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Meet Colin Wareham. Colin is 18 years old and he’s already becoming a known entrepreneur in his hometown, Noblesville, Indiana. You’ll find in Colin’s story that he’s already experienced multiple business failures, but he leveraged what he learned from his failures and from mentors to start his company Educaid. If you want to learn about today’s future leaders, start here with Colin Wareham.
Colin, tell us about yourself.
My name is Colin Wareham. I’m an entrepreneur. I think it’s who I’ve always been. Perhaps not on the surface until these past few years, but I’ve always been entrepreneurial. My first entrepreneurial experience was when I started my first lemonade stand in elementary school. But in elementary school, I started a newspaper which I wrote, printed, and sold to the other students. I also kept a journal of inventions I thought I should create when I got older. Mars probes, lasers, planes, and cloning machines. I definitely let my imagination run loose as a kid. I think that was something that really solidified my purpose. I was kind of an outlier in the way that I’ve been thinking of my life’s purpose since I was in 2nd grade. I always knew that I had to create things for other people’s benefit. I always knew that if it was something along those lines I should be pretty happy.
My career and purpose have always really consumed my life. Yes, I played sports and was in school but even from a young age, I considered those side-line activities while I focus on what I thought I was meant to do. Don’t get it twisted though, I was never a particularly disciplined kid. I frequently got in trouble at school, always seemed to struggle with authority, and was more of a daydreamer until I really started to get into entrepreneurship. But once I started to discipline myself I realized that I could manifest my potential.
I have always been different from most kids. I know that everyone is different and has numerous variables under the hood, but I always felt like an outlier. I never felt like I fit into most crowds or organizations. But once I discovered the young entrepreneur network and the business world, I felt right at home. Naturally, I spend a lot of time in that space.
I’m a very curious person. Anything that can be learned, I will be interested in. I’m always learning or getting better at something, it’s just who I am. I’m insanely competitive, and that’s not always a good thing, and I’m motivated by responsibility. I think lifting a load is what gives life purpose. Even if you had all the money in the world, you might not have a purpose. That’s why I try to always make sure I’m doing something that I think is important.
What are you working on? How did you come up with this idea?
Educaid is what I do now. Educaid is a business that gets young people excited about entrepreneurship through games. I came up with this idea because I felt like there was a strong need for someone or something to call more young people to entrepreneurship. I started three businesses in high school, and all of them failed. It wasn’t until my third one where I even thought about getting a mentor. I taught myself everything I knew up until that point. For a while, I had no resources from my school and no outside help in entrepreneurship.
Looking back on all my failures, I realized that I didn’t want other kids who were like me to never see their businesses come to a reality simply because they had no resources, network, money, or idea of what they were doing. I didn’t want to provide them with those things either because I feel that there are people out there who could do a far better job at that then I could. My goal is to simply get young people excited about entrepreneurship so when young people are crazy enough to actually start a business, they know to go out and finds mentors. They know the importance of the growth mindset, and the importance of not being afraid to fail. The excitement around this topic will generate the culture that makes successful entrepreneurs successful because it really is all about being apart of a good culture. I’ve learned that firsthand.
Games are a good way to get people excited. I love games of all types, and I’ve always loved to design them. It’s just a passion of mine to be in the space of card games.
Walk us step-by-step through the process that you had to go through to get from the early stages to where you are today.
Educaid didn’t start out as what it is today. When we started, we made board games that were expansive and in depth. The games were to tie into school’s curriculum and it sounded really good on paper. The problem was it was really difficult to sell to schools and there were a lot of issues with finding the right people to talk to and the right way to market the product. It was hard to get feedback on marketing efforts because the people in a school system that make certain decisions changes from school to school. The outbound marketing was really inconsistent. That’s when we made the switch to card games, cheaper to produce and sell, which means we could ease up on the B2B marketing, which we didn’t have as much experience in as we did B2C marketing. We made the switch to card games in June with basically no customer base.
In early August, our card game, Lemonade Empire, went on for pre-orders. The support from our fans was incredible with almost 200 orders within the first two days. Having started from no customer base just a month before, we’re pretty proud of that. Orders are still coming in day by day, and we have lots of really cool content and ways to engage with our fans coming up here soon. We’re really excited.
Why did you decide to become an entrepreneur?
I think it’s the only job I’ll ever feel satisfied in. I embrace the entrepreneur culture wholeheartedly, and I identify as an entrepreneur before my gender. It really is who I am and I couldn’t see it any other way. Of course, that’s easy to say now, but back in 2nd grade when I was drawing up inventions and pondering cool projects, that was me foretelling myself entrepreneurship.
