You already have a lot to do as a student. Exams, studying, socializing…with your busy schedule, it’s hard to imagine adding anything else but school. What you may not realize is that starting your own business in college is not just easier than you think, but it will give you a leg up on your career after you graduate. College provides a level of social connection, collaboration, and financial stability that you can use to your advantage.
Although it might seem far-fetched, there are several excellent reasons why college is the best time to start your own business:
1. Students Provide Excellent, Fun, And Cheap Labor
College is a place where everyone is learning together. You are in the same classes with the same people, over and over again. And, as you get closer to graduation, you have more hands-on experiences with colleagues who have not quite got their careers up to speed. This can allow you to find amazingly talented people to hire for very little initial investment. In fact, many of your fellow students might be willing to work for free or for partial ownership of your start up business. This is a great way to continue learning as a team, while also limiting your initial payroll costs.
2. Financial Opportunities? More Than You Know!
When you’re living on Top Ramen and beer, this sounds like crazy talk. Actually, college is a great place for a student to start a business, mainly because there are incredible financial opportunities available for entrepreneurial students. Organizations like the Global Student Entrepreneur Awards (GSEA), Student Entrepreneur Awards, and the UPS College Entrepreneur Contest are just a few of the hundreds of businesses that provide money for college entrepreneurs. In addition, many colleges offer their own awards and scholarships for business ideas and plans, and may include a review of your business plan and feedback on your idea.
3. Free Mentorship From Knowledgeable Experts
Every successful entrepreneur will tell you that having a mentor is vital for keeping your new business afloat. Unfortunately, once you get into the “real world,” you can run into problems with competitiveness and unavailability with potential mentors. In college, you can get the benefit of excellent mentorship from teachers and department chairs that are interested in seeing students be successful. These are people who often have had significant experience, or are prominent in the community, and they are also in a position where they have no need to compete with you or your business.
4. It’s Okay If You Fail
One of the perks of starting a business in college is that you can totally tank and it still won’t affect you much in the long run. After you have established yourself and your career, failing in business can take a huge financial and social toll on your life. As a college start-up, uninformed people might expect you to fail, so it doesn’t hurt your chances if your business goes under. In addition, you learn key strategies from failing that can help you be more successful later. In fact, many employers will give you kudos for the attempt alone, giving you a better chance of being hired on your tenacity, vision, and innovation.
5. Create Your Own Dream Job
Probably the best part about starting your own business while you’re in college is that you get to create the job that you’ve always wanted to have. Do you hate the idea of a daily 9-to-5 grind in a stuffy office? Set up a virtual office with little overhead and people that you love to work with. Do you want to have the job title of “Principle Beer Taster,” but it doesn’t really exist? Give yourself the job that you want. Starting your own business means that you can instantly start becoming an expert in virtually anything field that you choose. That way, when you graduate, you don’t just have a job. You’ll have a career that is custom-designed for your personality and tastes.
6. Really Find Out If This Is What You’re Meant To Do
A lot of hotheaded young entrepreneurs jump into a business after college without any real background about what the business is or what it will take to be successful. Unfortunately, without the support structure of college to back them up, they can lose a lot of time and money in the process. As a student business owner, you’ll have a chance to try on any kind of business model or type you’d like. By the time you’ve graduated, you may have found a business that you are passionate about and have a deep knowledge of. This sets you up for further success down the road, and can potentially turn your college business experiment into a lifelong career.
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