217: Three Entrepreneurial Lessons for Grad Student Success

217: Three Entrepreneurial Lessons for Grad Student Success


In this podcast episode, I share three entrepreneurial lessons that I’ve learned and that can also help current and prospective grad students succeed. I discuss the importance of networking and community building, the value of iteration and learning from failures, and the need to stay adaptable and open to learning new things. By applying these entrepreneurial principles, you can achieve greater success not just in grad school but also in your career and life.

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217: Three Entrepreneurial Lessons for Grad Student Success


Dra. Yvette Martinez-Vu: [00:00:00] Welcome back everyone to another episode of the grad school femtoring podcast. This is your host, Dr. Yvette. Today we're going to be talking about three entrepreneurial lessons for grad student success. I have been navigating this entrepreneurial journey for a little over two years now. And while I've learned many lessons, there are three that stand out to me that will be useful for grad.

Dra. Yvette Martinez-Vu: students or prospective grad students to know to help you set yourself up for success. And by success, I mean, not just in your higher ed journey, but success in your career and life as well. Before I dive into these three lessons, I want to share a couple of announcements. I don't know if you've noticed.

Dra. Yvette Martinez-Vu: But I don't know, I think it was maybe a week or perhaps two weeks ago, I added a message somewhere on my podcast to support the show financially if you [00:01:00] have the capacity to do so. Why did I do this? Well I've tried to do this. A couple times in the past to ask for support because it's not cheap to run a podcast.

Dra. Yvette Martinez-Vu: There are some costs that you incur by being a podcaster and it also takes a lot of time and energy and labor to produce a podcast, record, edit, produce a podcast every single week. And because of that, I thought to myself, okay, it's time to ask again. It always makes me very, very uncomfortable to ask others for financial support, but I've been reminded time and time again that it's okay to ask and it's okay to accept help from others.

Dra. Yvette Martinez-Vu: This is something I tell my clients all the time that we need to learn to ask for help, that we need to learn to accept help when it's been offered. I've had, you know, friends, I've had mentors. I even had my business [00:02:00] coach reminding me. to do this and to do this regularly because I don't do it enough. I spend a lot of time on the podcast.

Dra. Yvette Martinez-Vu: You know, whether it's weekly or when I'm batching my material and at this point, I am ready. For the show to grow. I am ready to, you know, bring in more guests. I'm ready to just see how it develops over time and having that financial support will make a big, big difference because right now I don't get anything.

Dra. Yvette Martinez-Vu: I don't receive any sort of payment or compensation to provide this resource for you all every week. And, you know, I know that not everybody has the financial capacity to provide a one time or monthly donation. And if that's true for you, the other thing that I ask is for you to please leave a review.

Dra. Yvette Martinez-Vu: Reviews. are not, you know, [00:03:00] I'm sure you've heard other podcasters say this like, Oh, please leave a review. It makes a big difference in the ranking of the show or in getting other people to find out about the show. Yes, that's true. But when certain Guests, especially high profile guests, when they get invited to be on podcasts, they have no way to tell where someone's podcast is ranking because our audience numbers are not public.

Dra. Yvette Martinez-Vu: Our amount of listens, total listens are also not public. So what do they use to measure whether or not Your show is quote unquote successful. They take a look at your reviews, not just what is in the reviews, what people are saying, but also how many reviews you have. And I know that my number of reviews are, you know, it's, it's so, so I would love [00:04:00] to have more people review the show.

Dra. Yvette Martinez-Vu: I know that I have a good amount of. loyal listeners. And I know that a lot of you have not left a review. So if you can do me the favor and leave me a review, it literally takes one to two minutes of your time. Once you're on the Apple podcast app, I would greatly appreciate it because it will help the show grow.

Dra. Yvette Martinez-Vu: And it'll also help me to expand the type of guests that I bring on the show. So FYI. If you care about the longevity and the success of this show, if this has been helpful and if it has provided value to you, consider supporting financially through the links in the show notes or leave a review it.

Dra. Yvette Martinez-Vu: That's what we mean when we say it makes a big difference. Okay. All right, now let's get to the lessons. So the first lesson [00:05:00] that I've learned in my entrepreneurship journey, and it's going to sound very simple and straightforward and something that everybody tells you, but I'm going to say it again and and in a different way, I learned the importance of Of networking, I remember when I was an undergrad, people telling me to show up at office hours.

Dra. Yvette Martinez-Vu: And of course, I always felt awkward and uncomfortable and I didn't show up enough. And I was that shy student that didn't speak up enough. I didn't feel very smart in a college setting. And that continued on in grad school. I shied away from networking. I have gotten better at networking. And you know, one of the reasons is because I've learned to embrace my identities.

