Marc Colcer (BA Management ‘14) hasn’t been one to waste time, ever. He’s been living in an entrepreneurial-state-of-mind since he started selling lemonade as a young kid at his local golf course and hasn’t checked out since. On Feb. 7, 2017 he returned to East Lansing and spoke to approximately 40 Michigan State University Broad College of Business students as part of the Innovate State Speaker Series.

Marc Colcer

Broad College alumni entrepreneur Marc Colcer spoke at Innovate State.

“Make it happen” is the motto Colcer has lived by since he graduated high school; in fact, he still wears the wristband that his mom gave him when he graduated with the phrase on it. During his four years in college, he did just that.

One could argue that Colcer was half-student, half-entrepreneur during his time as at MSU. He started selling wristbands out of his dorm during his freshman year at MSU (and quickly learned an important lesson on legal rights – a mistake he hasn’t made twice). He went on to be a promoter for Life in Color and Muscle Milk, and was the event manager for the Land Shark, a known bar in East Lansing. He managed music producer Frank Hudson, was a promoter for the Lodges apartment complex and Powerhouse Gym, managed singer/songwriter Alexa Lusader, worked for Knockaround sunglasses, and is the co-founder of Wear Your Threads, an apparel line.

“The time I was the busiest was the time I did the best in school,” said Colcer. “And time management is incredibly important in entrepreneurship.”

He’s experienced both failure and success, but through it all passion and hard work were evident themes when times were tough and when times were good.

Colcer gave the students some important advice to take with them on their journey as entrepreneurs. Here are some of the main takeaways:

  • Don’t get complacent
  • Always continue learning — about everything (and read, read read! It’s power!)
  • Humble yourself, it takes a lot of work
  • You have to love what you’re doing
  • You’re going to fail; it’s not a bad thing, it’s how you learn
  • Find a mentor, someone that’s been there done that a few years before you
  • Make mutually beneficial deals; what are you receiving and what are you giving?
  • No idea is perfect; find people to hold you accountable
  • Listen to podcasts and get good sleep
  • Don’t be afraid to admit when you’re wrong
  • Don’t spend what you don’t have
  • Continue to have fun; have fun with life, and make sure you have a reason to celebrate

Colcer now lives in Los Angeles but often comes back to East Lansing for business. While the two cities starkly contrast each other – East Lansing’s population nearly reaches 50,000, while L.A. boasts just under 3.9 million – it poses an interesting question: how do you, as an entrepreneur, choose where to go?

“You have to figure out what you’re interested in,” said Colcer. “L.A. has a lot of new opportunities but it’s hard to make it.”

It’s not only hard to make it, but you have to be prepared for something new every day. Adaptability and flexibility is not just a good skill to have, but a necessity.

“The only thing that’s the same each day is four shots of espresso,” said Colcer. “After that, everything can be different. There’s no such thing as an average day. It’s part of what makes being an entrepreneur fun.”