Category Archives: Networking

Timeless Networking Advice for Entrepreneurs from a Cal State Fullerton Mentor

CSUF Startup Incubator Open House 2016

Here’s a photo of entrepreneurs networking at the CSUF Startup Incubator Open House in 2016. You never know when you will meet your next business partner, client, employee, or friend.

A couple of weeks ago in the weekly CSUF Entrepreneurship Insider Director Jackson talked about the importance of networking. Networking is a powerful way for entrepreneurs to actively create new opportunities and while volumes can (and have) been written on the topic oftentimes the best advice is also the most straightforward advice.

After reading Director Jackson’s newsletter, longtime CSUF Entrepreneurship mentor, executive, and serial entrepreneur Dr. Don McCrea sent in some advice that I think every entrepreneur should know about and put into practice. Here is Don’s timeless networking advice for entrepreneurs:

Here’s a suggestion that was made to me several years ago that I feel is the best networking advice I’ve ever gotten. The advice is to ask two questions, listening to the response on each one, and then following up where appropriate. Here they are:

  1. Ask “Who are you?” Not, “What do you do?” Asking who they are differentiates you from everyone else they’ll meet at the event, but also lets you get to know more about who they really are.
  2. Ask “How can I help you?” Again, listen to what they need. Maybe even jot a note on their business card. If you encounter someone at that event (or later) who fills that need, introduce the two of them. You will be well-remembered, and you’ve begun a relationship.

You’re starting a conversation, not taking a test. So these questions are designed to provoke that conversation, and there may be some interchange that takes place between the two questions.

I’ve always listened naturally for how I can create value for those I meet—especially if they’re a prospect or client—but reframing my questions to those above has had a very positive effect on my network creation.

Being able to stand out from the crowd is a skill that you can learn and these questions are a good way to do that. At the next networking event you attend, or even the next person you meet for the first time, try asking these straightforward questions and see what kind of response you get. I bet it will work out very well for you.

Speaking of networking, our next event is How Successful Entrepreneurs Raise Funds from Banks in Irvine on Wednesday, April 18 at 6pm. We hope to see you there!

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WordCamp Riverside 2017

Wordcamp RiversideThe WordPress Ecosystem of Southern California is one that flourishes and abounds with meetup groups, gatherings & WordCamps. From Los Angeles to San Diego to Orange County, there really isn’t any need for another WordCamp or is there?

The void in the Southern California WordPress ecosystem is that there has never been a WordCamp in the Inland Empire. The page on that story officially turns November 4 & 5 as with WordCamp Riverside 2017!

Our Inland Empire WordPress Meetup group has been meeting since 2012 and now in 2017 we have our first official WordCamp. WordCamp Riverside 2017 is the Inland Empire’s WordCamp!

WordCamp Riverside 2017 Details


  • Venue: SolarMax Riverside
  • Time: 8am – 5pm Both Days
  • Date: Nov 4 – 5, 2017

Come Be Our Guest!

Grab your tickets today because this is the official invitation to you and anyone you know in the Southern California area: come on out to WordCamp Riverside 2017 and celebrate “Building our local WordPress Community” with us.

See You Soon


Focus on your Character First – Knowledge @ CSUF Entrepreneurship

Jim Reichert has had thousands of business relationships throughout the years so it’s safe to say that he knows a thing or two about people. And he has some simple, straightforward advice for people who want to build stronger relationships, whether for business or otherwise.

To Jim, Dr. Stephen R Covey’s words on building character rather than working on creating a better personality really ring true. You can have the most engaging, gregarious personality in the world but that doesn’t really matter if you can’t follow through on what you say you will.

That’s why you have to focus on building your character. Even if you aren’t the life of the party if you do what you say you are going to do, be honest, trustworthy, and everything else that is the mark of someone with strong character, then you will be in a better position to accomplish the things you want to accomplish.

Why? Because people will come to rely on you. They know that  you are a trustworthy person. Someone with character that won’t just tell you what you want to hear.

This Knowledge @ CSUF Entrepreneurship clip was taken from a talk at the CSUF Startup Incubator


For more details on CSUF Entrepreneurship:

For more details on how we help people become entrepreneurs:

For more details on how CSUF Consulting can help businesses thrive:

Attend one of our events for entrepreneurs or sign up for a free mentoring session:

Knowledge @ CSUF Entrepreneurship video series:


Come Fly With Us – CSUF Entrepreneurship Community Networking Event

Come Fly With UsThis Thursday at 6pm one of the student-run organizations that we work with, Classic Gentlemen, will be hosting a networking event that connects current student-entrepreneurs with high powered members of the community. These are great events and we hope that you can make it.

