Some people say that college is the best four years of your life. Considering that being a student means your responsibilities are confined to attending classes during the day (optional), going to parties at night and doing some grocery shopping once in a while; I don’t think that anybody can argue with that.
While enjoying such an avant-garde life is great, many students don’t realise that at such a young age they could be doing so much more than just partying. Perhaps the majority of students aren’t particularly career conscious, and they prefer to live in the moment, and that’s fair enough.
But college is the perfect time to take advantage of the available resources that will help you after you graduate. Just think about it; as a college student you are given access to an immense library that features thousands of books, and you get unlimited help and advice from professional tutors. As such you get to participate in lots of voluntary projects, you have the chance to become a student representative – and why not your Student’s Union President – or even to start your own business. Yes, you read right, you could even start your own business…
Entrepreneurial success has no age limit and can be achieved whether you are 17 or 70 years old. It is possible to start a business at any point in your life, and that is the real beauty of it. Being an entrepreneur most certainly can’t be compared with a career in modeling, football or any other profession that has an early expiry date.
Also, if history has taught us one thing about entrepreneurship, it is that you can be a student and an entrepreneur at the same time. The world’s most famous, successful entrepreneurs such as those behind Microsoft, Facebook and Google – Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Larry Page and Sergey Brin respectively, are all living proof that the best time to launch a business is while you are in college. It does make a lot of sense if you think that your most revolutionary idea might come to you when you are a teenager.
It is when you are exposed to new opportunities, when you get to challenge your knowledge and gather inspiration from others; students and professors alike. However, becoming a student entrepreneur is a challenge. You must have a strong desire to start your own business since you will need to treat this project as your top priority while working on your studies.
Many young people want to become entrepreneurs, but very few have the courage to go after their dreams. According to the Telegraph, in 2013, 25 percent of young people believed they could be their own boss within the next five years while 27 percent of students said they were ‘increasingly’ thinking of starting a business. But becoming your own boss is not an easy thing to do, and there are a lot of hurdles to cross.
Becoming a Student Entrepreneur
For 15-year-old Noa Mintz, the ambition of becoming a business owner came to her relatively early. A summer vacation internship and some brainstorming was all that she needed to come up with an exceptional idea. After a bad personal experience with babysitters, Mintz decided to launch her own baby- sitting agency with the name ‘Nannies by Noa’ and currently she is one of the youngest people in the world to own a successful startup, earning around $480, 000 per year. Now matches families with the right caregivers who will look after their children. As she states, “I found it fun to get to know a family and their needs – and find a babysitter who matched that… I really had no expectations, but I figured I’d try’."
Mintz did ask for business advice initially, and she even contacted a college entrepreneur to help her out. The fact that her father owned a private firm encouraged her to pursue her entrepreneurial dream providing Mintz with financial support to be able to pay legal fees. Also, in order to recruit the best babysitters in New York, she came up with her own recruitment strategy that included a resume, a one-to-one interview, a reference and background check. Pretty good for a student entrepreneur, don’t you think?
Mintz’s business soon became a success but with all her school demands, she realised that she couldn’t manage the company alone and decided to hire a CEO.
So, if you are worried about not being able to keep up with your school workload and manage a business at the same time, just hire a CEO.
If you are seriously considering becoming an entrepreneur, this might be the right time to do it. Many people have done it before and even more will do so in the future, so why can’t you? The only thing you need is to have a good plan in place.
Here are some great tips on how you can become a successful entrepreneur while still in college:
- Research your idea: check out the demand and evaluate the market competition.
- Expand your network: don’t wait for others to come to you. Talk to other students and ask your tutors’ advice. Take part in clubs and societies (e.g. NACUE) to meet new people.
- Talk to those ‘in the know’: meet people ‘who have been there and done it’ to help you out.
- Find yourself a mentor: a mentor will be your guide as he/she will give you valuable advice on the steps you need to take to start your entrepreneurial journey.
- Explore funding opportunities: check out The Prince’s Trust, Startup Loans, or Student Upstarts.
- Develop a business plan: create a plan for how you intend to develop your business in the next 3 to 5 years.
A successful entrepreneur is one that takes risks and can prepare for the future. Looking at the case of Mintz you may find that starting out can be difficult but in time you learn how you can balance things out.
Whoever said you have to graduate and then start working on your business is wrong. If you think you have an idea you want to develop, you shouldn’t wait any longer. Grasp the opportunity as soon as it presents itself to you and become the boss of your life and career.
Are you considering of becoming an entrepreneur? Let me know in the comments section below…