Diondraya Taylor is the founder of Mindset and Milestones Organization. She is a graduate of UCLA with a B.S. in Psychology & minor in Entrepreneurship, and is now pursuing her PhD in Education. She has served as a mentor for younger women through service with the Women Founders Foundation, Girl Scouts and much more!
TechStars Tool Kit - Has excellent videos and worksheets that help people develop ideas and think through growth strategy in a really beginner friendly way
Q: Why should a high school student have a LinkedIn?
A: Linkedin provides you with a platform that can gear you towards being successful, and oftentimes you can find inspiration on it such as internship opportunities or jobs. Linkedin gives you the opportunity to build connections with others in ways that are distinctly advantageous to your potential career path; simply building a Linkedin page to communicate yourself professionally is a skill.
Q: Would you connect with someone you don’t know on Linkedin, or should it just be school peers?
A: If there is someone doing something that you find interesting on Linkedin, send them a connection invite with a note attached to it. Cold emailing has worked for me in the past as well- I’ve gotten internships and positions.
Q: What do you put on your LinkedIn account if you have no work experience?
A: Clubs and organizations that you are involved in during High School are valid; they are roles that you gain experience from. Include your experiences, any scholarships that you have won, any competitions that you've done, and definitely mention volunteer services.
Q: When networking, how do you know when someone might be a liability/dead weight.
A: If you have connected with someone and you are finding that they are not helpful to you, continue to be respectful, but you do not have to reach out again. There is no negative to having someone connected to your homework because you never know what kind of expertise they will develop in the future.
Q: What was your first attempt at "networking" and building your own network?
A: I started reaching out when I was in college. I recommend using your school’s alumni program to find a mentor match to find different opportunities and organizations. My first mentor literally catapulted my ability to move into this space, the was an entrepreneur as well.
Q: How would you know if you had to “burn a bridge down” or what are red flags?
A: There is a difference between making mistakes and habitual behavior. It is worth burning the bridge with someone who has demonstrated negative habitual behavior.
Q: What advice do you have for doing free work or commissions? Is it worth it?
A: Internships often give you the opportunity to do things that you aren't necessarily qualified to get paid for; internships try to give you a learning experience.
Q: What are good experiences to mention on an application/interview, and which ones are a waste of time/too common/ don't make you stand out
A: It depends on how many experiences you have- if you have a few things, go ahead and talk about those. Talking about what you gained from the experience is more important than the position itself; recruiters are looking for skills and for what you learn.
Q: What are some strong action verbs for professional resumes?
A: Organized, customer relations, files, managed data and social media engagement. Stay away from using “I”, and remove fluff. (Check out the resources on our Instagram!)
Q: how do you keep yourself accountable to reach your stretch goals?
A: Planning out steps ahead of time and set up goals; daily to-do lists and making sure that the things I have done in the month are helping me achieve those goals. I also verbalize my goals and tell my friends/mentors to text me as a reminder.
Q: Where can we find mentors that we don't know? How do we find people to cold email to?
A: Linkedin is a great resource! School alumni are also a great resource; contact your schools and see if they have that to offer. (Check out the resources on our Instagram for an example of a cold email!)
Q: Would you agree that you can create a profitable business out of any passion like the “follow your passion” doctrine?
A: There are very few that you can not. It is really about finding the right people. More often than not, you can turn your passion into a business.
Q: How do you get bigger accounts/businesses/connections to care about what you are doing?
A: Finding a sales lead is very important, or a client who is very interested or a connection. Having someone to vouch for you can get someone to at least pay attention to what you have to say, you need to have something beneficial to say. Again, networking is important.
Q: Are people in your life, such as teachers or friends’ parents, valid resources to jumpstart something you have?
A: Do not fall into a trap of convenience! You do not have to necessarily do what they recommend. Be mindful of the friends you recruit while working; make sure they are responsible, hard-workers, and make good business partners.
Q: Would you recommend trying to get internships/connections if we are interested, even if we’re not sure if we want to major in/ be an entrepreneur in the future?
A: Yes! Just try it because you learn so much from internships including what you like or don’t like- it is not time wasted!
Q: Prior to starting up a business with someone else, can agreements be just a piece of paper? Would we have to hire a lawyer?
A: It can literally be a piece of paper! I would not hire a lawyer; just go online and fill out some basic partnership agreements. In a few years when you are starting a business, and investors start getting involved, go ahead and hire a lawyer.
Q: How useful are social media platforms, such as Instagram, in the field of entrepreneurship
A: Wildly useful! If your customer is another consumer, Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter and all of these spaces that are consumer-based so they can see what you are doing. Many people look at social media to legitimize that your organization actually exists.
Q: What do you want to do with your degree? What is your end goal for your future?
A: I think I will find myself doing policy work with education. I’m interested in education research and I would love to make entrepreneurship is an amazing class to offer in high school.