Introduction to Successful Entrepreneur
Increasing numbers of students are setting up their own businesses during their college years, instead of waiting it out until graduation.
It’s hardly surprising, given that some of the most famous CEOs got their big ideas while in college – look at Insomnia Cookies’ Steve Berkowitz, Mark Zuckerberg, or even Michael Dell of Dell Computers.
While the prospect of balancing college load with entrepreneurial dreams may deter some students from pursuing their passion, know that college is one of the best times to nurture that entrepreneurial spirit.
School can actually help define and influence your career goals in a number of ways. If you are looking to taste entrepreneurship while still in college, here are a few ways to blossom your business while becoming a more astute individual.
Figure Out If you Are Cut Out for Entrepreneurship
First things first, you need to understand what entrepreneurship entails before you take a dive. Know that entrepreneurs need to be capable of coming up with innovative ideas and see them all the way through.
They kick-start a project, overcome all the roadblocks along the way, and get it finished successfully with the same enthusiasm, stamina, and commitment.
Entrepreneurs are by nature willing to take calculated risks, are resilient and strong-willed enough to handle stress and cope with setbacks, and are innate problem-solvers who can see the silver lining in every challenge.
On the other hand, if you are someone who gets overwhelmed by stress, need the praise of others to believe in yourself, or are prone to working within a pre-defined framework, being an entrepreneur may not be for you.
Also, be sure not to take a leap into entrepreneurship if you are used to a predictable, stress-free life if you struggle to come up with authentic ideas if you can’t think out-of-the-box, if the prospect of hard working routine fills you up with dread, or if you cannot afford any kind of financial uncertainty.
Choose a University with a Good Entrepreneurial Track Record
Some colleges and universities are highly supportive of their student entrepreneurs and go the extra mile to provide them with opportunities for success.
If being an entrepreneur is your dream, check to see if students of that college have launched any businesses, research projects, or social initiatives or if the school is providing its students with the training, resources, and skills that they need in order to be successful, productive, and decisive entrepreneurs.
Secondly, the degree program you are pursuing should ideally focus on cultivating entrepreneurial skills and encouraging students to pursue innovative ideas.
Entrepreneurship courses teach you a great deal about designing, managing, and implementing your project, as well as, drill you in the basics of business management, which you can then apply to your startup.
Talk to the students of a potential school to get their two cents on how the university supports its student entrepreneurs.
Tap into University Resources
Some colleges and universities offer several free resources that can come quite in handy when you are starting your business.
For instance, Copy and print services, library materials, online resources, free wifi, and access to different software can help you progress your business interests.
Some colleges let their student-preneurs book conference rooms for meeting space or collaborate with student bodies for free promotional materials.
Tap into your university resources and networks to meet up with experts who can give you valuable insight into the world of finance, marketing, strategy, and startup law.
Enter an Internship Program
Another way to gain some experience in the day-to-day running of a business is to enter an internship program through your college.
Large companies simply put out internship offers for able college students. Internships allow you to hone your skills in the real world, and get feedback from others.
Be sure to jump on any such opportunity in order to gain experience and maximize your chances of jumping into entrepreneurship later.
Instead of waiting till after graduation to get a job and save up for your business, the money you earn during the internship program can go towards funding your business idea right away.
Find Funding Options
You will need lots of funding in the initial stages of your business, so college is one of the best places to find funding sources for your startup.
Chances are that your finance and scholarship offices can help you secure fellowships, financial grants, and loans that would help you fuel your business idea.
Having an email address ending with “.edu” is an added perk since student entrepreneurs can leverage plenty of funding options.
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Crowdsourcing is also an amazing funding option, where you can connect with hundreds of investors and businesses to generate revenue for your business or even create a crowdsourcing event on campus.
While you’re still in college, tap into your school community to promote your business or product, and get the word out.
Find a mentor
Tap into your university’s vast network to meet seasoned professionals and expand upon ideas. One of the biggest benefits of attending a college with influential contacts is that you can easily find an able mentor who can guide you along the way, offer sage advice, and look for opportunities to help you connect with businesses, or teach you important entrepreneurial skills from their own life experiences. Your mentor can even introduce you to local business development offices or experts in the field.