Why You Should Be An Entrepreneur In College : Under30CEO Why You Should Be An Entrepreneur In College : Under30CEO
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Why You Should Be An Entrepreneur In College

| November 19, 2009 | 21 Comments

college photoIf your profession could be given a risk factor, ‘entrepreneurs‘ would probably fall on the high end of the chart. Because of the ‘risk’ involved in starting your own business with little guarantee of success, entrepreneurs risk all to gain all. With that said, college is one of the best times to start pursuing your dreams of being an entrepreneur. As an entrepreneur, you invest your time and money into an idea that you hope will become the next Facebook or YouTube. The big advantage that a college entrepreneur has, is that most have little money and have extra time to invest.

Not Having Money Isn’t A Bad Thing

As mentioned, to start out with, most college students don’t have extra income lying around to start their own company. While some may look at this as a disadvantage, I would say that this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. College students can be extremely resourceful and given an idea, college students will find a way to make it happen even with limited resources. A great example of this is Jessica Mah who was able to successfully start her own business during college for under $500.00 and get featured on TechCrunch.

During my 2nd year of college, I decided to start an online dropshipping business with my college roommates. With less than $800.00 between us to start out with, we set out without any fear of failure. Looking back, I believe that this is a huge part in why I would stress those that have the entrepreneurial itch to start during college. Aside from worrying about homework and tests, starting a business for a college student is more of a hobby than a full-time job.

A College Students Priorities

For most, studying and passing their classes is the number one priority. Aside from that, free time is spent hanging with friends, partying and enjoying new found freedom. If you substitute some of the free time you have by starting your own business, it becomes less of a job and more of a hobby that can generate revenue. When you graduate from college, that is when people expect to start seeing results. People assume that the time to ‘figure things out’ is over and that you should know what you are doing. While there is nothing wrong with still trying to figure things out after college, it is far more productive to start during.

In a recent study done by the NASPA, the average college student studies an average of 8.4 hours a week. If the average student is in class for 15 hours a week and also studies 8.4 hours as well, that means that out of a possible 168 hours, they are spending about 24 of those studying or in class. If we break it down even further and say that the average student sleeps a modest 7 hours a day, they still have 95 hours during the week for other activities.

As mentioned, a college student’s main priority is to prepare themselves for their career and also to put themselves in a position to be successful. According to College Board, the average cost for books alone in college is $1,122.00 per school year. If you start with half of what you would spend on books and the ‘extra’ time you have, imagine that starting your own company is an extra class at school.

How I Started A Business In College

When my friends and I decided to start our own business, we saw how other people were making money via sites like eBay and we thought that it would be fun to start our own. After we decided that we would invest $800.00, we spent the next month researching what products would be the most profitable, and in our case, the most affordable. Eventually, we settled on selling electronics through a dropshipping format. After a couple months of getting the logistics and the suppliers in order, we were able to create a profitable business where we were bringing in over $3,000 in profit a month. Unfortunately, the business went south due to some bad business choices, but we had gotten our first taste of the business world and had taken our first steps toward being entrepreneurs.

If you look at the definition of an entrepreneur, you will find that one of the most reoccurring words used to define it is the word “risk.” If college is a place for us to begin our next steps to success then I believe that Bill Cosby said it best:

“In order to succeed, your desire for success should be greater than your fear of failure.”

If starting your own business and being an entrepreneur is something you are interested in, then college can be an excellent place to start. College isn’t only about being able to get all straight A’s or being able to explain what transmission mechanism is, it’s also about giving you the opportunity to find what you are good at and most importantly to find out what you are passionate about.

Joseph Yi is currently working at Viralogy as the Director of Marketing where he works on Social Media Consulting with a specialization in sports.

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Category: Startup Advice

  • arinehartdc

    Awesome article…A college degree is becoming worth less and less at the same time people are saying it's needed more and more. Let's think about it. If you're vying for a business loan, where does a lot of that money get accounted for?…living expenses. With student loans you get tax-friendly money at a pretty good interest rate, you have housing you have 100's 1000's of people to collaborate with. You also have great mentors in your professors who get paid to help you. You can often skip class without being docked for attendance and with grade inflation you can do very little and still do pretty well in school….you can also learn about things that you might not have time to go back to when you're in the grind of everyday business. I try and get my colleagues to think ahead to business skills but so many are in a rule-taking (vs. rule-giving) frame of mind that they're just destined to get taken advantage of in future careers, not to mention they become handicapped by acquiring very little real-world skills and at least 20,000 in debt ($165,000 if you're me and have a bachelor's, master's and getting ready to finish a Doctorate) I've spent my last 2.5 years studying 100's of books, reading 1000's of articles like this, getting my 10,000 hours while not depending on my work to pay all of my bills.

