HOW I GET ASKED TO SPEAK AT COLLEGES

November 16, 2018

 

P.S. These boots are AWESOME! I bought them at Steve Madden in SF: buy one pair get another pair 50% off!

Wearing Aritizia skirt, Club Monaco jacket, Steve Madden boots, ASOS necklace, Vintage hat 

Elisa Cicinelli photography

On Tuesday I spoke at Menlo College in Palo Alto on entrepreneurship! I had never been to Palo Alto before so when Menlo agreed to having me speak I was thrilled to finally head out to the city that houses some of the biggest tech companies in the world. The Bay area is one of my favorite cities: every time I go to SF I really want to meet a cute boy who lives there so I have an excuse to go down every weekend. The pastries are so good. The coffee is sooo good. Everyone is so nice and genuine. I love it!

I have a similar powerpoint I share during all of my talks on entrepreneurship because many of the topics are pretty similar across the board. All young people should know how to utilize LinkedIn, write a pitch or have an elevator pitch about themselves. I think elevator pitches are key to finding yourself: you don’t need to be a company to have an elevator pitch. Even if you aren’t an entrepreneur don’t you want to know what to say to Mark Cuban if you’re ever in an elevator with him?  That is very handy as you get older and figure out what type of career path you want to pursue. The students at Menlo were fantastic and has some awesome questions after my presentation: I got to stick around for a bit before heading to the airport to talk to some of the girls sat in and listened. They taught me a thing or two about business cards and LinkedIn, which I didn’t know prior to speaking!

Talking at colleges isn’t a path I ever anticipated going down because I didn’t go to college and am very vocal about how expensive and frankly overrated college can be. I say overrated because I hate that there is such a stigma surrounding community college vs. an Ivy school: why do you have to be judged on what college you attend? Most people can’t financially afford to go to an expensive private college and have to go to community college. It’s silly. Do what floats your boat not what society thinks you should do. Either way I do think college is crucial for young people unless you are similar to me and have a company you make a living off of: even then college might be a good decision for you because it’ll help you truly find yourself. You’ll make important connections, learn how to live with other people and find what makes you happy.

I’ve been in the blogging game for a while now (I started this whole thang back in 2011) so if I wasn’t speaking at colleges by now I’d probably take my life in a different direction. As an entrepreneur it’s important to set small goals and big goals for yourself. I always loved public speaking and have spoken on so many different TV shows, so going into more independent talks and conferences make sense for my career. Just because I have 12,000 Instagram followers (which people judge me heavily by, STILL) doesn’t mean I haven’t made my place in this industry and deserve where I am now. I really worked my way up and set myself apart. That’s what you have to do. All of those “building” years are essential in getting you to the place you want to be in your career.

I would say it’s 50/50 for how I get most of my college talks: I pitch some and I get approached about some. It’s like a little domino effect (mine took over 6 years for the domino thing to start, ha) but once you start getting speaking engagements other people want you to speak and then you start getting paid for it and if you love public speaking and inspiring people then it’s quite cool. But I’m going to be honest and say that talks are exhausting: you spend so much time preparing and you spend a decent amount of time after every talk answering questions and talking to kids and it’s like you give a little part of yourself away every time you speak to someone new and have a deep conversation.  That’s why I take some time off every few weeks because if I don’t I get mentally exhausted and mental exhaustion is the worst!

If you want to start speaking at conferences/colleges, put yourself out there. Colleges are the top guys: so why not start small with a high school or middle school in your town? Email a teacher you had when you were in school and ask to present. Make a presentation and send it out. The best thing they can say is no: which just means you’re not ready yet, and you need to dip your toe into some other opportunities before circling back around to this one 🙂 Follow your dreams and be fearless!

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