Trying to decide if you want to start a business in college? It is a tough, life-changing decision. With it comes the opportunity of having success and running your own business. What also comes though is the stress and commitment that is required to achieve that level of success. Being in college, you are young with nothing to lose. It certainly does make for a great time to start a business and build something of your own. If you truly do get a rush from running your own business, then college is definitely a great place to start.
One aspect of becoming a college entrepreneur that is essential to consider is that it is quite hard to balance work, a social life and class. It is close to impossible, but it can be done. What is so important to remember is that you should not be starting a business unless you are 100% committed. There is a reason that most start-ups fail.
If you don’t have the diligence to get everything done, then there is just no way that your business will succeed. At the same time, you don’t want to drive yourself crazy or get sick. Try to take everything in stride. Set a schedule for yourself. Obviously, work might pile up, but having a schedule will just help alleviate so much stress from your day. Have a time for homework, a time for business and time for friends. You might get so into your business that you never stop working, but setting times for everything and planning your day is an essential step toward success and enjoyment.
Another question that aspiring college entrepreneurs always face is what classes to take. One thing that must be pointed out is that you learn more from starting and working on your venture than you do in class. There really is no way to be taught entrepreneurship. If you are willing to put in the work to build a product, create a marketing plan, get press and build distribution routes, then you are well on your way.
That said, if available, take a variety of entrepreneurship classes that are focused on risk management, identifying opportunities, market research, structuring a business and acquiring funding. Funding education is essential for entrepreneurs, as without it, there is no way to successfully scale your business, and equity management is essential. Public speaking classes are key as you will ultimately at one point be pitching your business or product.
Feeling comfortable with yourself in this case is so important. The best part about being a college entrepreneur is the tremendous amount of respect that you get from your peers and adults who have gone through the same experience. There will always be those that doubt, but very few people start businesses in college. You will have so many experiences before everyone else. All of your peers will want to learn from you and it will open doors for your future.
You also have nothing to lose. You are young. Any mistakes that you make can be fixed. You can also leverage yourself as a college entrepreneur through your schools alumni network. Visit the alumni office and ask for the information of alumni in your respective industry. There is a good chance that there will someone who will be willing to help a student from their alma matter chasing the same dream. Give it a try.
That being said, it is not all glitz and glam. Your grades are guaranteed to suffer. It is inevitable. Because you invest so much into your growing business, and it is your passion, it essentially must take priority. There will be times when school will need to come first, such as exams and papers because, let’s face it, you still need to graduate.
In addition, while there will be some professors that are completely on board with your venture and will even take the time out of their day to help you, there will always be those who feel that their class is the most important thing in the world. These professors also tend to be the ones who assign the most work and cannot accept that some students had other obligations that were just as important as school. You just need to remember to persevere.
Another issue with being a college entrepreneur is the sacrifices to your social life that you have to make. There will be times where you are out with friends and need to take phone calls. At other times, you will miss entire weekends to go to meetings. Just remember that if you have the drive and the diligence to get everything done, you have already separated yourself from the pack. One key piece of advice for college entrepreneurs is to use the fact that you are still in college to your advantage!
It is cool. People are into college entrepreneurs. They want to support you and see you succeed. Depending on your venture, you also have the ability to start by capturing your entire college as your first customers. People like supporting a product that started from their school. It even makes them feel unique and have a close bond with your company. You also need to go see your school’s PR manager. They have a list of contacts for all of the press in your local city. Start there and you can immediately begin building press and credibility. Being a college entrepreneur is hard, but it will pay off. Just work your head off and give it your all. It is a fun ride.
Demetri Demascus | Elite.