  • http://www.facebook.com/atkuebler Adam Kuebler

    College is the best time to start a business. arinehardc had some really good points on top of that already put forward in the article. But one thing on top of it all that I have found from starting a business in college is that even if it fails, and even if there isn't another business you can't start, and you have to go get a “real” job, you resume will look 10x better than the person next to you. The amount you learn is amazing! Plus, what you learn in business class will actually make sense because you have something to apply it to. All around, I highly encourage everyone to to start a business in college.

  • http://under30ceo.com MattWilsontv

    My best advice: get involved with the Collegiate Entrepreneurs' Organization. http://c-e-o.org

  • http://Under30CEO.com Jared O'Toole

    College is such a great time to start a business. You have so little in terms of responsibilities compared to what lays down the road. You also have so many resources at hand in terms of professors, alumni, school resources, creative minds around you, cheap college help in town…the list goes on!

  • http://cameronplommer.wordpress.com/ Cameron Plommer

    Wish I would have read this when I wasn't two weeks away from graduation. Your post puts a lot of energy and motivation in me. I might have used it when I still had time in college. I guess its not too late though I suppose.

  • http://cameronplommer.wordpress.com/ Cameron Plommer

    I think the main problem and why more college students do not start their own businesses is the small details of finance, technology and working with others. There are many good ideas but I think most students do not possess an entrepreneurial mind. Plus universities do not foster entrepreneurial thinking. A practical guide to starting a company would be a great asset to students wishing to start a company. Anybody know of one? I know the benefits of starting a company at a young age, but a guide or how-to could break barriers to entry.

  • http://twitter.com/TheMarleyHughes Marley

    As a college student I couldn't agree more with this post. I am working on my first business as I enter my 3rd year in college.

    Check out my blog post on the importance of MOMENTUM… http://wp.me/pIpTo-R … if you start building your momentum early it can only grow stronger as you age.

  • http://Under30CEO.com Jared O'Toole

    Its never to late! Even if college is ending you can always start your own business. Even if you are a recent graduate and starting a business you are light years ahead of most people and the experience will be tremendous.

  • http://Under30CEO.com Jared O'Toole

    Agreed Marley momentum is huge. Once you start things you find that eventually the ball just starts rolling. More things start popping up and each new business makes strides faster and faster.

  • http://www.globalenergytomorrow.com/ Kyle Stout

    This post inspired me to start a blog of my own, something I've wanted to do for a while. Thank you!

  • http://Under30CEO.com Jared O'Toole

    Awesome glad to hear it! Best thing to do is just get it up and running. Were always here to help out also so let us know if you have any questions.

  • Pingback: Why You Should Be An Entrepreneur In College « U in the USA

  • http://www.tinyurl.com/girlsceo Sylvia Scott

    Starting a business in college is a great idea for many more reasons especially for females. First of all, as a female you will learn to work as a team which most females normally don't have in their experiences. Teamwork meaning you continually work together and not walk away. The other side of it, if for some reason there is a time the team splits because of graduation and one person wants to continue, it is easier to bounce back as a young person than if you are 40 to 50 years old and have a lot of financial and personal responsibilities. I've seen it happen. As a college student is is much easier to bounce back. I want to see more females step out and put their entrepreneurial spirit to work.

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  • http://www.mymillioncompany.com/ My Million Company

    Thank you for the post. We also found a way to tray to raise funds to make our entrepreneurship. You can visit our website to see how we have done http://mymillioncompany.com

    See you

  • http://twitter.com/getajobbyjob NextStep CareerCoach


  • http://twitter.com/getajobbyjob NextStep CareerCoach

    A case for entrepreneurialism in college students. Good, short article from under-30 CEO: http://ow.ly/14PXK

  • http://twitter.com/youthseeksjob NextStep CareerCoach


  • http://twitter.com/youthseeksjob NextStep CareerCoach

    A case for entrepreneurialism in college students. Good, short article from under-30 CEO: http://ow.ly/14PXK

  • http://www.discountbuyonline.com/ Discount buy online

    A college campus can be the perfect place to start a business. Students have a lot of time, mentors available, free/cheap and enthusiastic people willing to help, a lot of contact with a relatively large potential client base to name a few of the advantages IMO

  • http://www.vivianchenhotels.com Vivian Chen

    Why you should be an entrepreneur in college. The reason is straightforward. If you know entrepreneurship is for you, you should start something in college, or as early as possible. It will save a lot of time after college. You will wish you had started earlier. I certainly wish I had not waited until the last year of college to finally take action and build my companies. You will realize how much time you have wasted by not taking the plunge. You will think about all the things you could have done earlier, so you could go on and be in that next stage of being an entrepreneur.