Hi, my name is Courtney Laschkewitsch, I'm 22 years-old, and I just licensed four dorm room industry products.
Let me explain.
Ever since I was 5, I would make prototypes out of paper. From designing completely new products to new ideas based off of old ones, I spent my childhood as an inventor.
My box of prototypes
The path to making inventing a career wasn't as easy.
I was mostly home schooled until high school. This gave me the pathway to decide how I wanted to use my time and focus on what ignited the fire inside of me. So I spent countless days learning about business: How to run one, how many startups failed each year, how expensive it was, how much time it took, etc. By the time I was in my senior year of high school, I knew I wanted to start a business.
That's when it all went south.
I applied to colleges in and out of state, including those I could and could not afford. I had a choice of many colleges to go to, but I wanted to make sure it was worthwhile. I wanted to be in an environment that inspired me, and kept me focused on my dreams. I didn't want college to be my life. Education should be knowledge you need for your future, a stepping stone.
Sadly, the community and environment that we live in these days tells you to go to college. Out of sheer peer pressure, society forces you to take on debt, go to college, and then work your way up at a job you probably won't enjoy to pay off your college debt. I spent countless days going back and forth considering taking on debt and having the freewill to use that money towards something that meant more to me than a piece of paper.
I had many conversations with my counselors, my teachers, and my peers about what I should do. I would bring up the point that many successful entrepreneurs, movers and shakers, and doers out there either didn't go to college, or dropped out. Either they realized they didn't need it, or what they really needed was inside themselves. People would immediately bounce back at my remark and state that 'those people' were born different, born unique, one in a million or born with something that they instantly believed I didn't have.
After these conversations, I kept leaving thinking, "What if I am unique? What if I am that one in a million? What if?"
A few days before I had to decide where to go to college, I realized that it came down to choosing peer pressure over myself. My parents and I talked about this decision non-stop. They mentioned that going to a community college bridges the gap between freewill and debt free. And that's exactly what I did. I went to a community college in Aptos, California called Cabrillo College and graduated with associates degrees in Entrepreneurship, Communications, and Liberal Arts. I made my first business there, a snap jewelry business called Intersnapable, in an environment that inspired me.
After the people of Santa Cruz recognized my entrepreneurial spirit with a NEXTies Award in 2015 in the Youth Division, I knew I wanted to sustain myself with my dreams. But how? I didn't want to spend countless hours working on my business, living and breathing it. I wanted to become an entrepreneur, but also not be in debt. I was searching for books on how to do just that and I found Invent It, Sell It, Bank It by Shark Tank star Lori Greiner. This book started my journey into alternative options, and the book that ended my search was One Simple Idea by Stephen Key.
All this time I had felt like I was searching for something that I didn't believe existed… and then I found it. I felt like I had found the Golden Ticket! I still do.
From reading One Simple Idea, I learned about inventRight. I joined the inventRight coaching program. It was the best decision I had ever made.
It still is.
From all the naysayers to the you-can't-be-successful-without-a-degree people, I am happy to share this: I have my first signed licensing deal for four products with a wonderful company, I am following my dreams, and I could not be happier.
Listen to yourself. A four year college isn't always the answer to success. You just might know yourself better than anyone else.
Courtney also helps manage Inventors Groups of America, the group cofounded by Stephen Key and Andrew Krauss in the summer of 2017. Congratulations again Courtney!