My former student now a skilled entrepreneur–no thanks to his academics

The following is a lengthy conversation on Facebook between a former student of mine and me. His story is amazing. I really encourage you to read through it. I resisted the urge to cut it down because I wanted to capture his voice rather than my own.

Oh, an if you need some computer help, please consider: 2pra-repairs.com.

gk

Between M.P. and You
Gabriel Kuriloff August 10 at 9:42am
Hey M.P., I’m never looking at facebook so I rarely notice people trying to chat with me, but hi! How are you doing? Are you married? What’s going on?
M.P. August 10 at 10:26am
….Started my own computer company.. and another cleaning service company…
Gabriel Kuriloff August 11 at 9:30am
Your own computer company! That’s my man! What kind of work are you doing?
Gabriel Kuriloff August 11 at 9:30am
Are you in philly?
M.P. August 11 at 9:56am 
no, i live in Texas.. im still in the army finishing my contract in march, and then ill work from home.. my business had been bringing me more success than my army paycheck.. so i really have no reason to stay..
M.P. August 11 at 9:57am 
so what are u up to lately?
M.P. August 16 at 4:39pm
I work on computer repairs. Hardware and software. I also remote control customers computers to fix small computer issues.
Gabriel Kuriloff October 19 at 6:52pm
That’s the least surprising thing I’ve ever heard buddy! Sounds great. Way to put your skills to work. Are you enjoying yourself?I still live in South Philly. Same place, more kids.

check out schoolforreal.org and schoolforreal.wordpress.com for what I’m working on.

much love.

gk

M.P. October 19 at 11:34pm
thanks for the email, i remember talking to you about this on the summer after my 10th grade. we were talking about the lady that was the first principal in MBA, and how she had this vision for the school, but everything changed after she left.i have opened more businesses here in texas, i opened a Cleaning Service business, and hired jobless people to do the job. i am also funding a new company dedicated to new ideas that can help the world with issues such as pollution. right now we are working on building a new source of energy, and steering away from gasoline.

i looked over your website, i really like your logo. i think the logo tells a lot about what your mission is.

you are heading the right direction on how you believe that students learn best, with hands on and experiencing. (im sure you know that already)

im not sure how much you know about building a business, so if you need help just let me know.. im good at finding the right audience for you.. i can also show you some web designing, im not sure who you are designing through at the moment, but i will be glad to help if you need it.

i see that you are working with Yates.. and a few other people in your team, im sure that if this becomes a success, the standards will change for the future..

look forward to hearing for you..
i may be young, but this brain is full of information and skills

Gabriel Kuriloff October 21 at 12:13am
I appreciate it buddy.So, tell me more about your businesses? How have they worked? What have you learned from them?

M.P. October 21 at 12:29am 
the first business i opened was, 2pra-repairs, i learned some advertisement skills, because finding the right people is really important, avoid being categorized as spam.i had to do some paperwork to register the company, (making it legal), now we build, fix and protect computers.

then i opened the cleaning service business, before opening my businesses, i passed some surveys around, this way i know what people want, but dont have. then i make it happen.

hired some jobless people, and made a payroll for them, and did a criminal backround check on all of them… for their security and ny customers.

some time around march, im funding a shop for 1 person vehicles that will be built in nevada.

the computer company itself brings me around 2 thousand dollars a week, so i invest it into other projects.. i really like this.. i think im making a good difference in the world..

Tips: learn to properly advertise, reach the right people (not everyone).. get city council to sign off on ur business… then in your case, u need some presentations, Speeches, like the time that we made YELL, young educated leaders leading [Y.E.L.L. an anti-gun-violence organization I sponsored that led a rally in LOVE Park in Philly].. and i spoke at the conference, and the rally in Love Park.

i have tons of ideas, this email cant explain it all..

Gabriel Kuriloff October 21 at 8:44pm
Let’s make some time to talk on the phone. Are you coming to philly any time soon? Also, how’s your dad doing?I’m really impressed with your work my friend. Not surprised, but impressed. I can’t believe how much money you’re making, that is terrific.

How do you think you learned to get businesses started? How did you learn the skills you needed as a business person? Also, how did you learn how to do the actual computer work? (I’m trying to apply these principles to the school we’re building).

Are you saving? If not, get on that immediately (better yet, email my wife about making yourself a long-term savings plan).

