Tam Pham, Founder of Outside of the Classroom
The WeThrive Student Entrepreneur series is created to highlight entrepreneurs who are not only currently in the trenches, but also of high-school and college age. Through this medium, we aim to provide students with a range of additional tools, advice and guidance as they create and grow their own entrepreneurial ventures. Our Student Entrepreneur blogs highlight the most relevant details others can learn from. Know an entrepreneur we should highlight? Have an additional question we should be asking? Send it all to firstname.lastname@example.org
Current Venture: Outside Of The Classroom – Hacking the education that school never gave you. We create content (podcast / blog / Youtube channel) that teaches you all of the important things in life to prepare you for success.
One word that best describes your experience as an entrepreneur: Excitement
Favorite class: Philosophy
Least-favorite class: Biology
Why bother with entrepreneurship?
We are so blessed to have so many resources at our fingertips. Our iPhone can take gorgeous photos. A simple camera can record the next viral YouTube video. A microphone can ignite a podcast movement.
We live in a free market, why not bother with entrepreneurship?
We have a chance to identify a problem and instead of complaining about it, we can bring our idea to life and ACTUALLY SOLVE THE PROBLEM. That’s insane!
Tell us about your venture, and where you are on it?
My venture is called Outside Of The Classroom. While I was attending school, I was frustrated because I was paying so much money to memorize stuff that had no relevance to my personal or professional goals. I kept asking, “When am I going to actually use this stuff!?” It was strange because I was learning MORE USEFUL STUFF from reading books, doing internships, and going to different conferences… than sitting idly in a classroom.
So I dropped out to pursue my own education and I want to share everything I learned with the world. With you 🙂
I recently launched my podcast / blog / YouTube channel on June 15th. The learning curve has been wild because I had to quickly adapt to get things up and moving. I’m always trying to find new and innovative ways to give value to people (notice how I didn’t say “build an audience”). It’s a blast 🙂
Where’s your favorite place to do work?
I love to work at my local Starbucks. The baristas know me personally, I get to choose my favorite spot, and it’s a very peaceful environment.
What’s one way students can start today?
Find a problem that frustrates you and think of 10 ideas on how to solve it.
For example, you notice how your school’s parking garage never has any parking. You waste time going up and down the garage only to leave the parking structure to find a space elsewhere. How can you fix that?
- With technology that can let people know how many spaces are left on that floor?
- With an iPhone app that allows you to see the map view of the garage in real time?
- With crossing guards that direct students to their proper spots?
The opportunities are endless.
What’s your best tip for other entrepreneurs in college?
Stop having excuses.
“I have 2 finals this week and I need to study.”
“I have a full time job and can’t handle working an extra 2-3 hours.”
“I’d rather party and have fun.”
I hear people all the time saying they want to be an entrepreneur but they never want to actually do the work. When you REALLY want something, you go get it. Simple as that.
When did you found your company and with how many others?
I founded my current venture by myself but my previous ventures have been with a co-founder.
How do you manage your week?
30 day goals, 1 week sprints.
I set a goal for the month. For example, 500 email subscribers. This means I have to get 125 people to subscribe each week.
Then I do whatever I can to get 125 people on my list. Rinse and repeat.
Practically, I do all my creative work in the morning. Usually from 7am – 12pm. Then I put on my manager hat for the rest of the day and do work that doesn’t require as much brain power.
What resources do you recommend others take advantage of?
For entrepreneurship, start with:
1) Lean Startup by Eric Ries
2) Zero to One by Peter Thiel
3) Four Hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss
What’s your sleep routine like?
I sleep at 10pm and wake up at 6:30am. You NEED sleep. If anyone tells you that they’re working 22 hours a day, they’re so putting a fake persona on themselves. Also, it’s not attractive to claim yourself as a workaholic.
Fill in the blank: I’d love to see Erik Finman answer these same questions.
Is there anything else you’d like to add that might be interesting to readers and fans?
Just do it. Whatever idea you have, just go do it. Stop having excuses. The value that you can bring to the world will far exceed the amount of fear or embarrassment you might have.
You might ask yourself, What if I fail?
Fail hard and fail fast.
Then you can use those lessons to start a new venture.
OH NO TAM, WHAT IF I FAIL THAT 2ND VENTURE?
Then do a 3rd. Then a 4th. Each time, you’ll only get better and better. Trust me 🙂
I can help you turn your idea to reality. Visit www.OutsideOfTheClassroom.com to learn all of the important things in life that school never taught you. Would love to hear from you 🙂