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Business Entrepreneurship grad credits York College with giving him tools to succeed

Jimmy King with wife and side bottle

Jimmy King ‘13 still remembers his first “idea notebook.” It was plain and just 70 lined pages. Inside, he filled those pages with thoughts of potential creations. Some were great; others were terrible. The exercise started in his Creativity and Innovations class at York College of Pennsylvania: Write down every idea you have. Don’t judge them. Just write them down.

It’s an everyday practice Jimmy continues, more than six years since he graduated with a degree in Business Entrepreneurship from York College. He’s upgraded his notebook, now opting for an app on his phone over a physical one. Still, it’s a place where Jimmy focuses and organizes his ideas, and it’s where the idea for Side Bottle – a water bottle/phone holder that’s about to go into manufacturing – was born.

Setting himself up for success

Jimmy was undeclared when he first started at York College, but he had long dreamed of opening his own gym. He played on the Spartans baseball team and loved working out. A teammate told him about York College’s newest major, Business Entrepreneurship. “Once I met the professors and saw the courses, I was hooked,” he says. “In that moment, I really did feel like it was where I was meant to be.”

Jimmy wanted to be his own boss. “I knew I wasn’t going to go work in some corporate office the day I graduated,” he says. His father owned his own plumbing business. He’d seen firsthand just how hard it was to make it on your own. But, witnessing his dad’s intense dedication to his work and family only motivated him more. “The amount of work didn’t scare me,” he says. “I just wanted to be able to replicate that dedication.”

Jimmy had the ideas and drive on his own. His professors at York College provided him with the tools to take those ideas and make them a reality. From Professional Writing to Business classes, Jimmy’s focus was always fitness-related. The classes, he felt, were always tailored to the students, so he was able to apply that focus to most of his projects.

Beyond his classwork, Jimmy says the social skills he learned at school — the ability to quickly build a rapport with someone, and the teamwork he learned from his baseball team — all led to his success after graduation. “Just the whole experience at York made me feel like this is setting me up for the type of life I want to live,” he says.

Side Bottle

After graduation, Jimmy went on to run a few different gyms. All the while, he kept his idea notebook going. A few years ago, he got his parents to start working out. They always went to the gym together, which he thought was adorable, and to make their life easy, he’d write up a workout on a sticky note and post it on a water bottle for them.

Boom. The sticky note water bottle went into the idea notebook. Jimmy got excited. He asked friends if they liked the idea. The resounding answer was a flat no, but that didn’t stop him. “I feel like there’s something here,” he remembers thinking. “It’s not a Post-It note, but there’s something here.”

He continued watching people at the gym and talking to fitness friends. People weren’t carrying around sticky notes at the gym – they were carrying water and their phones. Plus, a lot of people were using their phones to film their workouts. And voila! The Side Bottle, a water bottle/phone holder that still allows your front camera to work, was born.

Jimmy’s idea is about to go into manufacturing. It’s exciting, terrifying, and amazing all at the same time.  More than anything, Jimmy’s excited about what this process has forced him to do and to learn. He’s proud that he created something and he wants to use the lessons he’s learned and share them with young entrepreneurs just starting out, like where he had once been. Lesson No. 1, he says: Always keep an idea notebook.