Is it cool if I post this conversation on my blog?

gk

M.P. October 21 at 9:10pm
Sounds good.. yes u can post it..
M.P. October 21 at 10:28pm
i started learning about business when i was in the 11th grade.. my worst year in high school. i learned about the steps needed to take to start a business legally. i already had this plan set up, the company name was going to be 2PRAi am not sure of you ever noticed, but i always acted like i was doing business, wearing suits, meeting important people from the city, participating in rallies and meeting Mayors.. it all gave me experience on how to talk to people. sometimes i have to sit back and listen, this is how i know what people want.

with the computers, well, you taught me a lot of it, there were days when i wouldnt leave the computer room we had until 630pm.. as i got older, i started learning the software portion of computers. then when i decided to open my business, i made some agreements with microsoft, and antivirus companies, so i can redestribute the software. i was also granted permission to see how they created their software, now im working on developing my own programs.

with dedication, and learning, you can achieve anything. and im living proof..

Gabriel Kuriloff October 21 at 11:36pm
I’m glad that giant mess of machines we created was useful. I loved doing that with you guys. I really believe in what can be learned by giving people some tools and letting them work. I’m really proud of you. Also, I’m incredibly proud of you for working to employ homeless people. It’s genius and awesome for healing the world.You skipped two questions: 1) How’s your dad?; 2) HOW did you learn about business in 11th grade? From where? Books? TV? School? Also, I know you and I did a lot of going to city hall and such with YELL, but what else were you doing that you were meeting with mayors, etc.?

M.P. October 22 at 12:05am
my dad is doing great, i give him a call every once in a while when i have time. im saving money so that he cant retire sooner than later, he deserves a break.when i was in the 11th grade, things were not doing so good at home, so i moved out and moved in with some other people from japan. there, i had my own computer and we started looking for grants to start a business. we were reading this book that was all about grants. once we made a phone call with someone that might help us, he started asking questions that we didnt have answers for.. like, do we have a business plan, do we own a building, did we get the county’s approval to start a business, and everything was a NO.

from there, i went online and looked up, all the requirements needed to start a business.

then i went to websites that i knew were scams, i read over them and looked at their design, and kept asking myself, how can i tell this is a scam just by looking at it? i compared to legit websites and companies, and learned a lot by looking.

legit websites just have offers on their items, scams try to convince you in this one really long page that their product is real.

this is kind of random but studies show that when a man shakes hands with his palm facing down, hes more straight forward and knows what hes about. palm facing up, means that you want the other person to trust you.

websites are the same way.. one says, “heres what i have, click to buy”, then the scams say ” heres what we have, click here to buy, and if you dont believe us, check these testimonials, click here to buy, and if you dont beleive us yet, we are just like seen on TV, click here to buy.” and they keep going forever..

i on the other, took all those questions i got, and made answers out of them. the internet has a lot of resources to learn how to build a business. just make sure you stay on track, and save everything.

i swear i can type forever on how everything managed to work for me..

M.P. October 22 at 12:14am
i have a step by step process on how to start a business.. but im actually pretty simple.. i walk up to a person and ask “hey, if you had your own business, what would it be?” she says “i want to own a bar”.. so i think, ok, a bar is not an invention, so what makes your bar different from other bars? and when they say “i dont know” then i cant fund the business. its not original, and im all about being original. now if i ask this lady what makes her bar different from other bars, and she tells me, my bar, “[and then explains an inovative concept that I will not reveal on this blog] and walah!” then i say.. ok, let make business.i used this as an example because its a project that i am working on.

and that is what business is about. you cant compete if you are one of a kind.

Gabriel Kuriloff October 22 at 12:05pm
You should write a book!
Gabriel Kuriloff October 22 at 12:05pm
I’ll help you if you want.
Gabriel Kuriloff October 23 at 5:20pm
Do you have any websites or links you want me to add to my blog post? I’m happy to free advertise for you. I can also use or name or not depending on what’s better for you. (I’m not going to post that last bit about your bar, because I wouldn’t want anyone stealing your ideas).gk

M.P. October 24 at 6:11pm
the computer repair business website is 2pra-repairs.com. im still workin on it, but im already able to provide services. since i am doing this business by myself, it takes a while longer, but its getting there.
Gabriel Kuriloff October 25 at 10:36am
We should definitely talk about your sites and your work. Would you like me to do some editing for you? Also, I love the look and the design of your sites, it’s very much your style, but the flash is making it really slow. Flash also makes it hard for mobile phone users to visit your site. I would consider making flash-free versions?
M.P. October 25 at 12:10pm
I do plan to make a flash free version after this one is complete. I would appreciate help with editing. I’ve been publishing my website since july.. building a solid website is not an overnight task like I thought it was. And my goal after building these sites is to make sure that they are easily editable. This way I can update as often as I need to.
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2 comments

  1. a few months down the road and i run into this page.. thanks for posting it Gabriel… it feels good to look back and think ” and im still making it happen!”..

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