Dra. Yvette Martinez-Vu: So I'm no longer, you know, shy about talking about my chronic illness. Thanks to, thanks to my son and his [00:06:00] neurodivergence diagnosis, I learned about my own neurodivergence. And so now I'm very open about that. And I've found ways to bond with people by being open about my identities. And that has helped me to build community that has helped me to even develop some new friendships.

Dra. Yvette Martinez-Vu: So this notion of one embracing my identity and to redefining networking as community building Has completely changed my life. I wish I would have known this in undergrad. I wish I would have known this in grad school because it would have made the risk worthwhile. I avoided the discomfort of meeting new people because.

Dra. Yvette Martinez-Vu: I can be an awkward person, especially in group settings. It is what it is. I don't like small talk. I like deep conversations. That's why I have this podcast. So when I talk to people, I can't help but overshare. And you know what, I find [00:07:00] folks who are like me and we bond and then I find folks who aren't like me and that's okay too.

Dra. Yvette Martinez-Vu: Like it's, I don't have to, I don't have to get along with everybody, but I know that each time that I put myself out there, each time that I, you know, conduct another informational interview or meet with another. stranger or I'm connected with someone because someone connected us. I view this as an opportunity for community building.

Dra. Yvette Martinez-Vu: If it doesn't work out, that's okay. No big deal. But I, I walk out of these opportunities with something. I learned some sort of lesson and I embrace that. So networking has been huge. It's the reason why I've had so many opportunities come. up for me lately. And I always wondered why, why it was that certain people that I knew always happened to be the ones that got the extra funding or got this invited on this extra panel or blah, blah, you know, were presented with so [00:08:00] many more opportunities.

Dra. Yvette Martinez-Vu: Why? It's because they were the ones opening their mouths, they were the ones showing up to the events, they were the ones talking to people and I wasn't. So please, please, please remember how invaluable it is to build your network and to maintain those relationships as well. It makes a big, big difference in your career and in your life.

Dra. Yvette Martinez-Vu: Because some you might run into people and meet people that Not only become part of your networking community, but perhaps they become lifelong friends or soulmates in some capacity. And I'm that person that does believe that we have many soulmates in our lifetimes and they're not all romantic. There are many what's the word?

Dra. Yvette Martinez-Vu: Platonic. There are many platonic soulmates that we can meet in our lifetime. And how incredible is it that each time you meet new [00:09:00] people, you have this opportunity. Opportunities. to come up. So every time you meet new people, you have the opportunity to learn something from it. So that's the first lesson.

Dra. Yvette Martinez-Vu: Lesson two is a big one. And this was not stressed to me. In grad school, the way that networking was, everybody told me network, network, network, meet people, go to conferences, etc. Nobody told me this thing. Nobody told me the importance of iteration and failing. Failing was not a thing that was encouraged in grad school.

Dra. Yvette Martinez-Vu: In fact, oh my goodness. I feel like criticism and the worry over harsh criticism, and then Fear of failure got in my way from making progress, uh, substantial progress too. So I, I don't think [00:10:00] anybody told me, you know, what, just do work that's good enough, and then, you know, each time you revise it, it's going to get better and better and better.

Dra. Yvette Martinez-Vu: Oftentimes I receive feedback saying that. My work wasn't good enough. My writing wasn't good enough that I have to keep trying harder. And that really, really impacted negatively impacted my self esteem and that negatively impacted my self confidence as a writer, as a scholar. So why is iteration so important to entrepreneurs?

Dra. Yvette Martinez-Vu: In entrepreneurship, there's a high learning curve because entrepreneurship looks different for everyone. And so. What some folks are encouraged to do is, instead of trying to get things right and perfectly the first time around, you need to test it out, launch it, see what worked, what didn't work, take [00:11:00] what works, keep that, take what didn't work, learn from it, improve it, and then launch it again.

Dra. Yvette Martinez-Vu: So that's the iterative model of Doing things and then learning from them, doing things a little bit differently and then continuing to learn until you finally arrive at a point where things are going pretty well for you. And with iterating, there's always that possibility of failing. But what's different in entrepreneurship is that if you fail.

Dra. Yvette Martinez-Vu: It's an opportunity to learn from your failure and to get it right the next time. So there's less of that stress of if I fail it means that I'm terrible at this. If I fail, it means that I was not meant to do this. If I fail, it means that I'm an imposter. If I fail, it means that they're going to boot me out of this opportunity.

Dra. Yvette Martinez-Vu: That's what I felt in grad school. That failure was a sign that you didn't cut it [00:12:00] and that you could potentially be kicked out of your program. And I, I have witnessed, I have been there for a lot of scholars who have had. moments of failure who have had an experiment fail once or time, two times or three times.

