Jalen McGee

The goal of Hardly Hustle is to provide inspiration, drive and motivation in a 10 minute read or less. What you see is what you get. This is hot off the press without an editing team. 

Jalen McGee is up.



Who are you and what do you do? I'm Jalen McGee, current NC State senior studying Industrial & Systems Engineering. My company is called YouEmbark, and we are a mobile platform that high school students and their families use to learn how to prepare for, and progress through the college admissions process. On our platform, students can take advantage of a step-by-step College Prep timeline, and students have the ability to talk with, and learn from current college students who have been successful in the college admissions / scholarship process. Myself, and my cofounder built this platform because we believe low cost, personalized college admissions & scholarship advice should be accessible by all High School Students. 

What did it take / how did you get started? This effort has taken a year and a half to get off the ground. The bulk of the time has been spent building the curriculum that is included on our platform. To build it, we constructed an awesome advisory committee with college admissions, scholarship, and career preparedness professionals from a variety of Universities. This advisory committee has worked with us closely to build a sound college & scholarship-prep curriculum that works for High School Students of all kinds. 


What does the future look like for you and your hustle? Right now we are focused on 2 things: user growth and user engagement. The immediate future for us includes tons and tons of user research to figure out what our users like and don't like, and what additional features we should include to make our platform as engaging and useful as possible.


What drives / motivates you? What motivates me is the opportunity to impact future generations. The platform we're building has the potential to quite literally change the lives of so many students in so many ways - it's so exciting and motivating for us to think about all we plan to do. It's especially motivating when current High School students tell us how useful the information is for them on the app, and how it has reduced some of their anxiety about the daunting college admissions process. 

What advice would you give someone interested in doing what you do? I have 2 pieces of advice: work on problems you care about, and be insanely user-focused while you're building your business.

What has been the hardest part of the hustle? The hardest part for me has been balancing school and working on the company. Our company has so many dimensions - and each dimension requires its own time, care, and attention. Adequately balancing company requirements with doing well in school is challenging.

What are a few resources that you'd recommend? Three categories of how i’d recommend someone to resource their time would be:Podcasts: How I built this, The Pitch, Planet Money, Masters of Scale Books: The Lean Startup Websites: https://medium.com/@jproco - An entrepreneur that publishes awesome content on entrepreneurship & startups.


The STATS


Side or full-time hustle? Side hustle for now, while I'm in school

List the founders Jalen McGee (NC State, '20), Marcus Krah (UNC Chapel Hill, '20)

How many hours a week do you work on this hustle? About 25 hours a week 

# of Employees? No employees, just the founders for now

When did you start? September 2018

How much did it cost to launch? ~$5,000

What were your funding methods and ballpark amount raised? Self funded, ~$5,000 raised

Annual Revenue? We're pre-revenue as of December 2019

Projected Revenue? Projected revenue in 2020: ~$70,000

Social: Twitter: https://twitter.com/youembark Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/youembark Website: www.youembark.org