Going for It: Emerging Entrepreneur
POSTED AT 6:46 AM ET, 12/ 7/2010

Discovering a new iGoogle world

I now know how Columbus felt when he "discovered" the New World. iGoogle is a Google product that has been around for awhile, I heard about it many times, but I had never tried it out for myself because I thought it would be too cumbersome to find. Then one day I set out for an adventure. The Internet is much faster than the NiƱa, the Pinta, and the Santa Maria. It took about 30 minutes to set up my iGoogle page and change my Wall Street theme. I'm already hooked on it. It is great to use as my primary landing page when I  log onto the Internet. Fully customizable, iGoogle brings all of your favorite things on the Internet to one page, via apps. I've fallen in love with Google all over again.

Here is a list of my favorite things on the Internet that I've added to my iGoogle page:
Gmail
Yahoo mail
Google Reader
Wikipedia
Google Docs
Facebook
A To-Do List
Weather
Twitter
Youtube
Flixster

And
Mashable
NPR topics
Popular Science
NY Times
Wall Street Journal
CNN
and, of course, The Washington Post!

BY Semaj Rashad

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POSTED AT 6:31 AM ET, 11/ 9/2010

Return of Elevator Up Magazine

Things are getting exciting with the re-launch of the Elevator Up Magazine. This time around, I'm doing things differently. I have acquired two new writers and two new photographers. I have a wide range of experienced business professionals lined to do guest articles for the comeback issues.

Did I mention we're going into print? I had a young graphic designer from Bowie State University, Marcus White, of Mad Genius Designs, draft my new print layout. Even my girlfriend got involved, designing my new logo. It is looking like the return of the Elevator Up is going to be a real masterpiece!

One thing hasn't changed though. I'm putting my own money into the project. If I don't invest in my own project, why would potential advertisers, sponsors and investors want to?


BY Semaj Rashad

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POSTED AT 6:01 AM ET, 11/ 9/2010

My personal advisory board

I have been getting a close-up look at a start-up company that has made some very smart decisions through my mentors at Youtern. Mark Babbitt and his team of experts, whose company is changing the way students and companies approach internships, have taught me a lot since I partnered with them over the summer. It has been a great learning and growth experience and something that will help me with my Elevator Up Magazine. Working with seasoned entrepreneurs is the best way to learn the do's and don'ts of free enterprise.

Babbitt, a native of Nevada, took a train from New York during a business trip east just to meet with me for three hours in Maryland. As he mentioned in Youtern's Savvy Intern blog, I needed to develop a advisory board for The Elevator Up. Sure it's great to have mentors like I do: entrepreneurs, Washington Post journalists, IBM business consultants and designers, current and past Air Force leaders and more. However, my next great business move is to get them all on a conference call once a month/quarter to discuss the progress and next steps of The Elevator Up.

"A smart man learns from his own mistakes, but a wise man learns from the mistakes of others." -Anonymous

BY Semaj Rashad

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POSTED AT 6:12 AM ET, 11/ 3/2010

Yo vote'

I made the trek home yesterday to vote. I forgot my polling place, so I used Google's quick online app to find it. I usually use my Tuesdays to study and I don't like to spend the gas money now that I've moved to Baltimore, but I made sure not to use those excuses to keep from voting. I headed to my local polling station to make a difference and contribute to the solution, even if mine was only one vote. It was my first time voting in mid-term elections and I was quite excited. I spent the time doing a little research via Google about all of the candidates I will have to vote for: governor, lt. governor, comptroller, attorney general, U.S. senator and members of the House of Representatives. I would never have made decisions about candidates without doing some due diligence first.

I tend not to get too wrapped up in politics in the newspapers or television, but I understand the effect of government decisions on our everyday lives. I was even more encouraged to vote after seeing Barack Obama at Bowie State University a few weeks ago along with other Maryland Democrats. More importantly, as an aspiring businessman, the decisions of elected officials will often affect how I do business and the climate of the economy in which my company strives to excel. Many of my peers and I have had countless discussions about politics as the election loomed. 

Contrary to popular belief, Generation Y is excited to be a part of the political process.

BY Semaj Rashad

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POSTED AT 6:10 AM ET, 10/28/2010

Get smart, fast...stealing paper

Looking for a way to get smart fast? My fraternity's chapter polemarch (president), Toney Dixon, gave some great advice that has already began to pay dividends. I am a member of Kappa Alpha Psi at Morgan State University.

One evening while we're in the heat of Morgan's midterms in the computer lab, Toney advises me to take something that doesn't belong to me. No, I'm not talking about flash drives, textbooks or computers. He suggests that, from abandoned printouts of random articles, essays, presentations, etc., I take stacks of WASTED paper sitting next to the printers and read it. That's a progressive recycling idea that I had never thought of before (*Insert light bulb above my head).

Since starting this daily habit I have read up on history, accounting, systems management, sociology, feudalism and more. This practice exposes you to information that you'd have a tough time acquiring otherwise. Toney helped to promote my intellectual welfare by suggesting a quick way for me to become knowledgeable on a wide range of topics.

BY Semaj Rashad

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POSTED AT 6:25 AM ET, 10/27/2010

National Semaj Day

I took a "personal" day off from responsibility the other day and it was amazing. Outside of athletes, with their two-a-day practices and study sessions, does any other college junior have as crazy a schedule as I do?