Dra. Yvette Martinez-Vu: I have witnessed folks who have, you know have received a conditional pass for exams that they felt was like a failure because they still had to retake a certain portion of their tests or didn't pass at all their qualifying exams. And again, felt like they were a failure and perhaps not meant to go into academia.

Dra. Yvette Martinez-Vu: And that is. And that isn't the truth that it couldn't be any further from the truth. So anyway, the lesson here is that in entrepreneurship, you've got to put [00:13:00] something out there, see how it goes, learn. and adjust things accordingly. The same thing can be said about research. The same thing can be said about, , teaching.

Dra. Yvette Martinez-Vu: The same can be said about your service work. You got to try things, see what works, see what doesn't work, learn from what doesn't work to keep getting better. Don't be afraid of failure. Don't be afraid of the iterative process of Getting better over time and of potentially doing good enough work the first time around.

Dra. Yvette Martinez-Vu: Because if you try to get it done perfectly, that's just going to be a recipe for taking a very, very long time or burning out. So lesson one, going back to lesson one, the importance of networking, lesson two, the importance of iteration and learning from your failures. [00:14:00] Now, the last lesson has to do with learning and adaptability.

Dra. Yvette Martinez-Vu: In entrepreneurship, things go by so quickly. There are so many changes going on at any given time that it provides a lot of opportunities for learning. You never stop learning because at every stage there are new things to try out and discover and to learn about. So you're constantly, it's nonstop, nonstop learning curves, nonstop learning.

Dra. Yvette Martinez-Vu: And the same can be said about higher education. The same can be said about your career and life that you can gain a lot. If you consider yourself a lifelong learner, you can gain a lot if you try to become more adaptable. In My time working in higher [00:15:00] ed, I noticed that I met a lot of senior scholars who were very set in their ways.

Dra. Yvette Martinez-Vu: They did this things a certain way, their way or the highway. They didn't want to learn anything new, didn't want to learn a new software, didn't want to learn a new app, didn't want to learn a new method, didn't want to learn. And on your set of theories, they don't want, they just, they were so set in their ways, doing things the exact same way all the time.

Dra. Yvette Martinez-Vu: Like, guess what? When COVID hit, they really struggled, struggling to learn zoom, struggling to learn, you know, all the things that came up with online learning. And that was on them because they were unwilling to be adaptable. And yes, I've heard some people say like, Oh, can you teach old dogs, new tricks?

Dra. Yvette Martinez-Vu: Yes, you can. Yes. I say this because [00:16:00] I, I am someone who thrives in a routine, I thrive in having a set structure, I actually don't love change, and yet I am still actively learning and open to being adaptable, I still am curious about learning new tools, new strategies, new You name it software apps, if, if I know there's a potential that it can help me to do things a little bit better.

Dra. Yvette Martinez-Vu: And so in your case, if you're an undergrad, if you're a grad student, don't be afraid to keep learning. Don't be afraid to be adaptable. Stay curious. Embrace all the that's new out there, especially I'm thinking right now of AI. AI has changed my life for [00:17:00] the better. Yes, I know there are things to be mindful of when it comes to AI.

Dra. Yvette Martinez-Vu: You cannot trust it completely. You have to use it as an assistant. And if you are worried about like the ethics behind how to use AI, the mere fact that you're even thinking about using AI ethically, To me indicates that you're going to be cautious and that you're going to use it in ways that feel, you know, ethically okay for you.

Dra. Yvette Martinez-Vu: So AI has been a big, big game changer for me. I use it. AI tools every single week has helped me out. With certain aspects of my workload, and that's because I was open to learning about it. And yes, sometimes some things do frustrate me. I, sometimes there is a learning curve. Sometimes I try something that doesn't work for me, but that's okay.

Dra. Yvette Martinez-Vu: That's part of the learning process. Those [00:18:00] are my three lessons. My lessons about making sure that you're connecting with folks. Making sure that you are allowing yourself, giving yourself the opportunity to do things in an iterative way. It doesn't have to be perfect the first time around. It can just be good enough for now.

Dra. Yvette Martinez-Vu: And then also staying adaptable, being curious, being open to change and to trying new things out, because you never know there might be something around the corner that might transform your life. Those are my lessons related to entrepreneurship that can help you with your success in grad school and beyond.

Dra. Yvette Martinez-Vu: I hope that you found this episode helpful. And like I mentioned earlier today, if you want to support the show, check out the links in the show notes. If you want to leave a review, you can do so on Apple podcasts, please, please know that I appreciate you. I'll talk to you all next [00:19:00] time.

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