Interviews: Malachi Haines, Sr., Hunter Rice, JP Bauxbaum

In this post, you will find three interviews with three entrepreneurs. They were created to reflect on the possible parallel between entrepreneurship and the mythic structure of the journey of the hero, as articulated by Joseph Campbell. These interviews were conducted as part of the Arts Entrepreneurship program. 

Malachi Haines, Sr., Oasis Total Development

  1. In your process of entrepreneurship, can you describe 3 significant obstacles you faced and how you overcame them?

One, I would say, is outsiders. People who don’t share your vision. That’s the biggest obstacle you can have. Two, is self-doubt. When things don’t work out, you question if this is the path you should be on. And the third one is things not working out, for reasons outside of yourself. How do you overcome all of them? Through perseverance. The one word. You persevere through people doubting you, to the extent that you may have to remove yourself from them. You persevere through self-doubt, reassuring yourself that you have the goods and you can deliver; and you persevere through natural circumstances. Things just happen. It doesn’t mean it’s going to be this way always. Tomorrow is another day, you go try it again.

2. Were there any moments of your entrepreneurial process when you considered giving up or were there moments when there “seemed to be no light?

Absolutely. I think when I lost one major contract; one particular school district I was consulting for decided to bring the entire process in-house, and not outsource that need any longer. At that point, when you hit a drop, then you start wondering, “OK, should I continue trying to be an entrepreneur or should I go back in the box and just be an employee for a while?” And I actually sought that opportunity, and fortunately, when I sought just to become an employee, for some reason, I was overqualified and no one wanted to hire me. They were all intimidated by it. They were wondering why I was I trying to step backwards; and that increased my momentum to say, “Stay on the path you’re on.

  1. What role has change played in your process, if any? Have you changed?

Change is the order of the day, and change…I look at change as growth. When you grow, you learn better, you do belter, you perform better. There’s a scripture that says as you see the light, walk therein; which means as you learn to do things differently and better, you accept it. Being change adverse means you stay right there, using the same ingredients, getting the same output, and nothing is improved. So being flexible, to learn, if you want to call that changing, is very important; because you may have to do that midstream, and the person who is flexible enough to be able to modify his behavior, modify his technique, modify his geographic location…be willing to do that, then, again you are the risk taker. To the risk taker goes the reward.

  1. What key takeaways or knowledge have you gained as a result of your experience?

That, like the weather, seasons change and nothing remains the same, and so…by persevering, you should never throw everything away just because you’ve been met with an obstacle. An obstacle does not necessarily mean drop everything and find another way. Sometimes it means learn how to overcome that obstacle; and so, in reaching problems, they are not perceived as an opportunity to drop and throw everything away, and stop, and divert your course. It can just be a growth opportunity for you to overcome, so that when the obstacle comes again further in the future, you already have the prerequisite knowledge to overcome it.

Hunter Rice, Beyond US Apparel

  1. In your process of entrepreneurship, can you describe 3 significant obstacles you faced and how you overcame them?

Well recently we had a pretty big obstacle. We were producing our t-shirts in Honduras and apparently, a strike started, which was between people
in a big port in Los Angeles and people delivering the products, and so, we were on hold for about two months, which was really discouraging.

  1. Were there any moments of your entrepreneurial process when you considered giving up or were there moments when there “seemed to be no light?

Most definitely. This was at the beginning when we first came up with the idea. We had a very broad vision of what we wanted to do. So really narrowing it down and understanding ourselves and what we wanted to accomplish was the most important part. I thought about quitting at times, simply because we just didn’t know what to do. We were just sitting on $5000 that the school granted us.

  1. What role has change played in your process, if any? Have you changed?

I’ve definitely grown through the process. Like I said, it’s all about building skills and becoming stronger.

  1. What key takeaways or knowledge have you gained as a result of your experience?

We’re still young. We’re still in school. For the most part we’re under out parents’ wings. And this is our time. If we’re going to take risks, this is the time. You don’t want to wait until after college to do it; and I think that’s really important for kids our age to understand.

JP Bauxbaum, Beyond US Apparel

  1. In your process of entrepreneurship, can you describe 3 significant obstacles you faced and how you overcame them?

Um, 3 obstacles. I guess the first is just communication. At least for me, I’m not the best at communicating my ideas, and communicating in like a powerful way of how I want things done. So, people tend to kind of, like, walk over me; Or they’re willing to listen, but I’m not really good at communicating, so they don’t really understand what I’m trying to say. The second obstacle, is just, I would say, a lot of our company that I have done, through production is like favors, so I get nervous asking people to do stuff for me. I don’t want to waste their time and it’s just kind of a nerve racking thing, like, “can you do this for me” one time after another, not knowing when they’re going to say sorry we don’t have time for you, and just getting stuck. Hmm, let’s see, third obstacle. I would just say like, timing. It’s very hard to find time to work on this and a lot of it is just impersonal working with people. And it just takes a lot of time. So being able to manage your time, from being at school to working on a project, to any various number of things is just something you have to manage and it’s just your time table. So it’s managing your time, that’s very difficult.

  1. Were there any moments of your entrepreneurial process when you considered giving up or were there moments when there “seemed to be no light?

Giving up? I guess I’d have to say about a half a year ago. We were working on the project and we weren’t really getting anywhere and we didn’t know what to do and so we were like “We’ll just order a bunch of these shirts and give them away and be done with it.” And that’s kind of the time when we thought we weren’t going anywhere and were going to stop. But in the end it actually ended up inspiring us to continue. So, that’s probably the darkest part so far. I believe that by doing what we did, we were able to come up with a better idea and it really kind of inspired us to continue with what we were doing and create something better than what we had.

  1. What role has change played in your process, if any? Have you changed?

Change, I feel like, as I said we had to change the clothing line around. We’ve had to add parts to our clothing line. I feel like the whole business keeps changing all the time. I think, as for me personally, I’ve changed a little bit. I feel like I’ve gotten to know more people and really learned a lot of lessons that have really changed me as a person and I understand what it’s really like to be out there, working with other people.

  1. What key takeaways or knowledge have you gained as a result of your experience?

I guess the key takeaways and knowledge are that in any business you start, you have to differentiate yourself. Many people have already thought of what you’ve thought of. So what I’ve learned is that if you position yourself the right way, good things will happen. I had something to contribute to this project. So, understanding what I have to contribute, and understanding what my role is, is knowledge that I’ve gained.

These interviews and analyses were conducted by student Malachi Haines for the Arts Entrepreneurship program at Meadows School of the Arts, SMU. They were created for the class Entrepreneurship and the Hero Adventure and are part of a blog series called Heroes Among Us.

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