People are an invaluable element in the process of turning a startup idea into a reality. There are so many amazing mentors that have coached and led Charity Charge to where it is now that we are thankful for. As a way to return the favor to others, CEO and founder Stephen Garten has become a dedicated advocate to the empowerment of future entrepreneurs through education. In particular, Stephen has established a close relationship with The University of Texas at Austin, which was instrumental in his decision to pursue his entrepreneurial ambition.

A week ago, Professor Karen Landolt invited Stephen to be a guest speaker to a group of budding entrepreneurs from her Foundations of Entrepreneurship class at UT. With a focus on how to translate business knowledge and critical thinking skills in order to explore issues in entrepreneurship, Stephen was able to use the class’s platform to take the students through the roller coaster ride that is starting your own business. Candid as always, Stephen gave the students real examples of the good and the bad that comes with entrepreneurship as a way to not only equip them with the necessary tools and expectations but also to inspire them to continue pursuing their dreams even when times get tough.

From finding the courage to take that first leap to finding the right people that will work side-by-side with you to make this dream happen, Stephen pulled from personal experiences in order to take the students though the different stages of founding a startup. However, the biggest lesson that Stephen wanted to instill into these ambitious students was on how to stay motivated in the face of failure.

“Crazy to think back on how close we were to folding. Can you imagine how many other people with great ideas drop out because of the very same fear of failure I had awhile back?”

The fear of failure can be a paralyzing force, especially when someone is just recently experiencing life outside their last safety net – college. However, if you believe passionately in the idea you wish to pursue, Stephen encourages all to move forward no matter what. View any setbacks as building blocks towards your success and continue looking straight ahead towards your ultimate goal. This requires a lot of positive thinking and surrounding yourself with the right people who will elevate you and your cause to the next level. Ultimately, you must be fearless and put yourself out there. That’s the big takeaway that Stephen wanted to share with the students and you: dare to put yourself out there. There is no fear in the world that can match the sense of satisfaction you get when you see your idea materialize into a successful, real company. Believe in yourself because you have what it takes to succeed.