To register for the event, visit the Come Fly With Us Facebook event page. Details are as follows:

Come Fly with Us is back for it’s 2nd edition with the OCHCC. Take flight with us over the city of Fullerton, collaborate with OC/LA’s top executives, & experience the Classic Gentleman or Timeless Woman culture. Since our existence in 2015, Classic Gentleman has hosted over 10 mixers & unlocked the hidden venues of the OC.

This year we expect to take things to another level by providing top tier entertainment, services, & talent to both local/international communities. Come Fly with Us is an inclusive experience to understand what it’s like to have a day in the life of an executive or industry influencer. What one can do with the mind is limitless. By combining your thought process with other like-minded individuals this will only become a catalyst for creating that future you have always envisioned. Classic Gentleman is a vessel & lifestyle for those who miss the days of chivalry and respect based off of a handshake. Those days have come & gone, but our ladies/gents strive to bring back those sort of business ethics in our society.

Let’s bridge the gap between industries & seek out collaboration together to build a better future for the generations of tomorrow. Swing by Hangar 21 at 6 PM on Thursday, April 27th for a after-work cocktail or a VIP experience with a helicopter flight. As always, “Stay Classic Think Modern.”

Willie Holmes is the awesome student who is primarily responsible for making these events happen. He will be there and you should definitely take time to meet with him; he’s one of those creative students that simply gets things done.


For more details on CSUF Entrepreneurship:

For more details on how we help people become entrepreneurs:

For more details on how CSUF Consulting can help businesses thrive:

Attend one of our events for entrepreneurs or sign up for a free mentoring session:

Knowledge @ CSUF Entrepreneurship video series:


An Actor and an Entrepreneur – CSUF Entrepreneurship Success Story Ryan David Tsang ’13

Ryan David Tsang '13 - CSUF Entrepreneurship Success Story

Ryan David Tsang ’13 – CSUF Entrepreneurship Success Story

When deciding to create a business, an entrepreneurial student must first examine the market in order to see if their idea is feasible. By comparing their idea to others and seeing how they can make an impact in the market, students begin to understand how much work will be needed in order to make their future business a success.

However, for the students who choose to press forward by adapting to the challenges they often end up far more successful than they could have imagined. For Cal State Fullerton alumni and entrepreneur Ryan David Tsang, his journey as a business owner has led him to flourish not only in the world of entrepreneurs but also in that of film and television.

While originally an entrepreneur major, Ryan took a break during his sophomore and junior years of college to explore the world of film and television. Working in the field enabled Ryan to hone his craft as an actor and eventually led to him to enroll under the Radio-TV-Film major. As a student with a double major, Ryan decided to create a business that would reflect both of his majors. In 2011, Black Canvas Entertainment was founded by Ryan and his business associate Justin Lee. This first step into the world of entrepreneurship would prove crucial for Ryan as he continued his career after college.

Upon graduating from Cal State Fullerton in 2013 Ryan began to expand upon his acting career where he was featured in a multitude of different shows and commercials. Working with the companies that hired him, Ryan was able to make connections that would not only help him expand his portfolio but would also lead to more clients for his business.

Interestingly enough, the use of Ryan’s entrepreneurial skills worked well with those of his acting skills. While both fields are different, the similarities they shared in terms of networking, communication, and developing skills proved to be a perfect fulcrum in which Ryan could use to help him become a better business owner as well as actor.

One valuable lesson that Ryan learnt early in his career was that networking was king when trying to expand his horizons. As a firm believer of not limiting himself, Ryan would attend events even if it meant not knowing any of the people in the room. To many, this situation would be something that they would be instantly uncomfortable with. However, by branching out and speaking with new people, Ryan was able to land several successful contacts that later led him to being referred to work because of the connections he had made.

Another valuable lesson that many students often ignore during networking events is to not go with the intention of landing a job. While seemingly nonsensical at first, students who only attend networking events with this mission give off a different vibe than those who go just to interact and speak with one another. By getting to know a person with no ulterior motive, people feel that a person is less needy and therefore more willing to refer them in the future.

Ryan also quickly learned that Facebook makes following up with people a perfect tool in cultivating a professional relationship after initially making contact. By learning these lessons early on, Ryan was able to adapt to the rigors of working in Hollywood and flourish as an actor.

In terms of his business, Ryan began to realize that while passion and dedication proved to be great concepts to work off of, reasoning and logic are just as valuable. This proved to be true when Ryan began examining his schedule and noted that he was working well over a hundred hours every week. Realizing that he was getting too caught up in his work, Ryan began making changes in order for him to experience life and be happy again.

