5 Ways to Be a Successful Entrepreneur

Do you dream of becoming an entrepreneur and a leader? Summerfuel’s Leadership & Innovation program at Columbia University and Social Enterprise program at Stanford University provide students with the experience and tools they need to do just that. From business finances and marketing to team-building and action plans, we cover it all.

This article from Inc. outlines what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur and leader in this day and age:

Is Entrepreneurship Getting Harder? 5 Ways to Be Successful in the Digital Age

You need more than passion and dreams to reach entrepreneurial success.

Entrepreneurs aren’t a dime a dozen anymore. According to The Wall Street Journal’s research, the number of entrepreneurs is the lowest it’s been since before Y2K. It seems that for every Mark Zuckerberg or Brian Acton, thousands upon thousands of Millennials are eschewing the founder path.

Perhaps they’ve realized what Marc Fischer, CEO and founder of mobile technology studio Dogtown Media, has learned: “Startup founders have a duty to question the status quo, state a bold vision, hack the system, and disrupt everything they touch. Joining the club of entrepreneurship is easy; executing on the vision is hard.”

His words ring true for anyone who’s had a brilliant idea only to discover that breathing life into it makes Dr. Frankenstein’s job look like a piece of cake.

As Fischer learned in his time as a mobile app developer, “Graveyards are filled with founders who floundered and failed for a million and one different reasons.” Why? Most people just aren’t ready to question the status quo and disrupt en masse.

Whether you already have a revolutionary concept you want to bring to the world or you’re merely eager to write your own paycheck, you need more than passion and dreams to reach successful entrepreneurship. You must be willing to adopt true leader characteristics and integrate them into the fabric of your working philosophy.

1. Track your finances like a hawk.

You don’t have to become obsessive, but you should know as much about your balance sheets as your accountant.

“Many new businesses underestimate their operating costs and overestimate their profits, which can lead to failure pretty quickly,” says David Disiere, founder and CEO of transportation insurance agency QEO Insurance Group. “Make sure your projections are realistic and your startup is well-funded before you get started, and once you do, stay on top of your finances. Even if you use an accountant or hire an employee to manage the financial side of your business, you still need to understand your fiscal standing at all times to ensure your business stays in the black.”

Not sure how to understand all those numbers and make smart projections? Gain a basic education by doing some in-depth research online or asking for advice from a finance whiz. The more comfortable you are with your accounts, the better you’ll be able to stay afloat.

2. Just do something already.

Everyone knows someone who has tons of plans and knows a million and one useless facts yet never takes one step forward. That’s akin to planning a whirlwind trip to Europe, mapping out every step of the journey, and then shelving the itinerary. Serial entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk took a no-holds-barred viewpoint of this mindset during a recent blog rant: “Too many of you just read and consume and make pretend. …”

Don’t be that guy or gal. Sure, it’s fine to study up on the competition, create all sorts of disruptive objectives, and brainstorm until the cows come home. But at the end of the day, all talk and no action equates to zero entrepreneurship. Allow your dreams to leverage actions. No one snagged a client by sitting on the sofa and wishing something would happen.

3. Give yourself mental and physical breaks.

If you haven’t realized it already, all work and no play really is a recipe for disaster. As an entrepreneur, you can expect to work like a dog. Hey, Elon Musk reportedly still works 80-90 hours weekly, after all. However, he’s stepped back a bit because he realizes that bodies and minds aren’t computers.

Even if you can’t do more than snag 30-minute walks or bike rides or use your favorite app to enjoy a few solid hours of REM sleep per night, you’ll be doing more than the workaholics on their way to burnout city.

4. Ask for — and take — all the advice you can get.

You don’t know everything. Neither do I. Augment your knowledge gaps with a little assistance and advice from others. Of course, be sure to implement what you learn as well. One of the biggest mistakes entrepreneurs make is seeking counsel but never using it to better themselves or their processes.

At the same time, don’t forget to share what you find out. Author, coach, and speaker John Maxwell has noted: “The true measure of leadership is not how much you achieve; it is how much you inspire others to achieve.” Stop being selfish; generously spread your insights like seeds ready to burst.

5. Replace bad habits with smarter ones.

Human beings are reliably consistent. You can depend on it. Unfortunately, they’re not always consistently making good choices.

Take time to jot down your worst work habits standing in the way of you becoming a founder. Are you a procrastinator? A self-saboteur? Generally afraid of failure? Be honest with yourself. Systematically work to turn your poor habits into smarter ones, inching closer to becoming a leader who can pick up the torch and get people to eagerly follow. I’ve written a book on this topic.

Truth be told, just about anyone who’s willing to make changes and take action has the capacity for entrepreneurship. Figure out what’s standing in your way, and push it aside.


High School Summer Programs: Amazing Pre-College Summer Programs for Your Teen

Here at Summerfuel, we strive to provide your 9th-12th grader with a summer experience that they’ll never forget. We’ve got summer programs in the states, chances to study abroad overseas, and opportunities to take a specialized trip for entrepreneurship or art! In today’s blog, we’re going to take a look at all of the one-of-a-kind summer programs that Summerfuel offers to teens just like your student. Read below to learn more about all that Summerfuel has to offer!

