Jason Khoo (R) enjoying some food with his entrepreneurial mentor Jose Sanchez (L).
For many, college is a time of change that marks a transformation of one’s true self in the world. The friends made during this period often play a crucial role in helping to shape the beliefs and ideas of a person.
Oftentimes, these friends help to enable a person to discover the true talents and help drive them towards becoming successful. For Cal State Fullerton Alumni Jason Khoo his story of friendship and entrepreneurial drive is something that could only happen at Cal State Fullerton.
Starting at an early age, Jason first experienced entrepreneurship when he watched his dad manage his own business. Unbeknownst to Jason, his father’s business helped play a major role in creating the drive and passion for entrepreneurship while he was growing up.
“My dad was a business owner who managed his own business when I was growing up. Watching him successfully manage a business really inspired me to follow in his footsteps.” Said Khoo.
It wasn’t until the age of nineteen that Jason realized that his ambitions and dreams lie in creating his own business. However, some setbacks prevented him from achieving his goal of one day owning his own business.
“My ambitions always centered on starting a business but I was 19 reading about the Zuckerberg’s of the world and nowhere close to even starting on my goal. This feeling of inferiority compounded knowing that my entire life I was shorter, scrawnier, and a bit shy. It started to weigh on me pretty heavily. I had a huge passion for marketing, but I didn’t have the courage to ask a business to hire me. I literally had the skills but absolutely no courage.” Said Khoo.
Luckily for Jason, his luck changed once he began attending CSUF. His interest in the entrepreneur program eventually led him to meet Jose Sanchez. As a veteran of the Iraq war, Jose not only was older than Jason but had experienced life from a different perspective. Despite their differences, the two became fast friends as they found out that they shared the same major and desire to be entrepreneurs.
“Jose pretty much molded most of my business knowledge and practices. We met in Entrepreneur Society. I was on his board while he was the president. He taught me a number of things: how to run a board, how to support talent and how to make the hard decisions. The lessons were many, almost as much as jokes, but listing things wouldn’t be doing him justice. The best way for me to explain is to say that he’s the one who helped me take that oh so hard first step of entrepreneurship.” Said Khoo.
As the two became close friends, Jason began to explain how his fears were holding him back from starting his own business. This confession led Jose to realize that Jason would be an excellent business owner if he had the right kind of positive coaching. With the help of Jose and his friend Kevin McNulty, the team began on making Jason’s dream a reality.
“While at dinner at the local Quickly, I confided in Jose and my other friend, Kevin McNulty… I expressed all my frustrations and most importantly how scared I was. Jose and Kevin did what any good friends and mentors would do. They started dissecting the problem with me and helped create steps for me. They helped me establish a pitch, the script, what to bring and everything I would do to try and get my first client.” Said Khoo.
Armed with a new sense of purpose, and the support of his friends Jason took the first step in what would become his new life as a prospective entrepreneur who was ready to face the realities of the business world.
“Then I began the dreaded door to door knocking. This was stuff of nightmares for me. I asked each business to give me a chance, to let me try to help them with their marketing. Of course, most flatly said no and each time I felt lower and lower. I tried ignoring it and kept going and before I knew it, one happened to say yes!… Afterwards I got a call from Jose. I picked up the phone ready to tell him the great news. He was calling to tell me that he was going to go door to door with me. He knew how scary it was, but knew how important it was to me. I laughed and told him that I had already did it! I got my 1st client!” Said Khoo.
From this, Jason shed his former self and began to adapt to the world of entrepreneurship. Currently, Jason now works as a director at a marketing firm where he, along with his partner Ron Arellano, continue to work building their business. With their first year successfully coming to an end, Jason and his team at Ron Wave Designs are getting ready for another year filled with anticipation for what the future holds.
“Right now we are at a pivotal point where we just celebrated our first year. Now we are making sure to find more clients and make more profits next year.” Said Khoo.
What makes Jason’s story so compelling is that his true potential was enabled not by a teacher, but rather by a fellow classmate who saw the greatness inside of him. Having friends like Jose helps to show students that those closest to them can truly help them reach dreams and goals they never thought possible. And for Jason and Jose, their friendship will continue to grow as they inspire each other to continue following their entrepreneurial dreams.
When looking back at how far he has come, Jason offers a bit of advice to those who find themselves in the same situation he once was in.
“Don’t compare yourself to other people’s end product when you’re at the start. Just start, no matter how small.”
PS: Jason has agreed to hold office hours at the CSUF Startup Incubator to help fellow entrepreneurs and business owners with their marketing problems and strategy. Make sure to check out this link and reserve some time with Jason to discuss ways to market your business better!
Ron Wave Design is a search marketing firm led by two partners. Ron Arellano and Jason Khoo have created an agency that is poised to make major contributions to the ever evolving industry of Marketing and Search.
This article was written by Kevin Emery. Travis Lindsay edited it.
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