The Butterfly Effect
As published in MN Business Valley Journal
Four years ago, Brandon Poliszuk was like many other freshman starting their college career, anxious to earn a degree and graduate so he could start pursuing his dreams. But that’s not what happened. Instead, surrounded by the knowledge, mentorship and encouragement of faculty, along with discovering his own passions in life, Poliszuk completely transformed during his first two years at Minnesota State Mankato and was able to spread his wings long before he donned his cap and gown.
While still a student, he formed his own company dubbed Social Butterfly.
“I was a sophomore taking MGMT 200 at the time and one of our big projects was to come up with a business idea and create a website, a business plan, and some of the other basic tasks for starting a company,” says Poliszuk. “The majority of the class came up with clothing companies, but I believe that is a saturated market. However, I knew there was opportunity in social media marketing. So I decided to start a social media marketing company, managing social media accounts for businesses. It wasn’t until the following year that the team and I realized we needed a way to create compelling content to give these accounts a twist, so we decided to invest into professional grade camera equipment and started learning videography and photography. From there we transformed into the creative agency we are today. “
Poliszuk says Social Butterfly’s mission is to give a business wings, establish an identity/personality for every company they work with. He refers to it as the Butterfly Effect, transforming companies.
We spoke with Poliszuk about the role the College of Business played in his success and what advice he has for other students fostering an entrepreneurial spirit.
Q: How did the College of Business help as you got going? Were there any particular classes or faculty that stand out to you?
A: The company really started to gain some attention when I introduced myself to the instructor in my BUS 295 class and told him what I had going and where I wanted to take the company. He got my foot in the door with the university and that was enough for people to start taking us more serious.
Q: What were some of your challenges in juggling being both a student and business owner?
Patience was one of my biggest challenges. I often found myself caught up in the moment and not taking it all in and enjoying the journey. It wasn’t until the end of my senior year that I really realized how perfect the timing is to start something while in college. Being so young, was the best time to take big risks. Now as I look back at some of our earlier ideas and projects, I can’t help but smile because we have come such a long way. I think the reason for that is because we are always wanting to improve ourselves, and that can amount to new milestones. Just as the college did for me, I like to push people I believe in to see them reach their full potential.
Q: Do you have advice for fellow entrepreneurs?
A: Keep your life balanced. By that, I mean take time to disconnect and step away from all the stress. I’m a big believer in ‘work hard-play hard’, but only when it’s earned. I found that when I made time in my week to disconnect, I was more productive for the times that I was working (which was the majority of my time). I think you have to accept and understand that you’re going to miss out on things and make sacrifices as an entrepreneur but you don’t want to work just to stay busy, work to stay productive. Another tip I might add is to work with a sense of urgency and never give up. I’m not saying to rush things, but the faster you can produce quality work and move onto the next, the more opportunity will arise. Always be thinking and asking questions like:
What can I do now? What can we do better? What if we did this?
Q: What can you say to “inspire” other students who might be reading this?
A: Don’t give up! I learned this from a first-hand experience last year when
I applied for the Big Ideas Challenge and didn’t make it as a finalist. I was down on myself and took a step back and asked myself why I didn’t make it. I worked on my weaknesses, I was persistent with my idea and I kept pushing for more. This year we were fortunate enough to be hired for a promotional video and professional photography for the Big Ideas Challenge. This taught me to never give up and everything happens for a reason, you just have to find out what the reason is. Remember that everything you go through, good and bad, grows you.