My name is Tommy Hawkins. I’m 26 years old from Dallas, Texas. I graduated from Florida A&M University in Fall 2012 with a major in Broadcast Journalism and a minor in Science. I received my Master’s from Columbia Graduate School of Journalism in May 2014 specializing in advanced video and environmental reporting. After graduation I started a video production company called Hawk IV Productions, LLC. I am currently traveling the world as the cinematographer for 50 sports in 50 weeks documentary.
I graduated from Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism about eight months ago, and now I’m traveling the world as the cameraman for a documentary about a family completing 50 Sports in 50 Weeks.
Why? How? I marketed and monetized my skills as soon as I graduated. I started a video production company and leveraged my networking to obtain work. I researched and explored all possible opportunities, and kept an open mind. My company, Hawk IV Productions, LLC, generated almost $15,000 in six months. After six months, I received an incredible opportunity to travel the world, which I could not pass up.
I share this with you as inspiration to think like an entrepreneur during your college experience. The most important piece of advice I can give you is to cultivate specific skills and network, network, network. People, not necessarily employers, love a person with good character. Employers have an agenda, based on their companies’ demands, and needs, based on their market.
Do you want to fit into some company’s box, or do you want to create Pandora by being yourself, something nobody can duplicate!
Now let me give you some real advice about thinking like an entrepreneur and thrive in your collegiate environment.
1. Network, Network, Network.
You hear this all the time, but let me give you true realistic advice. Network in a way that makes you feel comfortable, and network in a way that makes you YOU! Example: I like to party and go out to hip-hop clubs. Although my degree in Journalism doesn’t necessarily fit that mold, I meet a lot of cool people. Sometimes I meet artists, singers, designers or dancers who need video services. Having fun and making connections.
2. Think like an Entrepreneur.
What do you ultimately want to do? What do you love? Where is your passion? Maybe some of these questions you know the answer, and some you don’t, but change your thought process to figure out how you can “brand” yourself and become completely original in your craft.
3. Acquire skills, not good grades.
Yes, this probably sounds weird but it is true. What you learn in the classroom means nothing without real application. You can get an “A,” but if you don’t understand how to execute that skill in the real world it become useless. I’m an excellent cinematographer and editor, which are valuable skills I’ve been able to monetize. Maybe yours is writing, or computational analysis, or taking photos. Figure out how to monetize a particular skill within a network to ultimately raise money or clear time to do what you really want to.
4. Discover, explore and enjoy you.
College is one of the most enriching learning experiences if you make it that way. I didn’t have a 4.0, and I wasn’t a straight A student in high school. In the real world, nobody cares; they are more concerned with how you execute, handle and carry yourself professionally. College is one of the few times things truly slow down for your own self-discovery. Utilize this time and really explore YOU. Try new things, make new friends, and don’t be afraid to take risks or think outside the box. Make “No” a word that doesn’t exist in your vocabulary (Disclaimer- this does not mean go crazy!). Most of all find your positive spirit and trust in the Universe. When you do this, your concerns will disappear naturally, and happiness will be whatever you make it!
SN: I would also like to recommend 5 books that really inspired me as well.
1. The Alchemist- Paulo Cohelo
2. The Four Agreements- Don Miguel Ruiz
3. The Mastery of Love- Don Miguel Ruiz
4. 7 Habits Of Highly Effective people- Stephen R. Covey
5. Think and Grow Rich- Napoleon Hill
Peace and Love, and all the best in your endeavors!