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BeeSmart founder shares entrepreneurial wisdom

By Savannah Phillips, student writer

Do you have what business owner Julie Bee refers to as the “entrepreneurial bug”?

On Nov. 9, the founder and president of BeeSmart Social Media imparted knowledge to Wingate students that she wishes someone had shared with her at the start of her endeavors. 

During her Lyceum event, Bee took students step-by-step through her journey to becoming a business owner. A feat she accomplished on Sept. 1, 2008, at the age of 28.

Having learned the tricks of the trade while working for a Charlotte small business owner, Bee says she started BeeSmart Social Media out of necessity when the economic slump left her with no job and no way to pay her bills. 

“I couldn’t wait for things to get better,” Bee said, characterizing the leap of faith she felt forced to take as ultimately exactly what she needed.

Although she majored in accounting in college, Bee said she was always interested in marketing. She noted that her business is a marketing agency and that her interests had come full circle. She encouraged students to listen to their gut feelings about what they want to do.

Bee grew her business from a solo venture to now employing 10 people who can work from anywhere in the world.

Entrepreneurship, Bee says, “levels the playing field.” She said she knew a homeless person who started a business and became a millionaire. 

Bee said fear of failure is what limits opportunity. “If you’re really considering entrepreneurship, now is the time to take the leap. Go for it!” she told students.

Bee offered six takeaways for Wingate students considering this career path:

  1. Give yourself permission to fail. What you’re really doing is giving yourself permission to try. Best lessons come from failures.

  2. Identify as soon as you can if you’re a visionary or manager. Once you choose which you are, the faster you can excel.

  3. Practice the three Rs: resilience, resourcefulness and relentlessness.

  4. Develop sales skills. You must be able to sell.

  5. Be vulnerable, humble and willing to ask for help. Seek a mentor and helpful resources.

  6. Overcome imposter syndrome by keeping an “I’m-a-badass file” to remind yourself of your accomplishments so that you build confidence by keeping your goal in front of you.

Bee’s speech was the final installment of the Leadership & Entrepreneurship Series presented by the Porter B. Byrum School of Business with support from NC IDEA. Other speakers were Jose Alvarez, vice president of Prospera; and Fred Edwards, president and chief operating officer of Monroe-based chemical company Goulston Technologies and a Wingate University alum.

Nov. 15, 2021