Pursuing a business venture while still in college is a daunting task. For many entrepreneurs, finding balance is a feat that ultimately leads to one or the other endeavor—or both, in some unfortunate cases—falling to the wayside. There are ways to be successful both in school and in business. It’s all about finding a balance, maintaining motivation, and remembering what your goals are. Here is a guide on how to start a business in college.
When you’re in school, you’re already balancing a slew of things. You have many things competing for your attention already; there are classes, homework, studying, and family and social obligations. Entrepreneurship is more than a full-time job as is. Many people end up focusing 60 or more hours a week on their start-up business, but as a college student, you may not have that kind of time on your hands. That’s why you’ve got to learn how to prioritize the pursuits that matter most to you.
Define your goals
It’s important to define why you’re doing what you’re doing and to keep your goals at the forefront of your mind all along the way. This will make it easier to keep your focus and stay motivated to pursue both your goals simultaneously.
- What is the goal of starting your business? Decide if you see your business as a short-term resume builder or a long-time career option for after graduation.
- Why are you in school at all? You committed to school for a reason; remember this reason to avoid getting caught up in the ever-common plight of dropping out and regretting it later.
Finding a school-work-life balance is difficult. Be strategic in your actions and coursework and try to accomplish two things at once.
- Take courses that benefit your business.
- Consider taking an independent study or entrepreneurship course so you can get credits for working on your business.
- Don’t be afraid to delegate. There are many ways to lessen your load. Look into a business partnership, find investors, hire a third-party logistics company to handle shipments, or even have sales managed by an online system. Find ways to lower your involvement in day-to-day tasks so you can focus on school without losing sight of your business goals.
Building connections is, arguably, the most important factor to a start-up’s success. The saying “it’s who you know, not what you know” does hold some truth to it—although we recommend trying to be well-informed and educated regardless of who you know. Here are some valuable resources you have at your fingertips simply by being in college:
- Professors: professors are experts in their fields and most likely worked in your business field for decades before becoming a professor—or, better yet, they might be adjuncts. They have ample wisdom to impart and a willingness to help.
- Guest lecturers: colleges do you a great service by bringing ample guests to campus with expertise in various fields who are typically ready and willing to guide you in your goals.
- Peers: Fellow students are a great resource for business partners, employees, and even to seek advice from. They’re in the same boat as you and might be able to offer some insight on how to find a better life balance.
- Alumni: Your college has an alumni network that would be honored to have a current student reach out and ask their advice—you may even find a mentor this way.