I took the opportunity to completely wind down after my Thermodynamics midterm by doing basically what I like to do. I worked out, ate good food, watched my favorite movie (Wall Street) and figured out how to ooVoo my girlfriend who's studying in Italy for the semester. I even watched the movie "Zombieland" and Rule #32 for surviving Zombieland is "Enjoy the little things in life...otherwise you might as well go through life as a zombie."

BY Semaj Rashad

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POSTED AT 6:18 AM ET, 10/26/2010

I've been MIA

It has a long midterm experience--very long. I still have one more to take today. I've been quite busy, but I'll blog again tomorrow and update you on the amazing progress I've made in my business over the last month! Wish me luck with my exam!

BY Semaj Rashad

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POSTED AT 6:05 AM ET, 10/15/2010

Teachable moments

When I retire, I am going to be a professor. I don't care if I teach math, engineering, basket weaving or how to whistle, I just love to instruct and inspire others. I always look for "teachable" moments in my life and the lives of people I love, especially my brother.

For the longest time, I struggled to connect with my younger brother. I had subconsciously tasked myself with teaching him the things I know my mother couldn't. I am nine years older than him and at one point he didn't talk to me for about five months because we got into a little scuffle about respect for my mother. Gone were the days when I was 7 or 8 years old and begged my mother for a brother to join me and my three sisters. Naturally, I longed for a relationship with my brother.

Now that I no longer live at home and my time is very limited with my family, my brother and I have begun to build a foundation for a good relationship. I don't know when it started, but I now know I've made progress because I never gave up. Above all, I prayed on it and sought wisdom to help me to be a good big brother--lessons in honesty, trust, becoming a man, leadership and analyzing people. I looked for times in our conversations to inspire my brother.

I know I'll never be a father to him, but slowly I've learned how to be his brother.

BY Semaj Rashad

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POSTED AT 6:25 AM ET, 10/13/2010

MIDTERMS!

Need I say more?

The further I go, the more opposition I face. Midterms are absolutely crazy, so sorry if my long nights in the library draw me away from blogging for a few days. I'll be back at it in no time, but please pray for me! How about a special prayer to help me deal with the twin monsters called Thermodynamics and Biology!

Thank you!

BY Semaj Rashad

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POSTED AT 6:14 AM ET, 10/12/2010

Ready for the Digital East Conference

I am extremely ecstatic about the upcoming Digital East Conference at Tysons Corner. It's scheduled for October 18. I always look forward to attending conferences because I judge my growth from my experience with events such as these. As a young businessman, I am consistently trying to outdo myself and meet people who will take me to the next level. Trust me when I tell you that no matter how big my network is, there's still another million people out there that a) I haven't met and b) could take me to another plateau in life.

This makes the Digital East Conference a perfect match for someone with two businesses (Card Scan Man and Elevator Up Magazine) that rely on the Web to function. According to the program description, the conference will bring together, "hundreds of Internet executives, online marketers, web strategists, bloggers, entrepreneurs and investors at the inaugural event for expert content on opportunities and trends created by the latest in web innovation."

The following is a list of general preparatory measures I take when planning to attend conferences:

-Develop a plan of attack. Include hotel, travel, what breakout sessions to attend, what companies/people to meet and then research the companies, etc. The 30 minutes you spend planning could save you hours of frustration at the event or lead to a great new client!
-Bring a surplus of business cards; make sure the contact information is current. Never be caught unprepared because it sours a reputation and you never know if you'll be spotlighted and run through all 500+ cards you just ordered.
-As a student it is always a good idea to bring a few resumes just in case. Recruiting doesn't only happen at job fairs and it is my experience that people are more impressed when you have a resume at an event unrelated to recruiting.
-Have your elevator speech prepped! You ought to know who you are, why you're at the event, what you hope to accomplish and how other attendees can be helped by you or how they can help you.
-Take pride in your appearance. At an event with hundreds of people you want to ensure you are remembered and it starts with what people see before you even introduce yourself. Hair, breath, pressed clothes, shined shoes, cut finger nails (so you don't scratch people), etc. Check out the event website(s) to see attire description as well as pictures of past events to ensure you're coming correct. Remember: dress for the job you want, not the one you have!

Glad I can help and if you're looking to grow your career or business on the web, I highly encourage you to attend this event as well!

BY Semaj Rashad

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POSTED AT 6:57 AM ET, 10/ 8/2010

My action-packed life

I wonder who in the world has a life as action packed as mine. The day begins at 7 a.m. or 8 a.m., when I study or finish up some homework. Apparently, at Morgan State, I picked all the teachers that thought their subject was the only important class I was taking. With that impression, they have decided to cram as many tests, quizzes, projects and homework into every week. Additionally, even though I have classes only on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, my Tuesdays and Thursdays are packed with playing catch-up on any other work I might have missed.

In my extracurricular life, I have bit off more than the average man could chew, but I like to stay busy to make the most out of life and my time. Please don't judge me and tell me to slow down. On Mondays, Tuesdays and/or Thursdays, I usually have conference calls for my fraternity and business. (I have recently formed partnerships as a recruiter for college internships). On Wednesday nights, I drive an hour to Bible study in Landover. Every weekend, I try to attend a conference or major event for business purposes. And, oh yeah, I just joined the Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. step team at Morgan State, which practices about three times a week.

Although stressful at times, my busy life has made me who I am--an emerging entrepreneur on his way to the top!

BY Semaj Rashad

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