By Danielle Anderson The Daytona Beach News-Journal
WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Jodee Soltes is the Co-Owner of "Clean Eats Kitchen", a meal prep shop that provides healthy meals so you don't have to cook. In this Q&A Soltes whips up some of her top tips for budding entrepreneurs.
Jodee Soltes is a multitasker balancing a career in education -- she teaches three business classes at Flagler Palm Coast High School -- with entrepreneurship as co-owner of Clean Eats Kitchen in Palm Coast. She knows the value of networking.
Soltes shares her insights about business networking in Flagler County in this week's On the Spot.
Q: What is the name of the class you teach at FPC and how are you connected to the FBLA?
A: There are three classes in the program: Principles of Entrepreneurship, Business Management and Law and Business Ownership.
Future Business Leaders of America is a co-curricular club. I am the advisor. All of my classes help work on all of our projects, such as the community service fundraising and the Career Fair.
Q: As a business instructor teacher and an entrepreneur, why is networking crucial?
A: I tell my students that they need to continue to network because they never know how they may cross paths with someone in the future. If they make an impact on someone, that person will remember them and be willing to help them in the future, i.e. mentor, job.
As many entrepreneurs will tell you, people buy from people that are genuine and really know you. Networking is just something an entrepreneur must do, even if they don't like it.
I know from talking to people that lots of entrepreneurs feel very uncomfortable doing it but it gets better each time you go to an event. I am trying to get my son Joey, who is my business partner at Clean Eats Kitchen, to attend events but at 26 he doesn't like to do it!
As a teacher, many of my entrepreneur friends come into my classroom to help out by teaching a particular topic, act as a judge or just share their entrepreneurial experiences. It's amazing how most entrepreneurs are willing to share their knowledge with the kids.
Q: What are some of the key components you teach young entrepreneurs in your class?
A: The most important skill they learn is communication. The students in my beginning class are required to go through Toastmasters training for eight weeks in the class. Next would be leadership, determination, how to prepare a business plan and social responsibility. Every year it is surprising to me how many kids want to know what is in it for them. They don't understand they need to help others as an entrepreneur. Then they seem to get hooked and ask what are we doing next and who are we helping.
Q: Have any of the students in your classes gone on to start businesses?
A: Lots of students have stayed in the field of business and some plan on opening their own once they get that experience. Some work in their family businesses and a few have actually started businesses, such as car detailing. Marketing is their biggest challenge. That is why networking is so important. Word of mouth is the best form of advertising for a business. The students learn about all the resources available to start up a business and a few have taken advantage of those opportunities. ___ Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.