No offices. No work hours. No manager to tell us what to do. Working for yourself sounds like living the dream, doesn’t it? But you don’t have to get your MBA or wait ‘til you’re older to start your own business. Many college students, including those featured in our student spotlight series, have become successful business owners while still enrolled full-time! Interested in how they did it? These are just a few pieces of advice they have to share.
Use What You Have Available
You don’t have to know it all. In fact, when you’re in college, you don’t need to know anything at all. It’s all part of the learning process! Many colleges provide organizations, lecture series, programming, and even mentorships for those looking to start their own business. The best part of all -- it’s usually free or low cost for students!
“I was part of the summer cohort at Happy Valley Launchbox,” Ishana Shekhawat, a Penn State business creator, says, “where we got a lot of help both in terms of individual mentoring as well as through weekly information and networking sessions.”
Don’t Be Afraid to Network
Whether you have an idea already or on the hunt, collaborating with others is key. That’s why being in college rocks because of all the opportunities you have to meet others with an entrepreneurial background or spirit.Rajat Bhageria, a nonprofit owner and student from Philadelphia, describes in a Forbes article how networking using his college’s contacts paid off big, “Having very few contacts with successful entrepreneurs, for the next few weeks we lived on our school’s alumni directory. Whenever we found anyone–entrepreneurs, founders, medical personnel, CEOs, friends, and investors–we would pitch them and ask for advice on how to go forward.”
Find Your Inspiration From Within
Many college entrepreneurs get their big break solving a problem they encounter every day. For example, think about how Facebook, the ultimate college business, was created from the need to connect and speak with others online. By addressing the issue head on in a creative way, an empire was built.Ezike, a housing solution for international students living abroad, was started by one of our spotlighters and UCLA student, Anais Tadlaoui. Anais experienced the problem of finding housing for college first hand and wanted to come up with a solution.
After surveying other students, she said, “I realized how critical the problem was, how big the market was, and the lack of adequate solutions” Anais explained. “And this problem is only going to get worse as more students are seeking out international education and global experiences.”
Balance is Key -- Even for New Business Owners
A forgotten part of finding success as a business owner is remembering to not overwork yourself. Self-care, especially when juggling regular work, a new business, college studies, and a social life, seems to fall by the wayside first. But it’s vital to maintaining a clear head needed to make important business decisions.
Taylor Landrum, the owner of Fur Sure Dog Care, LLC and a full-time student at Northern Kentucky University, knows all about this and shares some wise wisdom regarding owning a business while juggling the rest, “The biggest challenge of starting my business was learning how to balance my life… The best way for me to do so was to take it one day at a time.”