With his schedule adjusted and more time allocated for things he wanted to accomplish, Ryan once more was able to grow and become stronger in his fields. Currently Ryan is helping to give back to the school that enabled him to be so successful. By working as a mentor in the classroom, Ryan has helped in the creation of a platform that will allow actors to connect and find jobs. While there are currently only 2-3 sites that use this concept, Ryan’s connections and skills as an entrepreneur will aid him as he works to create an even better site that expands on the concepts already in use.

Ultimately, Ryan’s dual career path has helped him climb the ranks as an actor while helping him to grow and succeed as a business owner. It is clear to see that the skills and knowledge from both of his majors played a large role in helping him not only become a successful actor, but also a business owner.

While Ryan’s path may not portray the typical entrepreneurial story of creating a business, his journey makes him unique among entrepreneurs due to his dedication and passion for the things he loves. This kind of journey is one that illustrates to students that nothing is impossible if students have the motivation and drive to follow their dreams.

We also reached out to Ryan to get his thoughts about the one piece of advice he would give to current CSUF students. Here’s what he had to say:

ADVICE: Change your mindset from “What can I get?” to “What can I give?”

As an aspiring Producer, I wanted to get my foot in the door and make connections at Fox Studios, so I accepted a 4 week temporary position as an Assistant in Legal & Television Distribution. First day on the job, working in a quiet, gray cubicle, I thought this was not a good fit for me. So, I plugged in my earbuds, completed my assigned tasks, and went home. However, the next morning and each day afterwards I went into work with a totally different mindset – “what if I take every single opportunity to do something positive while I’m here?” From the moment I parked my car, I would talk to strangers in the elevator, hold doors open for the morning rush, learn what my co-workers love and care about, buy donuts for the office, pick up trash in the bathroom and clean up someone else’s coffee spill in the break room.

The result was beyond expectations: I looked forward to each day of opportunities. I made lifelong friends. My supervisor even gave me a thank you card with a gift card inside. As my term neared its end, 7 employees at Fox helped me look for a permanent position. Two directors on my floor gave me direct referrals to a job opportunity that wasn’t even listed! I got an interview the next week and was offered the job the following day.

Now, I’m utilizing my Producer skills to coordinate a department responsible for overseeing every single film Fox releases outside of North America, which represents 2/3 of all Box Office revenue!

Photo credit: Ryan David Tsang.


For more details on CSUF Entrepreneurship:

For more details on how we help people become entrepreneurs:

For more details on how CSUF Consulting can help businesses thrive:

Attend one of our events for entrepreneurs or sign up for a free mentoring session:

Knowledge @ CSUF Entrepreneurship video series:


Speakeasy Thursday

Every month a group of CSUF students puts on a couple of networking events to bring together students, alumni, entrepreneurs, and other professionals in the area. Below is the flier for the Speakeasy event, click it to purchase a ticket to this awesome event.


#CSUFEntrepreneur #CSUFStartup

Become a CSUF Entrepreneurship Insider to keep up-to-date on all the events, news, and everything else we do:

For more details on CSUF Entrepreneurship:

For more details on how we help people become entrepreneurs:

Attend one of our entrepreneur events or sign up for a free mentoring session:

The Executive Breakfast this Wednesday

I’ve written about Classic Gentleman before but, to recap, they are a student group that is dedicated to bringing students, executives, and entrepreneurs together so that they can network and do some pretty cool things together. This Wednesday they are going to have one of these networking events at the IHOP in Placentia from 9am to 11am. Details are below and you can sign up here.

IHOP Placentia & Classic Gentleman Present: “The Executive Breakfast”

We hare teaming up with IHOP Placentia to host a monthly breakfast mixer at their establishment. Classic Gentleman will provide a chance for both students & executives to come together for a series of networking breakfasts.

Our teams will be kicking this off starting on 9/28 & continue to host them every final Wednesday of the month. For this event, anyone who purchases a “Come Fly with Us” ticket will have this FREE breakfast included.

Welcome to ALL CSUF & FJC Students!

Sponsors: WSEP, APAC, Sigma Upsilon Mu, & CSUF Center of Entrepreneurship

The Executive Breakfast

#CSUFEntrepreneur #CSUFStartup

Sign up for the CSUF Startup Newsletter to keep up-to-date on all the events, news, and everything else we do:

For more details on CSUF Entrepreneurship:

For more details on how we help people become entrepreneurs:

Attend one of our entrepreneur events or sign up for a free mentoring session: