Gorillas as self-made CEOs

Jen Rainey | Collegio Reporter

For Samuel Burch and Lauren Vaughan, both students at Pittsburg State University, working a part-time job wasn’t enough. They’re normal students in most regards; they go to classes and work to make a little extra scratch on the side. The difference is that they made their own jobs.
After Samuel Burch, sophomore in justice studies, went through a breakup he decided to turn his passion into a business. He turned to what he’d known since childhood: making comic books.
“I went through the worst heartbreak I ever had and needed to do something,” said Burch, who owns his own comic-book company.
He, like other students at Pittsburg State University, is an entrepreneur. He writes and publishes comic books, and has employed six artists to create images, color and set lettering for the books. His company sells the independent comic books in Kansas City. The first book is scheduled for print in December and was inspired by his life experiences.
“The book goes through the hardships of a college breakup that are very similar to what actually happened,” Burch said.
Burch says that although he plans to work with his comic book company the rest of his life, college is also important to him. He says the downfall to working with comic books is it doesn’t always pay well.
“I like to eat,” Burch said. “Food and shelter are nice.”
Burch has spent most of his adult life juggling his own businesses and school. Besides the comic book business, he has been the manager and lead singer for the band R.O.R. for six years. He even co-produces the recorded music for the five-piece band. For Burch, the most difficult part of running a business and keeping up with school is disciplining himself against procrastination. Because he’s the one in charge, his business, band and schoolwork are at the mercy of him staying on top of things.
“Procrastination is the devil,” Burch said.
PSU alumnus Chris Dee always considered himself an entrepreneur. When he was in grade school, he sold stickers and gum to classmates. These days he’s running Festi-Cab, a company that travels to festivals across the country and acts as a taxi service by providing rides in golf carts. While he doesn’t technically have any employees by legal definition, he does use about 40 subcontracted, self-employed drivers.
Dee says the best part of running his business is the satisfaction of a job well-done, but that it still eats a lot of his time. It takes him a big part of the day to make sure the business runs smoothly.
Lauren Vaughan, junior in commercial graphics, is trying to start her own photography business, and has been taking pictures to jumpstart it for about a year.
Vaughan is a freelance photographer, and calls her company Lauren Vaughan Photography. Her work can be found on Facebook under the same name. Vaughan says she would love to shoot photos for National Geographic. She also hopes to have a studio of her own and build her business to a larger scale. However, she’s waiting until she graduates to do that so she will know where she’s going to live.
“I’m hoping to keep this going and create something to where it never stops,” Vaughan said. “I want to get more people involved.”
She says it’s hard to juggle school and work, but because it’s her passion she manages to find time for photography. She’s even found ways to put them together.
“Education is important, because without it I wouldn’t know the perspective to look at,” Vaughan said.
Vaughan says she enjoys making people happy through her photography and getting positive feedback. However, there are stressful moments of worrying whether her clients will like her work or not. Either way, she doesn’t believe in giving up.
“Take it slow and if you have dreams don’t give them up,” Vaughan said. “Mine are finally coming true.”

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