Summerfuel’s Pre-College Options

Cultural Exploration:

Barcelona, Spain

During their three-week trip to Barcelona, your teen will have a chance to be immersed in the Spanish language, experience academic life at Spain’s top private university, and enjoy the fantastic culture and cuisine of a gorgeous city!

Andalusia, Spain

Located on Spain’s Atlantic Coast, the city of Conil has physical and cultural beauty with a rich history that dates back to the fifth century. During this summer homestay program, your teen will get intensive language-based study, daily activities, and excursions throughout Andalusia.

Nice, France

Situated in the center of France’s amazing coastline, Nice is known worldwide as a center of art, culture, cuisine, and exclusive summer resorts. Your teen will experience the French language and combine experiential study with immersion in the French culture.

Pre-College Campus Visits:

Oxford University

Let your student experience life as an Oxford undergraduate when they join our Oxford study abroad program. Your teen will get a taste of the academic life, the cultural excitement, and the rich history of beautiful London!

Tufts University

If your student is more interested in a program closer to home, our Tufts University pre-college campus program gives your teen a taste of what it’s like to be on the campus of one of the top-ranked universities in the U.S. Sign your high-schooler up for a two-week session, or allow them to stay for four weeks!

UC Berkeley

Our summer program in Berkeley gives your student the opportunity to see the beauty of Northern California with amazing food, a memorable academic experience, and activities they’ll never forget. Sign your teen up for our Berkeley program today!

College Admissions Edge:

Getting ready to apply for college can be an overwhelming task, but with Summerfuel’s CAE programs at Tufts and Berkeley, students learn all the necessary tools. From SAT or ACT prep with the Princeton Review to one-on-one college counseling, essay writing, and admissions workshops, we’ve got you covered.

Business & Entrepreneurship:

In addition to our amazing trips abroad and campus experiences, we also have these business, leadership, and entrepreneurship programs!

International Business at ESADE Barcelona

Social Enterprise at Stanford University

Leadership & Innovation at Columbia University

And finally, if your student loves art and wants to learn more about the vibrant art world of New York City, consider the Art Now program in NYC.

No matter what your high schooler enjoys doing for fun, you can’t go wrong with one of our amazing summer pre-college programs. Sign your high school student up for a life-changing Summerfuel program and give them a summer they won’t soon forget! Apply now. Have questions? Contact us today!

Pre College Summer Programs: All the Reasons to Sign Your High Schooler Up for a Summer Program

Welcome back to our blog page here at Summerfuel! With summertime fast approaching, we’re staying as busy as ever with enrollment for our one-of-a-kind summer programs. Not only do we have fantastic pre-college summer programs here in the states, we also have plenty of opportunities for your child to study abroad. When you sign your teen up for a summer internship, trip abroad, or stateside summer program, you’re investing in their future by giving them an experience they’ll never forget. Our summer trips have been known to help teens get a better handle on where they’d like to attend college, experience different places, people, and cultures, and give them a fun, yet challenging pre-college program. Whether your high schooler has a pretty good idea of where they’d like to attend college or they’re still deciding, a summer program through Summerfuel might be exactly what they need to make that big decision. 

High school can be a tricky time for anyone. Young people are trying to navigate their way through academia, many students are tring to figure out where in society they fit in, and the ever-looming decision of where they’ll attend college is always in the back of their minds. With all of their duties, responsibilities, and expectations, it is quite possible for kids to be overwhelmed and exhausted by the time college approaches. However, when you can provide your teen with the unforgettable experience of a pre-college trip, a chance to study abroad, or another variety of summer program, you’re giving them the tools to better narrow down their search for the perfect school. In today’s blog, we’re going to take a look at the many reasons to sign your teen up for one of the outstanding summer programs that Summerfuel offers high school students! Continue reading to learn more.

Choose From a Great List of Summer Programs

Find an amazing and personalized adventure with a variety of options and unique destinations for any one-of-a-kind young person.

Be a Part of a College Campus

When a college visit is what a high school student is needing, sign them up for a Summerfuel program that will give them just that.

Get Immersed in Other Cultures

Getting to meet people from other countries is such a valuable experience for anyone and the right summer program can make that happen.

See the Bigger Picture

Students who participate in summer programs can have their worldview opened up and realize how big this planet really is.

Make Lasting Friendships

Having unique experiences with peers can lead to friendships that last a lifetime. Summer programs offer that to everyone.

Have a Memorable Experience

What better time to create lasting memories than by going on an exciting Summerfuel trip in between school years?

Walk the Path of Self-Discovery

Students often find out who they are when they can see more of the world and meet different kinds of people.

Break up the Monotony

High school can be hectic, graduation is chaos, and prepping for college is stressful. A summer program can be a much-needed escape.

Travel the World

When people have a chance to travel and see different places, they’re given a greater appreciation for the world around them.

Have Fun!

A summer experience is the best way to live life to the fullest! Young people have the time of their lives with Summerfuel programs.

These are just a few of the reasons to sign your student up for a summer program here at Summerfuel! Make sure that you check out our options on our website and contact us with questions. Don’t let your teen be left behind when their peers are seeing the world this summer! Space is limited, so sign them up today!

