Life behind entrepreneurship: Takaylan Smith

Takaylan Tyray Smith, psychology senior, is not your average college student. He has dedicated his life to being both a full-time student and an entrepreneur. After more than a year of preparation and creative thinking, Smith has produced an original business called the Counterculture, built upon the fundamental beliefs and values of Christianity.

“After being introduced to some very successful people,” Smith said. “They helped shape my mindset of how to view wealth and financial freedom. Building this business has not only changed my perspective on money, but it has increased my confidence, self-motivation and has caused me to value my time a lot more.”

Counterculture is based on music and apparel that focuses on uplifting others in Christ. Smith said it has been a long process and that after a year of his business being active, his team is still creating and tweaking the details of the business.

“We plan to grow in many different aspects,” Smith said. “We started off as just music, but now we’re crossing over into apparel, YouTube streaming and networking platforms.”

In the next five years, Smith said he plans for his business to grow, especially in the music realm.

“I definitely see our music faction taking off,” he said. “When that happens, it will shed light on the other parts of Counterculture.”

Despite the steady growth of his business, Smith said he has faced many setbacks that have helped mold him into the successful young entrepreneur he is today.

“Being an entrepreneur takes a lot of dedication and belief in yourself. Throughout this entire experience, I have faced doubt from others and myself,” Smith said. “It’s hard to believe in the success that you haven’t seen yet, but that’s part of being an entrepreneur. I’ve also struggled with finding enough time in the day to fit everything life requires of me. I’m much more than a student and an entrepreneur.”

Outside of struggling with finding time to dedicate to his craft and believing in himself, Smith said he has also struggled with gaining support from some of his family.

“Some of my family is really supportive of the entire process because they see my passion and believe that I have the ability to do great things,” he said. “Although, some of my family members don’t support me because they rather me completely focus on the safer route; I try to use this to fuel my passion and desire to succeed. Needless to say, support from your family is going to always feel good, but when I come across those who don’t, I try to use it as an opportunity to prove them wrong. Either way, it’s all still love.”

Smith also reveals the sacrifices he’s had to make to enhance his business, from ending relationships to losing sleep.

“I’ve had to make countless sacrifices from hanging out with friends and separating from people who have different mindsets, to sacrificing sleep and leisure time to enhance my business,” Smith said. “It’s all necessary, and I’d do it again if I had to.”

Throughout the development of his business, Smith said he has learned the true qualities of being a leader in the world of entrepreneurship.

“I believe you definitely have to hone in on your soft-skills like communication, discernment, connecting and influencing,” Smith said. “Being a people’s person is [almost] necessary. A vision that doesn’t include others normally isn’t a big one, so if you have a big vision, you have to be prepared for the people.”

Smith said that though being an entrepreneur has opened up his horizons and expanded his knowledge, he does feel like balancing between being a student and entrepreneur can be tough.

“It can be pretty tough because both things require you to be very self-motivated,” he said. “They can both be a burden, however, I believe dealing with one helps you deal with the other. Success is a lifestyle, not a choice. It should bleed into everything.”

Smith describes the creation of the Counterculture brand as a big part of his life now and he hopes that his brand will help our society get back to its roots of more hope, love and positivity.

“This business means a lot of things for me,” he said. “It mainly signifies my purpose of spreading Christianity and helping others. It also means financial freedom for my future family. It’s also so inspiring to do something that I am so passionate about and the fact that I’m dependent on myself rather than someone else holds the fate of my time and finances. I just hope that my hard work and passion shine through my business.”