almost become numb to failure because of the success that it’s continuously led me to,” Beshara explained.
“Wake Forest is the perfect time to do. You get to choose how you spend your time. Go out and do as much as possible while you’re here. Fail as much as possible. You’ll learn so much and no one will ever know. When you’re in the real world, you have an identity, a brand to report back to, but here is the time to experiment. The fruit of all your effort will come from failure, so embrace it.”
Beshara also stressed the importance of networking and social capital. Both of these skills are so undeniably important in the entrepreneurial community, and they can lead you to a world of opportunities and resources. But perhaps most importantly, Beshara stressed the importance of a mission and persuasive communication. “Make sure that you’re building whatever you’re building with a HUGE mission. This is rare, but here lies the value in it.”
Beshara is right. Wake Forest is the perfect time to do. So, choose to spend your time wisely. Put yourself out there and take advantage of the incredible resources that Wake Forest has to offer. Build up that social network, and choose to live out your mission. And fail. Fail, fail, fail. Failure is not something to be afraid of. The more you fail, the closer you are to achieving success.