Hi there! This is Mitch Darrow.
Back in 2014, right after I finished the 8th grade, my family moved to Windermere, Florida. There, I began my high school journey at Windermere Preparatory School. It wasn’t like the public schools I was familiar with where I was raised in Wisconsin, and in time I learned it had much more to offer than a traditional education.
From a young age I had a strong and ever-growing interest in business. My entire childhood I was around the day-to-day of my family’s successful automotive business, the Russ Darrow Group. Being exposed to this, I was eager to grow up, learn, start a business of my own, and of course, make money. So, with this mentality, when I heard about the Entrepreneurial Studies course at Windermere Preparatory School, I jumped right in.
The Entrepreneurship Studies course was centered around solving real-world problems, generating new ideas, and getting hands-on with developing a business. As a student of the course, I had the opportunity to create detailed mock drafts of business models, collaborate with peers and business owners, and pitch my group’s startup, Suburban Eats, to a group of investors. It was quite the experience.
As a student of the course, business minded thoughts were going through my head all of the time and it brought me to start my own business… sort of. It wasn’t an LLC or any legal business entity, but it was a business. The business was a mobile detailing service. I would go to people’s homes and clean their cars. It wasn’t complex, but it allowed me to apply what I learned in the Entrepreneurship Studies course.
I identified an opportunity in the market, got great at the trade, and then began to market myself. I was interacting with the Windermere community via social media sites, neighborhood blog sites, and knocking at doors. I was selling myself and taking advantage of an opportunity in the market. There were plenty of mobile detailing services in Windermere, but not one was run by a nice, young high school kid like me… who did it for half the cost. My work spoke for itself, and eventually I had created a nice demand for my little service. I wouldn’t have known how to find an opportunity in the market or how to interact with people in such a professional and confident manner if it weren’t for the Entrepreneurial Studies program.
Eventually, high school came to an end and I went on to college, but my interest in business only continued to grow. From Windermere, I moved across the country back up to my home state of Wisconsin to attend the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Immediately I got involved in the Wisconsin School of Business, leading a mental health initiative within the school. Running an initiative and getting it going is a lot like a business. I had to lay out a framework for how the organization was going to operate, how it was going to be funded, and what key issues we were going to solve. Creating a layout for this is something the Entrepreneurial Studies program had already given me experience at, and so there was no big learning curve that I needed to overcome. We were able to make a change in the business school from the very start, and I am happy to say it is still going strong to this day.
The knowledge I gained from the Entrepreneurship Studies program doesn’t just help when I’m thinking of getting something going, it helps me look forward in life and plan ideas out in my head too.
I am wrapping up school within the next two years and I plan to get in the automotive business after. I want to bring something new to the industry that is going to ease the stereotypical car buying woes. With that, I plan to use the knowledge from my commercial real estate major to create an investment engine for myself, my family, and my friends. Neither of these plans are written out in detail, yet, but I’ve got my mind in the right place. I’ve got a positive and opportunistic outlook on the years to come. It really is so cool that there is a program that gets kids excited to create a business, solve real-world problems, and look ahead to their future.