Monday, September 16, 2019
After starting out with a prayer, an executive began to teach us Chapter Four in our Living in the Village study guide. We learned about three basic life insurance policies. The first policy we learned about was term life – it is the simplest form of insurance and carries a low risk. Second we were taught about whole life coverage which lasts throughout your life as long as you pay your premiums – this kind of policy has a guaranteed cash value and is the most expensive coverage. The last insurance policy we covered was universal life – it has a flexible premium, an adjustable benefit and has a cash value component as well. After that we were given tips on car insurance. We were told to shop around and get at least three quotes, taking into account the insurance company’s financial stability. We were also told to choose our car carefully because the insurance premium is determined by the sticker price, repair costs, safety record and likelihood of theft, just to name a few.
We also had a few brothers who owed a “wheel of doom” and were sent to the back of the room to be given their “dooms.” After that, two of our brothers spoke on designing our logos for our businesses and told us the colors we could use, as well as the importance of our logos when it comes to advertising. Then we were given a form so that we can record how many times we have given our pitches in the dorms. It was just another great and busy day in PEP.
Jonathan B. (a.k.a. “May Knot Sr.”)
Tuesday, September 17, 2019
Today in PEP, we had a test over Living In The Village. Test time means we all turn our chairs to face the library. No talking is allowed whatsoever, and eyes must stay on your own test. It’s something we all take very seriously because we all want to do our best and pass. Once we took our tests, Bruce T. went back over the Chapter Four in our Living In the Village workbook. As always, Bruce T. delivered. He answered all the questions we asked and gave us great information while making us laugh as he always does. The subject matter was about was about life insurance, which could have been a dry subject and make for a boring class. We are all glad to have Bruce, because we don’t feel bored and the subjects never seem dry. We all appreciate him and the time he takes out of his day to come and teach our class. He truly believes in this program and in giving back to all of us.
It’s Venture Capital Panel (VCP) pitch time, and we were given our pitch panel paper today. We’ll be working our VCP pitches a lot until we get them down cold. We were also assigned to create our business plan logos already. This should be fun for us. The ones we’ve seen from past classes have looked awesome, but we all know that our class, “Vision 2020,” will be the best class with the best logo designs yet. As always, we will have fun while we get stuff done.
Juan B. (a.k.a. “Winnie the Pooh”)
Wednesday, September 18, 2019
Today was eventful as we had to take three tests. The tests consisted of a pop quiz on Chapter One, followed by a test on Chapter Two and finally a test on basic business. We all were filled with nervousness, but the vast majority of us believed that we did well. Even before we were required to turn our chairs to take the test, all that could be heard was people whispering the last list to themselves. It was weird at first, but by now it is a normal occurrence and is actually inspiring, since the majority of us were not used to studying anymore. Now we can focus on business and how to build and run one efficiently. This shows how far we are coming along and how much we want to change.
After the tests, we turned our chairs back toward the front of the classroom and listened to Carl B. give a presentation on something he holds dear to his heart and spent the vast majority of his career doing: marketing. This particular chapter was speaking about the purpose of a marketing plan. It helps an entrepreneur specify who their customers are and how they will be attracted to the company. He touched on psychographics, which is targeting the psychology of a person’s wants and desires. He also touched on the pricing floor, which is the breakeven point or the lowest amount that can be charged for a product or service while still making a minimal profit. He suggested that we do what is necessary to keep our businesses afloat while avoiding having a service or product become a “loss leader.” He also spoke on the different types of promotions and how they can be used, with ideas on which ones would best fit our businesses. This was a very informative presentation because we as entrepreneurs need to market ourselves so we can stay afloat and thrive as businessmen.
Keitario B. (a.k.a. “Bobby Bouche”)
Thursday, September 19, 2019
We started the day off with testing, and we all did well and made it through another hard day of testing. Seeing the scores made us realize that many of us studied hard for this. Lately we’ve been going over things that represent our business plans so that we can be ready for graduation as far as the two to three minute pitches. We also recently got new information on our business logos and mission statements, so now we have to come up with ideas on how we can attract our customers and sponsors to get them to be interested in our products or services.
Starting a business is hard but like everything else in life, anything worthwhile takes hard work and dedication to follow through all the way to the end, because there will be a great reward. Nothing in life is easy, especially if you truly care about something and put your all into it. But if that’s not true about your goals and the things that you care about, then sadly you’ll just be spending time working just to get to the next phase without a purpose – and the time that’s been wasted will not be recovered. That’s why we should try not to waste any more time than we already have.
Anthony C. (a.k.a. “Sleeping Beauty”)
“Life is not about getting through the storm. It’s learning how to dance in the rain.”
This quote is inspirational to me in a number of ways, but it reminds me of times I would go fishing in the summer, especially at two particular spots. One spot was below the Lake Livingston dam, and the other spot was about 12 miles downstream on the Trinity River near my grandparents’ house. At the dam, I would wakefish for striped bass in about waist deep water and big alligator gar, maybe 7 to 8 feet long, would swim around us and inspect us without ever bothering. Also near my grandparents’ house at the scheduled spot on the river, I would fish there early in the mornings growing up and the alligator gar would hit the surface of the water and roll over and make their presence known. The curiosity of these sophisticated creatures who’ve been around for millions of years is so interesting to me – especially coming from something so ferocious-looking that its name starts with “alligator”!
The surreal moments I’ve faced with these encounters has shown me that God can sometimes speak to you through nature, as if to let you know that He is keeping His eye on you. Life can seem rocky and stormy at times, but as we go through life, we can learn to trust God and adapt to life as if it were the first time I saw those big alligator gar right next to me in the water. Over time my anxiety went away, and I learned to be one with them in their domain. Life may not be easy sometimes, but as we learn to “dance in the rain” we will see that we have the ability to overcome anything that comes our way, especially with God’s assurance.
Robert C. (a.k.a. “Little Dirt Bike”)