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5 things to consider before starting a business as a student 

Starting a business as a student, particularly as an undergraduate, can be a very appealing idea. It is, in fact, fairly common, both because students often think business is a great way to make money while still in college, and because starting a business as a student is sometimes easier than doing so after graduating.

But before you rush off to found a company, remember that creating something on your own is a big decision – and you’re supposed to think about it for a while. One of the problems students run into, and something they should think about before developing a business is that their schooling does not prepare them for the rigors of doing so. At best, their schooling prepares them to do well in school. At worst, it prepares them to get good grades, but that can mean doing as little as necessary.

So before you invest your time, money, and effort, you should ask yourself, “What will this business look like in five, ten, and twenty years from now?” Then there’s determining how you’re going to make money. Will you sell a product, a service, or both? What if college work doesn’t allow you to devote much time to your profession? One way to save time is by hiring a paper writer from WritePaper – to at least save time on those lengthy papers. Now, let’s answer these and more questions – and explore 5 things to consider before diving into your own career!

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1. College Work

You want to start a business, but you don’t have enough time because of the amount of college work. How can you find the time? One way is to begin small. Many students have ideas they want to work on, but they don’t know how to get started. Luckily, there are simple solutions. Student entrepreneurs often begin by tinkering. They try making a few products and then try to sell some of them.

The point of startups is not to get rich; the point is to feel your way in the entrepreneur role. Getting rich isn’t the goal in the beginning; it’s a nice side effect. 

The point of a startup is to create something dynamic; something that lets you improve. You don’t have to invent something entirely new. So, to avoid feeling overwhelmed by college work you can begin small on the side.

2. Type of Business

There are plenty of opportunities to start out with. Design or build something that someone needs. You could offer to help fellow students with their schoolwork. You could organize a study group. You could develop a website, blog, or a podcast. You could take photographs, videos, create art, or music. You could translate. You could write software. You could make a video game. You could do freelance writing. But before you dive in, consider answering a few questions as honestly as you can:

  • How much can I realistically expect to make?
  • What opportunities are there for me?
  • What kind of things do I want to do?
  • How much time do I want/can spend on it?
  • How much risk am I willing to assume?
  • How much hard work am I willing to do?

 

Answering these questions will help you decide what type of work is the right one for you at the moment. And don’t forget – that can change over time!

3. College Resources

If you think about starting a business, and your college major isn’t business, then you have some work to do. For example, suppose you’re studying English. English majors are trained to analyze literature, and to analyze literature well you need a lot of knowledge about human nature. If you can translate that academic knowledge into practice, you may be able to hone your skills in a real-world setting.

In other words, you have to find an opportunity, and study it – and see if you come up with a good idea. Online courses could also be a great first step for you.

But if you’re studying business or something related to it, you may not need to come up with the idea. Your education may have given you enough knowledge to start on your own! For example, suppose you’re studying economics. Economics is concerned with how people make choices, and how people’s choices affect the market. So you might be uniquely qualified to build a profession that helps people evaluate their choices.

Of course, your college major is unlikely to have prepared you to run an entire company. But even if you don’t know much about running a business, your education may have given you enough other skills to start thinking about one. The point is, colleges train people to be smart, and smart people make good entrepreneurs. In other words, you don’t need an MBA to start a business, but it does help.

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4. Finding a Mentor

Businesses, like people, need mentors. But finding a mentor, especially when you’re just starting, can be a challenge. Usually, the best mentors are people you already know. If you spend enough time in college, you will meet people who have experiences, skills, and connections that are different from yours. Befriend them – and talk to them about your ideas.

But even if you are close to someone, a mentor is not always easy to find. One approach that seems promising is to meet people in organizations whose missions and values are similar to yours. If the idea of talking to strangers at college makes you nervous, that’s okay. You could form an online group with people who share your interests. 

Another way to find a mentor is to talk to a counselor or advisor. Many colleges have financial aid offices or counseling centers. You could talk to them about your idea, and work with them to set up a plan. If you want to start a business, don’t wait until after you graduate. Start now, while you are still a student – and don’t wait until you have a perfect idea. Ideas come when you least expect them. 

5. Making Friends

The more you connect with people, the stronger your network, and the more likely you are to create opportunities. If you want to run a business, chances are that people will find you through referrals – and the best way to get more referrals is to expand your network.

Every profession has a unique sales proposition. If you are an entrepreneur, your sales pitch is your story. And the best way to sell your story to others is to tell them. It doesn’t have to be long or complicated – but you do need to tell it. 

Making friends and meeting new people in college will help you spread your message, and maybe even find potential partners and clients. You can never begin too early when you’re thinking about your occupation, so make sure to spread the message and get networking!

Final Thoughts

An advantage of being a student is that you have time on your side. That time may be the most important asset you have. In a startup, time is your most precious resource. You use it to make products,  find customers, raise money, and grow. You use it to get to the next stage in your occupation.

So, use that time well. Work alongside your college errands, determine what type of profession is the right one for you, and use your education to learn more about businesses, find mentors, and make new connections. All of that will help both you and your business to grow, change, and be successful.

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About the author: Access Publishing

Scott Brennan is the publisher of this newspaper and founder of Access Publishing. Connect with him on Paso Robles Daily News on Google, Twitter, LinkedIn, or follow his blog.