175: Why Every First-Gen Entrepreneur Needs a Business Mentor

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It’s a well-known fact that only 10% of new startups succeed. It’s hard out there; everyone is doing their best to stay relevant, and so the competition is fierce. However, knowing what to do and when to take risks requires a high degree of expertise that’s not readily available to the average newbie. As a first-gen, the easiest way to maneuver the first few days of entrepreneurship is by welcoming guidance and mentorship. Understandably, most first-gen college graduates don’t have access to world-famous executives mentoring them. Plus, you can’t just go out and recruit someone to be your mentor; you have to let such a relationship develop over time. But remember, some experts argue that a good mentor can be the difference between success and failure for most entrepreneurs. And while failure can be a good teacher, it’s more beneficial to learn from someone that’s already been there.

Traniece’s Journey Into Entrepreneurship – 02:25

One of the ways we create value for you, our listeners, is by inviting influential and insightful entrepreneurs to the show. For the most part, the entrepreneurs we bring are usually experienced with at least two years in the game. But today, we’re playing an entirely different ball game. This session is for all of you who’ve been bugging me about bringing fresh entrepreneurs on the show, one who’s just figuring out whether entrepreneurship is the path they really want to take.

Traniece was pulled into the world of entrepreneurship by the desire to give back without limits. As you probably know, there are limits to what you can say or do when you’re employed. With that, Traniece decided to start her own consulting business and touch lives the same way her life was touched while in college. Interestingly, Traniece is still employed, proving that you don’t have to quit your job to start your business. You can still take it slow and figure out stuff along the way. 

Entrepreneurship in the DEI Consulting Space – 04:40

Every new day brings new ways and strategies to tackle diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). Thankfully, the business world is slowly catching on to DEI, giving birth to a special breed of DEI consultants. People nowadays realize that there is much more strategy and guidance needed for successful and sustainable outcomes to occur. Fortunately or unfortunately, every consultant wants a piece of this pie, making the market somehow saturated. Traniece believes that anyone can stand out from the crowd as long as they continually deliver exceptional services. Moreover, there are so many niches in DEI that you need not worry about competing with others. So, be unique and forget the competition. 

Meaningful Ways to Take Care of Yourself – 09:50

Entrepreneurship is not easy, especially when you still have a 9 to 5 job. You’re bound to experience busy, non-stop workdays where things are completely overwhelming. So, how can you take care of yourself when you barely have enough time to tackle everything on your to-do list? Traniece believes that the best way to take care of yourself is to handle yourself with grace. Handling yourself with grace eliminates negative thoughts that may hold you back. On the business side, you need to read books, talk to mentors, and connect with like-minded people. Not only will they help you navigate everyday stressors, but they will also motivate you to keep moving. Remember, business is 95% mindset and 5% showing up. So, build that positive mindset. 

The Path to Successful Entrepreneurship – 16:05

People have different perceptions about work. Some people work because it’s financially necessary, while others work because they have gifts and passions that they would want to put to good use. Traniece believes everybody should work in excellence, no matter the reasons or the tasks at hand. This is because how you tackle every task influences how people work with you and how they help you in your work or business. Additionally, working in excellence will ultimately develop your skills and contribute to building your reputation. 

As a first-gen, there are probably several moments in your life where you’ve leaned on someone for advice or assistance. Whether that person was your friend, professor, or close family member, it would be hard to argue against the importance of mentors. Mentors can help guide, direct, and shape your present situation and avoid future roadblocks. Surprisingly, there are also benefits to being a mentor, as Traniece explains. Being a mentor really pushes you to be the best you possibly can because someone is looking up to you. 

Why are Internships Important? – 20:09

In today’s ultra-competitive job market, employers expect potential employees to have a glowing resume, several recommendation letters, and most of all, previous professional experience. So, where do you get the experience as a fresh graduate? Internships. But there is a problem. Nowadays, students would rather have no job experience than work for free. There are two main types of internships: paid and unpaid, and most internships are unpaid. Organizations believe that the student is not there to earn money, rather earn valuable knowledge and hands-on work experience. Traniece believes that students should shift from this mindset of interning for pay and only worry about work experience and forming meaningful connections. 

Traniece Bruce brings 9 years of experience in access, affordability, undergraduate admission, and student mentoring. She obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in Public Health from Wichita State University. Post-college, she realized her passion was giving back to first-generation and limited-income students through higher education. 

An aspiring Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Consultant, she’s provided DEI expertise on various university Presidents’ Diversity Councils, Strategic Management Committees, and multicultural working groups just to name a few. 

She currently serves as the Assistant Director of Undergraduate Admission at one of the top 50 schools in the country. She also mentors first-generation college students, providing tools to navigate the college system and accomplish professional, financial, and personal goals. Traniece is a passionate leader and advocates for access to higher education. Connect with Traniece Bruce on LinkedIn.