A Pivotal Moment: 2019 CO— Summit Reflections

Wow! What an absolutely amazing experience I had yesterday during the 2019 CO— Summit hosted by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in Washington, DC!

I had the privilege of attending the two day event to represent my freelance business Marshall Enterprises, which I founded during the summer after high school in 2014. Marshall Enterprises is a digital services provider to help businesses grow. Primarily focused on web development, I have also helped numerous clients over the past five years with their photography, videography, graphic design and marketing needs.

Yesterday's 2019 CO— Summit was a truly inspiring experience. The national summit brings together business leaders and industry experts from across the country to inspire, educate, and make long-lasting connections. I had the honor to hear, live-and-direct, from keynote speakers such as Daymond John of ABC's Shark Tank, Katherine Berman and Sophie LaMontagne of Georgetown Cupcake, Nick Friedman and Omar Soliman of College Hunks Hauling Junk, and Morgan DeBaun of Blavity, Inc.

I started my freelance business, Marshall Enterprises, during the summer of 2014 using some of my graduation money - another story for another time - for two main reasons. First, let’s just be frank - I wanted a way to make some money. I had always found a way to make a few dollars here and there with a side hustle, such as when I took up writing for a city newspaper for $5/week! At the time, I knew that I wanted some more spending change over the summer and throughout college. However, I also didn’t want to work a minimum wage job that would pay less than I could make on my own over the same period of time.

And secondly, I had always had a knack for entrepreneurship. Yes, I was the kid who had a lemonade stand way back when! After I graduated high school I wanted to tap into my desire to start something of my own and leverage the skills that I had at the time. I was always good with computers and technology, and went on to major in computer science and business, so I thought to myself, “Hey, there’s this new platform out called Squarespace. I can design websites for people in a quarter of the time it would take to do it from scratch.” And Marshall Enterprises was born.

Over the next five years I would continue to work the business between classes, during my lunch breaks while interning and through the ups and downs of life. I’m a believer that entrepreneurship can’t be taught. Only by getting your hands dirty can you really see what you’re made of. During those five years in dorm rooms, I gained experience acquiring customers, running social media ads, drafting contracts, crafting proposals, registering DBAs, filing small-business taxes, working with real people, selling, negotiating, failing fast and ignoring the doubters. I had to figure out simply what worked and what didn’t. No class or internship could have ever taught me what I learned while growing my business. I was able to connect with people from all walks of life, from realtors to psychologists to artists, and helped them grow their businesses in a meaningful way.

Circling back to my experience at the 2019 CO— Summit yesterday, at the same time that I felt like a small fish in a big sea (I was one of the youngest entrepreneurs in attendance), I felt a new wave of entrepreneurial inspiration. The excellent speakers such as Daymond John and Morgan DeBaun reignited the same feeling I had during the summer after high school. A feeling of limitless possibility in what I can achieve in business and in life.

So, what’s next for Marshall Enterprises? Believe it or not, from the beginning I always envisioned that this entity would be a parent company for all of the other businesses that I would one day start or acquire. I have the urge to transition the business to something new, or pivot my focus to something that I am truly passionate about. What will that be? Only time will tell, but I hope that you follow me along this ride.

-Carlton

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/carltonmarshall/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/carlton_the2nd
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/carltonmarshall2

I am still working with and taking on new clients, so if you have a need for digital services, drop me a line!