1. Running a business is a full time job.
If you want to be successful, you have to remember that running a business, or working to accomplish any other goal for that matter, is a full time responsibility. Don't limit yourself with the label of “student-entrepreneur.”
Think of yourself as a professional who happens to be going to school. This eliminates the potential excuses and fall-back plans that come with being a student and forces you to fully commit to your business endeavors. This leads right in to my next point:
2. Prepare yourself psychologically for a lot of rough times.
The first part of starting a business is having fun. Make sure that your business endeavor is a new, fresh idea that you are passionate about. Once you start realizing how much everything costs, how much nitty-gritty groundwork there is, and how difficult it is to connect with a broad audience, the struggle begins.
You might even want to give up. Nearly every business goes through these growing pains. The successful ones simply keep pushing.
3. Use your network!
If you're proud of your business and the product you offer, share it with friends, family, classmates, etc. Personal connections are the most important thing in the business world and often lead to major sales. People in your inner circle will trust you and the product or service you are providing, and will want to help you succeed.
4. Make a product you would actually want to use.
This is perhaps the most important piece of advice I have to offer. Do not simply create a business for the sake of creating a business. You will not be passionate about your product and there's a good probability you won't be able to market it as something that people will want to use. You have to be passionate to succeed in anything that you do in life.
Your passion shines through, and people will respect you for representing an idea that you feel so strongly about. As I mentioned above, running a business is a full time job.
Starting something from scratch is extremely difficult, which is why so many new firms do not succeed. If you don't believe in what you're doing, there's a good chance you won't be willing to devote the time and energy it takes to run your business.
5. Don't be afraid to ask for help.
As a student, you likely haven't been in the business world for too long, but there are plenty of people with a lot of experience. Professors, classmates, family friends, and even competitors often are able to provide great insight.
Top photo courtesy of The Social Network