016: Sam Forline: From Athlete to Scholar to Entrepreneur

Meet 24 year-old entrepreneur, Sam Forline. Sam attended college originally for soccer and discovered that he had a real knack for Chemistry and Math. He decided that he wanted to become a doctor, but reality struck when Sam realized the amount of time and debt that he would accrue over the course of his studies in pursuing that profession so he dropped out of school all together.

Falling back on soccer, he coached other soccer players to make ends meet as he figured out what he wanted to do with his life. Through significant trials and setbacks, Sam landed on doing odd jobs for people around their yards when suddenly an idea struck - Sam would go on to create an enterprise level network of college students looking for work to clean yards, remove trees, mow lawns, wees gardens, shovel snow, etc. called Blue Collar Scholars.

The business became (and is) so successful around greater Washington D.C. that Sam self-funded a software development company called Scholar Era, that is a consortium of app developers for any entrepreneur with an idea for "the next greatest app." Scholar Era is quickly growing and Sam is continually exposed to upcoming technology and app innovations.

In this episode, Sam shares his personal journey of becoming and entrepreneur, gives insight on understanding the Millennial generation and provides many instances of pertinent advice for anyone seeking to become an entrepreneur. 

CONTACT SAM

email: sam@scholarera.com

Twitter: @forlinesam

Websites

Scholar Era

Blue Collar Scholars


SHOW NOTES


What do you do? [04:33]

Sam starts off by explaining how he answers that question when asked and how it largely depends on the person asking it. 

Sam's Entrepreneurial Journey [05:15]

Sam explains his story of playing soccer, studying chemistry, dropping out of school and ultimately founding his first successful company, Blue Collar Scholars. His initial attempts as an entrepreneur were met with skepticism by many people close to Sam and he explains how he worked through that period. 

Sam explains his initial struggles as an entrepreneur [06:55]

Sam explains the genesis and development of Blue Collar Scholars [08:23] 

When you're doing the right thing, you can't go wrong. What I've realized in starting a business... people love to help you out. When they see that you are trying, when they see that you are putting in the effort, when they see that you are dedicated and that your desire is to do well, they want to help you out. They love helping people out with drive...
People don't buy what, they buy why.

Learn about how Sam used content marketing to initially advertise his business [11:18]

Sam explains how he placed simple signs around the city that simply stated "We Do Yard work."  Sam explains how quickly people responded together with word of mouth regarding his business concept of using college students to do yard work, aptly named: Blue Collar Scholars. 

Sam shares his sign placement strategy which greatly helped his business spread [13:16]

Founding Story of Scholar App Studios [15:34]

Sam explains the idea behind his original software development company, Scholar App Studios. 

I really believe all business is, is finding a problem and finding a solution. Between finding the problem and the solution, having your business as the bridge to solve the problem for the customer...

Sam explains the overall purpose behind Scholar App Studios. [17:43]

Sam explains how he has merged Scholar App Studios into a larger company, Scholar Era [20:40]

Sam shares insight on the Millennial Generation [21:56]

Sam openly states that he believes that "millennials are the greatest generation." Listen to how Sam defends his statement and how millennials approach business.

Sam shares insight on how to communicate with millennials [24:00]

Sam explains his strategy on how he can form a relationship of trust over text with another millennial [25:12]

What is your biggest challenge right now? [26:10]

My biggest challenge is time. 

Listen how Sam juggles his time between determining which projects to focus on and his realization of having to appropriately expand his operations. Sam is actively looking for app developers and anyone who can help contribute to the mission of Scholar Era. 

What have you learned from your failures? [29:03]

I have learned that every failure makes you more successful in the future. Every time you are kicked down to the ground, every time someone laughs at you, every single time someone says  your idea sucks and you keep going, it makes you stronger. Because every time is a lesson....

Sam explains his views on failure and how is has catapulted him to success and reminds him to keep going. 

Steve Jobs said that he is convinced that more than 50% of becoming a successful entrepreneur is simply not giving up. 

What has been one of your biggest ah-hah moments? [31:48]

One of my biggest ah-hah moments is that people are always willing to help. Human beings are naturally nice. Human beings naturally want to help each other out and when you try and really put your neck on the line is trying to start something, people are really willing to give you money, to use your services, to give you advice, to connect you with the right people...
Once I realized that people are so willing to help you out, so willing to show you what they've done to give you advice, I really realized that I can do it. I can make my businesses succeed. 

Who inspires Sam Forline? [35:22]

The people around me.

Sam shares how the people around him have made a huge impact in his life and how they continually inspire him. 

What is one piece of advice that you would give to aspiring entrepreneurs? [36:35]

First of all, calm down. When I first got the energy to do it, I scared people with my ideas. So what you need to do is if you have an idea, get it on paper. Put up a website. Get the best people around you. You can't go far alone. You really need as much advice as you can from the people around you and I also suggest is that you go out there and try it.
It's not going to help you if you say I'll do it next year. Guess what, someone else is going to do it. Go out there and try, there's nothing stopping you...

RECOMMENDED RESOURCES


Start with Why by Simon Sinek

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