Is it possible to be an entrepreneur while studying?
Monday October 29th, was already the last class for my first group of students. Even-though all the classes were fun to give, it felt like I personally got the most out of this class. Why, I hear you asking. Please keep on reading to find out why, but first grab something to drink cause it will be a long one.
So let me take you back to the beginning, real quick. When I decided to give these classes (rather workshops) I wanted to empower these students. Of course I wanted to teach them something new and teach them in a way they never had classes before. But more importantly I wanted to give them an extra chance. A chance I never got while studying. I wanted to give back and empower students that have exceptional business ideas. The students were asked to give a presentation about their business idea and as their final assignment they had to have something digital. The student with the best assignment would be given a platform to promote their idea.
Fast forward to Monday October 29th. As I said earlier the students were asked to present something digital about their entrepreneurial idea. The participants were free to decide what that would be or how they would present it. Aslong as it was something digital, it would be fine. There weren’t any requirements (note to self #1). So, the students started giving their presentations and I’m going to be very honest with you, I was quite disappointed with the end results. Not bashing any of my students, but most of the products weren’t really creative, some of the assignments weren’t even done. For example: A lot of students made a website for their company, which is fine, but the websites weren’t done. It was a start, but they were far from being done. And since I assumed (note to self #2) the students would know how to give a proper presentation, I didn’t really get into details on how to the students should present their assignment. And yes, I do blame myself for this. Don’t worry, it’s not a “I failed miserably”-kind of blame also not a “I’m so mad and annoyed this didn’t work out”-kind of blame. No it was more of a “I wasn’t clear enough what I expected from them in the first place”-kind of blame and a “I’m so freaking happy to see that I will have to be more specific next time”-kind of blame. Believe me I was disappointed, but it was a happy disappointment. I might come across as being very weird right now and I might confuse you, but I was legitimately happy to see this happened. So I sat down and started thinking how I could improve this for all my students to come. And believe me, I have some (great) new ideas that will make the next presentations even better. But I don’t want to dwell too long on what didn’t go as planned, let me focus on the exceptional ideas for a second. One of them being Marloes Bos’ Huidflex.
Marloes, 20, is a third year Skin Therapy student who did the minor Entrepreneurship. She also works at her fathers company ‘Mijncontract’ and if that’s not enough this brave young lady is even a voluntary firefighter. This is Marloes’ story:
"I’m currently in my third year of Skin Therapy at The Hague University of Applied Sciences. I decided to do the minor Entrepreneurship since that was exactly what I was missing in my current studies. Even-though a lot of skin therapists are entrepreneurs and have their own companies, this is still missing in the curriculum. The minor has two programs, Learning by Doing and Thinking than Doing, and I chose Learning by Doing (Improve your Business). This minor helped me push my boundaries and pulled me out of my comfort zone. It led me to actually carrying out this business idea into an actual business.
During numerous internships I’ve seen how skin therapists can give a helping hand. Being a skin therapist might not be a very known job nowadays, but we can be of great help for patients. Also, there has been a big employee shortage in the home care for a while now. I tried to find out what the problem was and how It could be solved. And guess what, I found a solution: Huidflex.
Huidflex is a service center that allocates (student) skin therapists to treat oedema and wound care in healthcare institutions. These (students) skin therapists can fill in the shortages in care centres, but they will not take over the nurses jobs. We strive to having a good cooperation between the nurses and the skin therapists. With Huidflex I want to focus on students that are in their final phase of their studies. Personally I would love to be working in the same field I'm studying in, while studying. Besides that, I have experienced it first hand that there is a lot of flexibility at The Hague University of Applied Sciences. Working a few hours a week while studying can easily be combined.
Who will benefit from Huidflex? The healthcare institutions will benefit from it, since it can help them reduce their shortage of employees. The patients receive a good and efficient treatment and the students will get experience in the work field. Even The Hague University of Applied Sciences will benefit from this, their students will be able to apply their lessons right away, also it will be easier to relate to the classes. So basically everyone will benefit from this.
Huidflex is intended for homecare organisations that are experiencing employee shortages and (student) skin therapists who want to gain experience in the work field. I’m currently finishing up the website and Huidflex will officially start next year on Januari 1st!"
After all the presentations were done we did a feedback session. The students were asked to give tips and tops about the program ‘Improve Your Business’. They were asked to write down what should be improved and what was already working. I really wanted to involve the students in this proces, so I could hear from them what was working and what wasn’t.
During this feedback moment things became very clear for me. For example: I’m not sure if you remember my second blog where I wrote a reflection on the class of September 24th. It was my first time teaching and even-though I didn’t have any expectations I was quite disappointed at first. Now, almost a month later, I finally understood why I was feeling what I felt back than. I came to the understanding that the students were a bit disappointed at first. During the kick-off of the new school year, I gave a presentation of what they could expect during my classes. A week later it was time for the first class, but since I was on vacation a different teacher took over my class. Then the second week came and still no sign of me, my colleagues (intellectual property) were teaching that day. Then finally in the third week I showed up with my happy self and the students were like “Ow, now you want to show up?”. The students basically expected me to be there every week and I wasn’t, they even started doubting if it was the right program for them. So if I never did this feedback session, I would have never known this. One of the things that was also said is that the students really liked this way of getting classes. At first they were a bit sceptical: having to check-in and check-out every day, standing in a cirkel and answering questions, doing silly games to get a bit more energy. But it worked and they liked it! So based on all the feedback I got from them, me and my colleagues are looking to improve this part of the minor even more. I got some great insights that will better me as a facilitator or teacher (how the students call me).
I have two weeks left to prepare the classes for the second group. Of course I have the material of the first group that I will definitely be using again. Based on the feedback I got, my reflections and my learnings I will tweak whatever I already have or maybe do it completely different. And that’s why I love what I do, I’m in control and by listening to the needs of my students I can adjust right away!
If you have any recommendations or questions, please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.