1. Youth Innovation and work spirit
No one denies it, the youth are full of motivation and untapped potential, and most of all, are eager to exploit it or blow it off thanks to the many hormones flowing through their bodies!
We tend to forget it, but as we grow up, our dreams dwindle and our passion for change and innovation simply fades. We grow up, dreaming of becoming astronauts and presidents, then go to school and think that becoming a lawyer or doctor might do the job. Before we hit our 30s, we’re stuck with the idea that our place is behind the office desk, churning on the toilet paper of bureaucracy.
It is like a breath slipping away and there is no way of catching it back. All we can do is scream the loudest we can while still hold some of it in our lungs. This is life and this is how our motivation and passion for change goes about, and it is about time you understand it and get your ass to do whatever you can while you still have the guts to do it.
You are young and full of excitement to meet what life has out there for you, and this excitement and enthusiasm is the mantra of entrepreneurship! Entrepreneurs, unlike others who settled for mechanical, zombie-like jobs (which most end up hating anyways), are full of stimulus and drive to explore, invent, try, fail and succeed, like a teenager on steroids.
2. University resources
In the workplace, no one will help you climb the corporate ladder or take your hand and show you how to make it. It’s a fierce competition out there with little support, but in college, there's still much you can rely on. Universities now understand the importance of boasting a strong entrepreneurial record by investing in their students' startups, either through grants, mentorship or incubators.
Being a university student opens these resources for you, so why not make the best out of them? Starting clubs, filing budget requests, competing in university based startup weekends and using your professors and administrators as mentors are valuable supplies that only students have, so don’t waste it by graduating with no startup running in the background!
Moreover, businesses and big ideas don’t come up well if you’re running the show alone, so use your roommates, classmates and fellow students out there to help you in the process. Facebook, Apple and other ventures were the combined product of many heads coming together (Although they collided in court rooms afterwards over ownership), so when you’re sitting in the cafeteria, staying up late or having fun in the pool, remember that the people you’re hanging out with are full of potential, so tap in (Or tap it)!
3. The Environment is Key
The college life is the best ecosystem to start a business and to run a startup, so no wonder they are trying hard to reproduce it in Facebook and Apple headquarters to boost productivity and innovation! You’re a college student in an environment that has much to offer.
For one, you have low collateral, as opposed to running big risks and responsibilities if you are in the workforce. Having a job to care for, a boss to satisfy, a wife to worry about or the mundane life tasks a person out of college has to deal with is a true impediment for growth and innovation.
Waiting until post graduation to start building a business is demanding and clashes with many commitments life imposes on us in that stage, but while in college, the risks are low, there is less stress and you are more likely to be in an adventurous mood to try new things. The hippie culture of not caring much, of working hard and playing harder is an amazing tool to exploit if you are a student, so employ it in getting your startup running.
They say being high can help you accomplish a lot, so while you’re flying in the clouds, solving the world's most pressing problems or turning into a philosopher, take some time and think about the needs and issues around you and how to best solve them through a company of your making.
4. Living with future client base (students forming future middle class)
We tend to forget while in college that we have a competitive edge over all other salesman or executives and company CEOs, and that’s that we are living side by side the next wave of middle class client base. The very students you go to school with, see at lunch, hang out with and talk to most of the time are the same people who will be joining the workforce 5 or 7 years from now and will be shopping in malls and getting their credit cards out to buy stuff.
Companies spend millions trying to understand their market niche, their needs, their lifestyle and their mindset while you, the student, have it all figured out. Your discussions with your fellow buddies can reveal a lot about what they lack and what they would love to buy given it existed, so why not be a good entrepreneur and create the solution for their problems all while pocketing some money on the way?
All you have to do is to take time to observe and to analyze behaviors and conversations, looking for the gap that’ll allow you to move in and come up with the fix, and colleges are a fertile land to achieve this with great odds of success.
5. Failure is good, but better while young
Fail early, fail fast, fail often…the glorification of failure goes hand in hand with innovation and success we read and hear often, and this cult of failure is what proves that college is the best place and period of your life to start your business because you’ll have plenty of opportunity for failures given the low collateral it carries, and most importantly college vibes well with the “fail early” part!
Failure is good, but the sooner it happens, the better since you’ll have plenty of time to recover and enough energy to burn continuing with your venture. It is hard when failure strikes at an age where you spent years investing yourself in an idea too costly in effort and money. I
n college, most startups are the result of little, if no funding, so the failure carries a more constructive load than destructive one. Believe it or not, it’s easier to get over the disappointment of a failed idea that cost you $1000 and few months in college than a years-long loss while you are in your 30s or 40s!
Your college years are probably the best of your life because of the fun they carry, the friendships college allows you to forge and the experience it offers, so make it an even better period by coming out of it with an operating startup or venture.
The resources and assets you have at your disposal as a student, the ecosystem you work in and the mindset that shapes your everyday life while in college are valuable assets even big companies try hardly to emulate in their workplace.
Owning your business while in your 20s is not only a crowning prize for the great potential you hold as a young aspiring student, but is also a recognition for what you can and should make being in the position you are in. We have no excuse not to be the boss of ourselves, to pride ourselves with being our own CEOs, so don’t waste time and exploit all you have at your disposal in college, so that you can gladly claim “I’m CEO bitch and still in college!”
Mohamed Amine Belarbi | Elite.