Campus Life at Tufts – Take the Virtual Tour

One of the most exciting parts of Summerfuel’s Pre-College Programs is the chance to experience campus life. Tufts University campus is exactly what you might imagine a college campus to look like – sprawling green lawns, traditional brick buildings, flowering trees – yet is still close enough to Somerville and Boston to have all of the city’s resources at your fingertips.

Students live in double-rooms in the dormitory, Harleston Hall, getting a glimpse into true college life with a roommate. Bring photos and posters from home to make your dorm room truly feel like yours – part of the fun of living in the dorms can be decorating! Wi-Fi and air-conditioning in bedrooms makes for a comfortable stay during the summer.

Not only do students get to experience dorm-living, but they enjoy access to top-notch facilities as well. Take advantage of the libraries, computer lab, student center, basketball and tennis courts, and fitness center with swimming pool and weight-training center – all part of a well-rounded campus life.

Last, but not least, a major part of campus life is eating in the dining hall. While some may say it is a change from home-cooked meals, we promise that the menu at Dewich-MacPhie Dining Center never disappoints. From an all-you-can-eat organic salad bar, plus vegetarian and vegan options, to hamburgers with loaded cheese fries, and everything in between, there is always something for everyone.

Take a look for yourself with this amazing virtual tour:


Priceless Skills for Success

Summerfuel provides so much more for students than just a summer activity to participate in. Not only do students get to explore exciting subjects, meet new friends, and have a blast in different cities, but they gain priceless skills that can be used throughout the rest of their lives.  Whether at an Andalusian Homestay or a Pre-College Program, students are living away from home with room/hall/housemates, which encourages the development of empathy, listening skills, and the ability to communicate with others. All of Summerfuel’s programs are extremely diverse, with students hailing from all over the world. Such exposure allows students to experience and value different ideas and points of view, and fosters a curiosity and sense of equality among peers. Most of Summerfuel’s academic courses are very hands-on, team-oriented, and workshop-based, allowing students to learn how to think critically and problem-solve across a wide array of areas. Regardless of where students wind up after their summer with us, these soft skills are invaluable to success in any path pursued.

A recent article in the Washington Post discusses what qualities employers find most valuable in their employees, and we think Summerfuel programs help students develop exactly that. Take a look:


What to Expect for Summer 2018

I hope the winter is going well for you and your family. This coming summer is shaping up to be another exciting one with enrollments coming in strong. There’s a lot going on at Summerfuel in 2018, so I thought I’d give you an update on what to expect.

First of all, I wanted to let you know that all of our directors have been chosen and some are returning for their 20th summer or more. We are extremely enthusiastic about our staff. We have a wonderful blend of experienced veterans, plus a talented group of newcomers who will bring new ideas and energy to our various programs.

I also wanted to make sure you knew about our two new programs here in the US; Leadership & Innovation at Columbia University and ART NOW! an exciting look inside the contemporary New York art world through an exclusive partnership with Christie’s.

I hope you feel as much as I do that these new programs will add something different to the world of summer programs.

David Evans

Summerfuel President

Sir Roger Bannister Visits Summerfuel Oxford

As part of our Oxford experience program we have a highly successful seminar series. The idea is to bring in speakers from outside the immediate academic world of Oxford University to give our students exposure to interesting people who have achieved success in various disciplines. In the past we have had magazine editors, journalists, politicians, actors, social entrepreneurs and the occasional professional athlete. The series is always well attended and the students especially enjoy the question and answer session which follows each visit.

In the summer of 2012 , to coincide with Great Britain hosting the Olympic Games and the Olympic torch passing through Oxford, we invited Sir Roger Bannister to visit the program. Sir Roger Bannister was the first man to run a mile in under four minutes and was a revered personality within the sporting world and took his particular place in history.

In the words of Oxford program director Emily Osborne, she was most struck by the fact that “Sir Roger Bannister viewed his professional and academic career as much more notable and important than the athletic feat he is most known for.” It is with great sadness that we learned of his recent passing. He was a great ambassador for Oxford and the sport of athletics. We feel privileged to have met him and he will be greatly missed.

What Does It Mean to Learn “Leadership & Innovation”?

We can’t think of a better place to improve your Leadership & Innovation skills than at the world-renowned Columbia University. But what exactly will you be learning here? Take a peek at what you can expect to dive into this summer at Columbia:


-Foundation and tools of leadership

-Leadership styles and models

-Identity and introspection

-Management vs. leadership

-Effective communication


-Public speaking


-Leadership case studies

-Self-knowledge exercises

-Project management platform technology

After learning about themselves and different leadership styles, students deliver a TED-style talk on their natural leadership style and a leader who can be a role model on that style.


-Foundations and tools of innovation

-Innovation across industries

-Disruption and paradigm shifts

-Enabling innovation: organizational structures and environments

-Leading innovation

-Designing innovative solutions

-Facilitation skills

-Design and Systems thinking

-Industry-specific innovation case studies

-Collaboration platform technology

With a team, students will use design thinking process to create and pitch an innovative solution to a pressing problem in the industry of their choice.