Tell us about the challenges you’ve had and walk us through the process on what steps you’ve taken to move forward.
If I had a dollar for everytime Educaid ran into a problem, I wouldn’t need to run Educaid anymore. One of the biggest challenges we’re facing right now is logistics and fulfilling orders. We have to ship Lemonade Empire to almost every state in the US, and that’s not an easy thing to do. We also have to do it in a cost-effective way, or else we won’t be fulfilling orders for much longer. With that being said, I’m confident this will go down as another problem we had, then solved. Other ones included marketing budget, bookkeeping, legal issues, game design issues, and even finding enough time in the day to get the things I need to get done, done.
One thing I always like to remind myself is that I will never face a problem that won’t improve me as a person and as an entrepreneur. So even if the problem wins, I still walk away a bit smarter. This means I approach problems with optimism and I trust that the dots will connect in the end. I always try to stay calm and rational, not making decisions out of emotion. I always try to train myself to deal with more stress to always be prepared for whatever life or business throws at me. Another thing I do that I think helps is I look at almost everything as a test. That way I am always trying to prove myself to myself, which is a healthy way I was taught by my high school English teacher, Mr. McKinney, to deal with challenges and tasks.
Why do you think Educaid will be successful?
I think Educaid will be successful because the young generation is thirsty for a purpose. We can see it in the suicide rates, mass shootings, and depression. Real social interaction is dying fast, and kids are lonelier than ever, with little direction. They’re not taught about these things in schools, and they just waft through their early adulthood without much direction or purpose. We have a lot of people in the mainstream culture who say a lot of things that we eat up, but it lacks substance. I think we’re plagued with materialism and social media, and many kids aren’t actually happy. Yes, they have fun, but they’re not happy.
I think a purpose is a key to all of this, and purpose is derived from responsibility and having something that you care about and pursue. We don’t have a voice in our culture advocating for this. What mainstream person is telling young adults to get their life together? What voice is saying that it’s cool to wake up early, or to work hard, or to clean your room? In the entrepreneur community, these are mainstream ideas. If you look at the entrepreneur community, they’re much happier than the general population. They wake up with purpose, and they do things that have meaning. I think our kids could use a healthy dose of entrepreneurial thinking. Educaid is here to give them that.
Can you tell us about the Incubator your company is apart of?
The StartedUp and Innovate WithIN Incubator. It’s a result of the Innovate WithIN pitch competition. From over 300 competitors, Educaid was blessed enough to win the competition. Ourselves, along with a few of the top competitors in the competition continue their businesses with the help of the incubator. It’s been a blessing of resources and opportunity. We all recently went out to NYC to meet some of the most accomplished business people in the world. It even got featured on Forbes. We also frequently meet with our mentors within the group to get advice and guidance. The Incubator has definitely been crucial to Educaid’s development as a business and my development as an entrepreneur.
What do the next 5 years look like for you?
I have envisioned two scenarios that could be the result of the next 5 years. A heaven, and a hell. Basically, if I live up to what I think I can do and I become what I dream about becoming, then that’s heaven. If I fall into bad habits and lose sight of all my goals, then that’s hell. Neither is out of the question. Heaven would be financially independent, starting a new business with even more potential than Educaid or to turn Educaid into a much larger brand.
An office, employees, and being able to talk with people about the mission of my brand and solving interesting problems for the world. Traveling and speaking, probably most important is having strong habits and values, and being the person I always hoped I would be. Hell would be me becoming lazy, unmotivated, burnt out, and financially unstable or dependent. Basically, if I have to live with thinking about what I could have been, and knowing that its damn well my fault.
What is the best advice you have for people wanting to start a business?
Try something. Fail. Try again, a bit smarter this time, and fail again. Rinse and repeat until successful. It doesn’t matter what business you start. It’s not about your business, it’s about you. A good entrepreneur can do well in any business. The game is all the same. Also, time is not of the essence. There is no race to success. When tomorrow comes, don’t worry about being right; worry about being a little less wrong than you were today. You will get there, just be patient.
City where you’re based out of: Indianapolis
LinkedIn: Colin Wareham
I like to read material from all subjects. Physics and Psychology are what I probably read the most, but I also like novels and poetry. I spend most of my time working, but when I’m free I’ll try to catch up with friends or play piano and violin.