Published on June 29, 2021 by Morgan Black
Craig Chavis, a 2012 graduate of Samford University’s Brock School of Business, is an award-winning author and business strategist. In his entrepreneurial career, Chavis works to consult with others on how to develop proactive, profitable, and proven business models. He coaches through an alternative and holistic perspective cultivated from more than a decade of experience launching and managing businesses in Ghana, Costa Rica, Peru, and the U.S.
Chavis, a former student-athlete at Samford, recently published a new book, Burdens of a Dream, in which he encourages individuals to not only chase their dreams but to manifest them. Here he shares more about his journey and gives advice for future entrepreneurs.
At what point in your life/career did you know you wanted to be an entrepreneur?
As a kid, I always had a knack for finding different ways of making extra money through selling boy scout popcorn, Pokémon cards, burnt cds and other novelty items. This innate ability to create something out of nothing has been the foundation of my inspiration to become an entrepreneur. Ultimately, while majoring in entrepreneurship at Samford and starting multiple successful business ventures as a student-athlete, I realized becoming an entrepreneur was a feasible and viable career path that I could pursue full time.
What are some of your proudest moments in your entrepreneurial endeavors?
As a serial entrepreneur, I have launched several companies, but the venture that provided me with the most fulfillment was my distillery in South America. After serving in the Peace Corps, I immigrated back to Peru by myself and opened one of the country’s first branded craft distilleries. In less than nine months, I developed four spirits and exported those products internationally. Navigating through a different culture, language, and set of business laws was not easy, but I managed to overcome all those obstacles to accomplish something no American had achieved before.
What is your definition of failure?
To fail is to simply experience a “first attempt in learning.” Think about it, whenever you try something out for the first time, inevitably you are going to make mistakes, run into problems, and might not even accomplish your original goal. The secret to overcoming these mistakes, is to learn from them so you do not commit those same errors again. In my opinion, failure is a positive experience if you view it that way.
What drew you to write Burdens of a Dream?
After traveling around the world and founding multiple businesses, I moved back to my home state of Ohio in 2019. It had been almost 10 years since I had lived there, and when I arrived, I was kind of lost and did not know where to begin. Eventually, I found the courage to start networking and shared my story with random people whom I met. This led me to converse with a publisher who suggested that I write a book to share my story with others. At first, I was reluctant to write the book, but eventually that book transformed from a project into a calling.
As I was writing the introduction to Burdens of a Dream, I wrote the following words: “This book is dedicated to all those who’ll dare to abandon the status quo, follow the road not taken, and discover the person they’re truly meant to become.” Initially, those words were written for my audience, but ironically, those same words were also meant for myself. Basically, every person has dreams, but only brave people are willing to pay the cost to make their dreams a reality. Burdens of a Dream is a book that inspires people to become the entrepreneurs of their lives and find the courage to make their dreams come true.
What summary of advice from your book, or in general, would you give to students looking for an entrepreneurial career?
The best advice I can provide to students is to be strategic and take calculated risks earlier on in life. When you are young you have less responsibilities, are more flexible, and can bounce back from setbacks quicker. After a certain age, life experience will slow you down, cause you to become more risk adverse, and lower your chances of wanting to pursue an entrepreneurial career path. Take note of your strengths, create a plan, and be courageous enough to experiment with entrepreneurship. Regardless of the outcome, you will learn a lot of important and invaluable life lessons that will fast track your personal and professional growth.
What’s next for you?
The next step for me is to double down on my business with the launch of my Entrepreneur Affirmation Bootcamp. This program is designed to help aspiring entrepreneurs transform their ideas into a profitable business opportunity with confidence. Overall, I am really excited about this product because the COVID-19 pandemic has generated a lot of interest in entrepreneurship due to people losing their jobs, spending more time working from home, along with many other factors as well. Learn more about the bootcamp here.
Samford is a leading Christian university offering undergraduate programs grounded in the liberal arts with an array of nationally recognized graduate and professional schools. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. The Wall Street Journal ranks Samford 1st nationally for student engagement and U.S. News & World Report ranks Samford 37th in the nation for best undergraduate teaching and 97th nationally for best value. Samford enrolls 5,758 students from 48 states and 22 countries in its 10 academic schools: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy and public health. Samford fields 17 athletic teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference, and ranks 3rd nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.