Before co-founding OZY Media in 2013 and launching New York's answer to SXSW, OZY Fest, Carlos Watson had multiple careers. He worked in politics, built and sold a million dollar company, served as the Global Head of Education Investment Banking for Goldman Sachs, and was an Emmy-award-winning news anchor.
While Watson himself holds two degrees (an A.B. in Government from Harvard University and a J.D. from Stanford Law School) he says that school is not always the ultimate secret to success.
"Some things can be taught in business school and some of it comes down to you," he says.
Watson argues that there are three traits that entrepreneurs need in order to succeed in any industry:
"The world is at a powerful crossroad in so many ways," says Watson. "Whether it's how we treat each other, how we raise our families or how we work."
Because the world is at such a crucial intersection, businesses must be driven by a mission, not just profit, argues the CEO. "You have to have a larger mission," he explains. "You can't simply be a commercial entity. It's too hollow at a time where so much is at stake."
For Watson, finding his business mission has always come naturally. "There has always been a meaningful part of me that has wanted to be an entrepreneur with a bigger vision and a bigger mission," he says.
One of the biggest parts of being an entrepreneur, according to Watson, is dealing with disappointment, "When you are an entrepreneur, you are usually getting bad news, a half to two-thirds of the time."
In order to rebound from setbacks, entrepreneurs need to have dogged determination or as Watson describes it, "a steel stomach."
This trait is especially important for budding entrepreneurs at the beginning of their careers. "You are going to take lots of chances and in the early stages, most of them aren't going to work out," explains Watson. "But do you have a steel stomach? Or does rejection make you really unhappy?"
"Getting rejected is hard," he says, "but that's part of being a new company."
For Watson, the most important part of being a successful entrepreneur is having a passion for what you do. Your business "has to be something that you are wildly passionate about," he says.
According to Watson, passion is the only thing that can sustain you through the highs and lows associated with running a business. "If you just try and do something for money or because you kind of like it, the eighth time you get socked in the jaw, you're not going to get back up."
"If you don't really have some love and excitement for your business to sustain you through all the ups and downs," he says, "you'll never make it."
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