I recently attended a series of panel events held by the Impact Centre at the University of Toronto. The two panels I attended included successful individuals discussing both social entrepreneurship and freelancing.

As a student who has recently faced the dreaded voyage of finding a summer internship, I have also been actively thinking about what career path I would like to go down—whether that be a web developer, marketing strategist, sports marketing specialist, or a business owner (you can see why I might be stressed out). The questions in my head: Should I do freelancing? What if I don’t make any money? Should I start my own business? Do I have the resources and time to do that? Needless to say, I was rather lost and consumed by my own doubtful thoughts.

Which leads me to attending the Entrepreneurship 100: Conversations panel series at UofT. The industry leaders that attended were exceptional speakers. They provided in-depth knowledge not only about the industry, but their personal experiences and journeys. Being in the Digital Business Management program, I’d say it was a rather happy coincidence that the first panel included Heather Payne, the founder of Ladies Learning Code and HackerYou. The cherry on top: the second panel included Marg Reffell, a successful freelance web developer whose business is booming.

I was given the chance to speak to these ladies during the networking portion of the event. I was able to ask relevant questions regarding my career path and how to cope with such stresses. It is without a doubt, that I can say I learned a lot from all the panellists. While I still may not know what career path I want to choose, I feel confident in knowing that if I decide to be an entrepreneur, I don’t have to be scared of failure. I believe the greatest takeaway from Entrepreneurship 100, is that no business founder begins knowing how to do everything. Legality, finance, accounting, and all other technical knowledge is acquired throughout the process of running a business, not before. That’s not to say you shouldn’t do your research beforehand, but it means that you don’t have to be scared of the unknown. In the end, it seems that if you put in your maximum amount of effort, along with some help from supportive friends and family (or sometimes investors), and a bit of luck, anyone could be a successful entrepreneur.

A huge thank you to Taylor Wilkes and Charles Plant at the Impact Centre for making this happen!

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