[quote style=”boxed”]I bring my ideas to life by “doing.” If I have an idea, I will do as much research as I can, find out how to get started, and get started. Whatever steps need to be taken, I’ll take.[/quote]
Dwight Peters is the founder and CEO of Slate & Stylus, a new social enterprise that sells protective cases for iPads, tablets and laptops.
He is also the founder and host of QuarterWaters.com, the site for social entrepreneurs. On his program he interviews social entrepreneurs from all over the world, via Skype, and has them share their passion, experience and advise. On the program, these entrepreneurs talk about the issues they are tackling, the impact they are making and helpful business tips they’re learning along the way.
What are you working on right now?
Right now 100% of my focus is on Slate & Stylus, and we currently have a KickStarter campaign going. It’s such a cool idea that we are working on. What makes us different is that we are trying to get our cases that have college logos on them into college bookstores. This will provide students with awesome cases and a cool way to show school spirit.
Once we’re in college bookstores, we plan to set up a system so that every time a student purchase one of our cases, he/she will actually play a role in providing school supplies to a child thousands of miles away. You can think of it as “education supplying education.”
I gave two-week notice at my job two weeks ago, so it’s all or nothing with this.
Where did the idea for Slate & Stylus come from?
The idea for the cases came from reading about growing markets. It’s no secret that tablet devices and laptop sales have significantly grown over the past few years, especially among college students. I wanted to find out how I could tap into that niche, and cases with college logos sold in college bookstores seemed like a good idea.
The idea of giving opportunities to children in third world countries came from us wanting to be more than just a company driven by profit. I went to school on the island of Jamaica, surrounded by poverty. I know how it feels to not have running water, electricity and sometimes even food. I’ve met a lot of wonderful social entrepreneurs that built their companies around a mission of providing help to others. I wanted to do the same.
What does your typical day look like?
No two days are the same. For an entrepreneur that’s just getting started, it is all about the hustle. One day I can just be talking to entrepreneurs all day long, picking their brains. Another day, I can be forming strategies with my team or running around to college bookstores showing them our product and trying to get on their shelves. What is constant in each day is the drive to get something accomplished.
How do you bring ideas to life?
I bring my ideas to life by “doing.” If I have an idea, I will do as much research as I can, find out how to get started, and get started. Whatever steps need to be taken, I’ll take.
What’s one trend that really excites you?
Social entrepreneurship. It’s really more than a trend though; it’s a call to action. More and more entrepreneurs, especially the generation Y-ers, are looking to make a social impact with their business. I love it!
What was the worst job you ever had and what did you learn from it?
To be honest, I never had a bad job. But what I learned from every job is that I did not want to work for anybody else. For every job I got, I would always read up on the founder of that company and see how they got started. My thought process was this: “If they can make their dreams come true, why can’t I?”
If you were to start again, what would you do differently?
I would have started my own business sooner.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Umm, besides check my email? In all seriousness though, I would have to say, study. Entrepreneurship, I believe, can be learned. I study entrepreneurship by watch documentaries on successful entrepreneurs, interviewing entrepreneurs and reading books about entrepreneurship.
I look at it like it’s a sport or a craft. In the same way a kid who’s an aspiring basketball player studies Michael Jordan or Kobe Bryant, I study successful entrepreneurs. I try to adopt the successful traits from each one I learn about and meet. And also, watch Shark Tank religiously. Shark Tank is the best!
What is one problem you encountered as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
I had too many ideas. As entrepreneurs, we probably have a million “cool ideas.” The hardest part is picking the best one and sticking with it. How do you do that? There is no clear answer. What I tend to do is tell my older brother who is hard to impress. If he say’s he likes it, then that means I’m heading in the right direction.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
Recycling machines that are like lotto machines. Imagine going to cash in your bottles, and winning a prize like a car or living rent-free for a year. I think that would be an incentive for people to recycle more.
If you could change one thing in the world, what would it be and how would you go about it?
I would cut the amount of money that we as a country, and as a world, spend on war. I would use that budget to provide education, health care, shelter, clothing and food to those in need.
Tell us a secret.
I drink straight from the juice container and put it back in the fridge–sometimes. Okay, all the time.
What are your three favorite online tools or resources and what do you love about them?
- Smart Passive Income. Pat Flynn is awesome, and he teaches entrepreneurs how to use their personal story to become successful. It’s all about finding your niche.
- Mixergy. Andrew Warner is amazing, and he inspired me to start QuarterWaters. He interviews tech entrepreneurs who are doing amazing things.
- QuarterWaters. Shameless plug? Not really. The social entrepreneurs that come on my program are just simply incredible. Their stories will inspire anybody to get up and chase their dream.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
There are so many good ones, but if I had to pick one it would be Effortless Entrepreneur: Work Smart, Play Hard, Make Millions by Nick Friedman and Omar Soliman. It’s a great book for any entrepreneur who’s just getting started. These guys give great tips, awesome advice and well-appreciated resources.
Three people we should follow on Twitter and why?
- @SocialEarth. They always have the latest news about what’s going in the social entrepreneur world.
- @SlateandStylus. We are new and would love your support.
- @SharkTankABC. I love Shark Tank!
When was the last time you laughed out loud? What caused it?
Last night watching an episode of The Office.
Who is your hero?
All of the entrepreneurs who have been on Shark Tank. I salute them for taking a risk.
Why did you pick the name QuarterWaters for your website?
Because QuarterWaters were these cool drinks my brother and I use to buy when we were kids. The name reminds me of my childhood, when I was free to dream big and use my imagination. That’s the same feeling I try to instill in people now. Dream big and use your imagination.
What is your biggest fear?
Needles. I hate getting shots when I go to the doctor.
Slate & Stylus on Twitter: @SlateandStylus
QuarterWaters on Twitter: @QuarterWaters
Slate & Stylus on Facebook: Facebook.com/SlateandStylus
QuarterWaters on Facebook: Facebook.com/QuarterWatersTV
Slate & Stylus on KickStarter: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/939957012/slateandstylus-origami-slate-case-for-the-ipad
Mario Schulzke is the Founder of ideamensch, which he started a decade ago to learn from entrepreneurs and give them a platform for their ideas.