You dream up the idea. You call the shots. You reap the benefits. If you love the thought of running or creating your own business one day, you’re in good company. The hustle to become a successful entrepreneur is real and widespread (ever seen Shark Tank?!), but there’s always room for more. In fact, at Siena College, entrepreneurship is one of our most popular programs, and for good reason.
Take it from Nick Earl, who graduated from Siena in May 2018 with a major in marketing and a minor in innovation and entrepreneurship. Here’s what he said about his experience in Siena’s entrepreneurship program and more.
What are you currently up to?
Right now, I’m a business owner and a financial representative with Wealth Advisory Group in Latham. I love my work because I get to help people establish plans that enable them to achieve their goals. “Helping people in my community has been an extremely rewarding experience.”
What would you tell students interested in entrepreneurship?
If you are an aspiring entrepreneur, Siena is a great place to be. Some of my fondest college memories are of long nights in the Stack Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, working through startup plans with my friends. The staff at the Stack Center are very helpful and knowledgeable. And in my four years as VP of the entrepreneurship club, I have seen many students come in with nothing more than an idea, and graduate with a profitable business.
Siena’s networking events are also extremely beneficial, so attend as many as you can. I can’t stress how important it is to develop an extensive network of Siena connections. The mentorship I received through the Stack Center and the relationships I built during my time at Siena were the most valuable parts of my college career.
Tell us about the first business you started during your time at Siena.
During my freshman year I took an entrepreneurship class where we were taught to always be observant of recurring problems in industries that we were interested in. I’m an avid snowboarder, so I spoke with a few people in the ski resort industry and I found that they all had a common problem: advertising. Their traditional strategies were becoming less effective year after year; ski resorts were desperately looking for alternative advertising methods. I realized they have plenty of onsite advertising space but there wasn’t an effective advertising method that could utilize that space. So, I started GloSnow Advertising.
We spray a proprietary liquid solution over giant stencils to create glowing advertisements in the snow. This enables ski resorts to utilize all that space and generate additional revenue by selling the advertising space to major ski brands during events and competitions. When I first came up with the idea, I entered the Siena College Spark Tank competition and, to my surprise, got first place. Spark Tank helped give me the confidence and experience I needed to pitch to other investors and further develop the business.
You also started a business in the boating industry too, right?
One day during the summer of 2017 I was cleaning my boat and this guy walked up to me and asked how much I would charge to clean his boat. I threw out a number that I thought he would counter, but he gladly accepted. At that time, I was working on roofs for a local construction company. I made more on that first boat than I did from a week of roofing. I went down to some local marinas and found that many yacht owners also had a common problem: they couldn’t tow their massive yachts to the marinas that offered detailing, and there weren’t many skilled detailers that would come to them. So, I started Spotless Boat Detailing. I focused on becoming the best in the area and establishing relationships with yacht club members. I now have two amazing employees and we have been growing rapidly. (We’re hiring!)