"Don't be afraid to fail"

Don't be afraid to fail

By Carla Kelly '22

A young man smiles standing in front of a door.

It’s okay if the picture we have in our heads of the future looks differently than what we see when we look back at what actually happened. Alumnus Jordan Sponsler ’20, who started out as an engineering major, graduated as a biochemistry major and is now starting his very own business. While this did not happen overnight, Sponsler has a goal and vision for his own role in his company, and he is actively taking steps to make that happen.

It was through a class project that Sponsler realized what he was truly interested in. “I realized through my work with the Diagnostics for Viral Diseases project that I liked the biology of our project more than anything,” he said. He always planned to go to medical school, but he wanted to spend his undergraduate time devoted to the subjects he enjoyed most. As a result of this realization, Sponsler switched his major and graduated with a Bachelor of Science in biochemistry and a minor in math.

After graduation, Sponsler took a role as a project manager for the biopharmaceutical company Eurofins Lancaster Laboratories, where he worked full-time for eight months. While in this role, he began working on a digital marketing business on weekends and evenings. He eventually left his role at Eurofins, and is now devoting all of his time to his new business. Lighthouse Digital advertises for small businesses across the country and Sponsler is currently in charge of managing a lot of the business on his own, including website development, search engine optimization, marketing, hiring, training and market research.

His business has not only allowed him to pursue what he is passionate about, but Sponsler emphasized how it gave him access to other opportunities that he wasn’t necessarily getting at his other job. “I was itching for something new to learn and try,” he explained. “I felt stifled in my job. I wanted to exercise creativity in organizational development and set my own schedule with a job that allowed me to be location independent—one of my favorite aspects of my job.”

Sponsler says that Messiah taught him so much when it comes to how he approaches business. Instead of focusing on what he can gain out of it, he talks about how the Christian education he received really helped him look for ways in which other people benefit from the situation and how he can help others grow as well. He added that this outlook on his business usually yields the best results anyway! Sponsler encourages students to put themselves in situations that make them uncomfortable and push them to grow in different ways, adding that this growth can occur, at times, through failing. Sponsler shares that failing is not only okay but can be a learning experience for students. “It may sound cliché, but failures teach us so much more about ourselves and where we need to grow,” he said. “Learn to recognize them as opportunities to change and better yourself moving forward.”

Click here for more information about biochemistry and math at Messiah University.