If 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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