How Shark Tank Attracts Diverse Entrepreneurs

The path to our Soul Career is never a straight line. Instead, it’s usually a mixture of persistence and our willingness to take advantage of opportunities, that lead us to successful careers that we may have never even considered. Brandon Andrews’ career is one example of this. 

He is co-founder of Gauge; an AI-driven mobile market research platform. He also acts as a Senior Consultant at Values Partnerships. Where he oversees the company’s work on technology and entrepreneurship. As a part of this role, he leads a nationwide casting tour focused on bringing more diverse ideas and voices to Shark Tank. Shark Tank is an award-winning business reality show that connects budding entrepreneurs with potential investors. But this career is a far cry from Brandon’s origins and youthful ambitions.

Humble Beginnings

 Brandon Andrews was born in Atlanta and raised by his grandmother in a small town in southern Alabama. He later moved in with his mother and sister in Panama City, Florida. As a child, he was a natural athlete with a bright mind and ambitions of becoming an engineer. 

But life for Brandon was not always easy. His mother went to jail while he was in high school, and he and his sister were temporarily homeless. But, his determination and positivity helped him to overcome his struggles. Instead, he channelled his experiences into an increased sense of responsibility for the less fortunate, in particular people of color. It was this ongoing commitment to diversity and the development of minority communities that led Brandon to a career in politics. And eventually to activism and entrepreneurship.

Journey to the Senate

Brandon’s commitment to uplifting his community has led to several civic and advocacy ventures. For example, as a college student in Oklahoma, he volunteered with the Adopt-A-Block program. An initiative that focuses on enhancing the beauty of North Tulsa. What followed was a series of stints at the local government level, a paid internship in Washington DC and finally a full-time job on Capital Hill. 

His impressive resume includes five years in the US Senate, where he handled technology, small business and defense policy. He serves as Chairman of the DC Commission on National and Community Service. And is a member of the DC Commission on Fashion Arts and Events. He has also taken part in several successful entrepreneurship ventures and travelled the world speaking and hosting events around entrepreneurship and innovation.

Brandon is successful because he has established himself as an expert and has formed connections with his colleagues. For example, he attributes his position at Values Partnerships to the professional relationship he created with the company’s founder while in the US Senate. His current role at Shark Tank came about because of his willingness to approach the producer and discuss the need for greater diversity in the cast.

His Advice for New Entrepreneurs

So what are his words of wisdom for new entrepreneurs? First, don’t be afraid to ask for what you want. Whether that is in a boardroom in front of potential investors or with a potential business partner. Asking for what you want is the key to gain access to the resources you need to help your business thrive. 

Second, don’t wait for perfection before launching a product or service. Instead, ensure that what you have to offer is good. And then start a cycle of launching, gaining feedback from your target customer and relaunching. He believes that this strategy will enable entrepreneurs to deliver products and services that add real value. 

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“If you want to find the tools to figure out what you want to do, and how to find your Soul Career, then this is definitely the place.” 

When we think about careers we usually think of it as something we should chase. In Soul Career you get the ability to really slow down and assess what you want.  

“It’s easy to get caught up with the situations and the overwhelming time we’re in. I’ve learned to stay positive and stay occupied.”

Soul Career was definitely worth it. It took me on a journey of  self-reflection in the beginning. And then introduced job search tools at the end. I learned about myself and what I need to do to get the job that I want.”

“The Soul Career course taught me that I need to make sure that I was super invested in my first 90 days at my job”

We invest in a lot of things like clothing, trips, travelling and gym memberships. Why not invest in something that’s going to propel you and your professional career to places you couldn’t even dream of.”

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“Before Soul Career I assumed that jobs were not meant to be enjoyed. I thought jobs were just something that you had to do to pay the bills. But coming out of this program, I recognize that you can find something that actually suits you.”