College Dropout to Serial Entrepreneur

This post is part of Not Your Average Week, a TNGG Theme Week.

Being an anything “dropout” has long been thought to mean many things, above all: “failure.” Today, millennials are proving it can mean anything but. Especially being as “job security is dead – people are understanding that they need to take matters into their own hands,” according the Gemvara mastermind Matt Lauzon.

Spencer Bramson is one such college dropout who’s done just that: created his own dream job. He left Bentley University in the middle of his sophomore year (2009) to pursue a business venture with Babson graduate David Yarus that had expanded from being Boston-wide to include all of New England in just six months.

Since then, Bramson has established himself as a serial entrepreneur. After taking the initial dropout plunge, he hasn’t been afraid to start something new and take risks … for three companies and counting.

Bramson agreed to fill us in on his daily life, entrepreneurship, and a few market predictions.

Angela Diaco: What was your biggest fear in leaving school?

Spencer Bramson: When I left–having everything not work out. And since no one supported the decision, at first I thought everyone would say “told you so.” Currently, I don’t really have any fears about the decision. I really think I made the right decision and wouldn’t have done things differently if I could go back in time.

Bramson's Brighton office complete with ball pit and Nerf guns--what every startup needs.

AD: What’s a typical day like for you?

SB: I wake up at 6-7 a.m., smoke a blunt, check emails for an hour, get to the office, work on whatever needs to be done, and hang out in the ball pit, work on some more stuff, maybe have a Nerf gun battle. After that, I’ll finish up whatever office stuff needs to be done go home around 6-7 p.m. Then I’ll relax for a couple hours and work on my laptop until I fall asleep.

AD: What kind of ventures have you started? How did these ideas come about?

SB: My first venture was Buzz University, it was a boutique college marketing firm. We built communities of college brand advocates online and on campus working with various different types of companies from small mom and pop pizza shops, all the way to Fortune 500 companies like Proctor and Gamble.

I ran the company with David Yarus. We worked on that company for about a year before parting ways. During that year we managed over 150-plus people, made over $100,000 as a company, and became the two youngest presenters at the WOMMA organization. I ended up quitting Buzz U in June 2010.

After leaving, I became a private strategy consultant for 1-3-year-old start-ups. I received some full-time offers to join some of the companies I was working with, but none of them felt like something I wanted to fully commit all of my time and effort to.

In September 2011, I started to get bored with working on other people’s companies and wanted to start building one for myself. I decided to go with the lowest hanging fruit and give The Royal Crew Apparel (TRC—a business idea I coined with a few other employees at Buzz U) a real try. We had our soft launch at the 2010 CollegeFest event and got some really good feedback. For the event we started sponsoring two dance groups, one band, and a rapper.

I was going to be traveling for about a month starting in the end of December that year. So I told all the companies I was consulting for that I was quitting, hired anyone looking to work for free before I left for vacation, and on January 17, I officially launched TRC, hired 28 employees and started operations. Now we’re being sold in two Boston clothing stores and have acquired a hip-hop recording studio based in Dedham, Mass.

Currently my most recent and up-and-coming project is with a Bentley friend of mine, Cloud Forward. We’re currently in incognito mode so I can’t publicly go too much into it.

When pressed for photos: "I like just being a QR code."

AD: What do you think it takes to be an entrepreneur?

SB: You need to be able to make lemonade (and sometimes pink lemonade) out of spoiled, rotten lemons.

AD: How do you juggle each company and other commitments?

SB: It’s actually the hardest thing I do every day, and honestly, I wish I could be better at organizing my head. Luckily, I work with a bunch of great people every day who “yell” at me every time I go off on crazy rants and raves.

AD: Are you happy?

SB: I’m super happy. I’m always stressed out every day, but I would never want to do anything else! Honestly, though I get to do this every day:

 

I went to school thinking I would put a suit and tie on everyday day and suck up to whoever Daddy told me to. Now I’m in sweat pants and snowman suits every day, making more of a name for myself then I ever could have doing the traditional route.

AD: Any business predictions you’d like to share?

SB: Life is going to become more interconnected than it already is. I think the people who are able to stay on top on everything new, and then figure out how to connect all of them together, will be the most successful.

Photos by Mathew Wynn and Spencer Bramson.

Angela Diaco Media & Culture major at Bentley University. Interested in learning as much as possible about film production, writing, PR/Marcom, entrepreneurship, and social media.

View all posts by Angela Diaco

2 Responses to “College Dropout to Serial Entrepreneur”

  1. Tinker Barnett

    I truly find it hard to believe that sustainable progress can be made with any new business by “checking emails, hanging out, working on stuff, and finishing up whatever”. Something is missing from this story or there are other people planning, organizing, implementing, and evaluating the business. I would like Gen Y to know that there can be great satisfaction from working hard at what you enjoy and what helps others, and playing hard when you can.

    Reply
    • Spencer Bramson

      Hey Tinker, I don’t think something is missing. Maybe you misunderstood that portion of the article. Every day hours and hours of planning go into every little detail of the businesses from who to hire, what partnerships to make, what investments we should make, how we should be marketing ourselves, which markets should we go after, who we should network with and much more. We’ve built out multiple companies in under a year to national exposure! My team and I are one of the hardest working group of young professionals out there. We love our work and work VERY hard almost every day to grow our businesses.

      If you still think that we a bunch of lazy slobs feel free to email me at ssbramson@gmail.com.

      Reply

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