Did you know that many of the world’s most profitable businesses were started by college students? It’s true. For example, Bill Gates started Microsoft in his dorm room at Harvard and, while at Stanford, Google was founded as a computer science project by doctoral students.
While we’re not saying that every student entrepreneur will be the next Bill Gates, for anyone looking to earn a few extra bucks or start a business on a shoestring, college may well be the best place to do it. With that in mind, the success tips that we’ve put together below should help you greatly. Enjoy.
- Do something that you truly love. One of the main factors that all successful young entrepreneurs have in common is simply this; they love what they’re doing. Choosing a small business idea that allows you to do something you truly enjoy is thus an excellent idea.
- Know what you want from your small business. Is it simply a side project that makes you a few extra bucks or, if it begins to take off, is it something that you’d be willing to pursue while leaving school behind? If you’re able to answer this question you’ll find that making a decision when your business become successful will be much easier.
- Don’t follow the crowd. The fact is, during our late teens and early 20s most people are full of fresh and original thoughts and definitely full of energy. Creating a bizarre new business or doing something that’s never been done before was the recipe for many successful businesses and today, as always, can help an entrepreneur to be more successful and, in some cases, even become an industry leader.
- Follow the rules. Even though you may have a radical business idea, registering your business, keeping records and paying your taxes are still important. If you follow the rules now you’ll have far less legal and administrative problems later.
- Become an expert in managing your time. Listen, college can be stressful enough without having to deal with a side business. If you overwork yourself both your business and your studies will suffer. With that in mind, you need to be able to become an organizational wizard and use all available tools to help you use your time wisely. With all of the organization apps available on smart phones these days, that shouldn’t be a big problem.
- Take advantage of any school resources available. For example, if your campus has free computers and connection to the Internet you’ll save at least $50 or $60 a month just on that alone. Also, since you are surrounded by professors who, in most cases, will be happy to share their knowledge and experience with you, you’d be wise to take advantage of this experience. Indeed, in college you’re literally surrounded by valuable resources so do what you can to make the most of them.
- Finding a mentor can be quite valuable. A local entrepreneur, a professor that has expertise in your business or industry or anyone with knowledge and experience is good to have in your back pocket should you need their advice. These people already know and understand many of the risks and challenges that you will face and, because of this, can be an excellent sounding board for ideas as well as helping you find people that may be willing to invest in your new company.
- As much as you should take advantage of school resources you should also exploit online resources. The fact is, computers today are an immense source of information and, for the most part, it’s all free. Use that free info to get ahead in your new biz.
- Take care of your body physically and mentally. We mentioned above how important it is to be organized but the fact is that there will still be days where you feel overwhelmed and overworked. Make sure that it’s possible to step back from your work and have something relaxing to do so that you can let off steam and lower your stress levels. Meditation, bicycling, working out or taking some free dance lessons are all great ideas and there are certainly plenty more.
- Be confident and be diligent. One of the biggest hurdles in college is simply this; getting up off your keister and getting things done. You would be hard-pressed to find any successful business whose owner or founder did not work their tail off for at least a few years before the big bucks started rolling in. While your business may be small and you might only be using it to make a little extra spending money, any business worth doing is worth doing well.
At the end of the day the freedom that you have while in college is a freedom that you may never have again for the rest of your life. You’re not tied down by children, a mortgage or even a spouse and thus free to try out any business ideas that you might have. If you fail, you’ll learn from that failure but not pay for it for years to come.
If you have questions about starting a business or finances in general, please let us know and we’ll be sure to get back to you ASAP with answers and solutions.