There’s no better time than college to start a business because in most cases it’s the time in our life that we have most time and energy to ourselves and the decision of what to focus on is mostly ours. You’re old enough to apply for a credit card without help, but you’re still young enough that you have nothing to lose and everything to gain.
In college, having a side business that brings in even just a few hundred shillings a week is pretty cool. In college, failing in business gives you an interesting story to tell. It also exposes you to more real-life situations, and it can even take you further to discovering more about yourself and unlock your own potentials.
- People won’t take you seriously, but that’s ok
Unless you’re Mark Zuckerberg, most people won’t take you seriously if you want to be an entrepreneur in college. You’ll get a lot of “that’s a cool project, but why trouble yourself with all these busy schedules?” Most people don’t realize that that most work such as college works will extend themselves to fit the time you are allowing it to occupy. Ever noticed that a one-month duration work will take one month to complete and a one-week work will take one week even if these two works have the same weight, this is how most work operates.
Start getting used to people not taking your business seriously. Start getting used to shrugging it off, because it doesn’t get any easier but people will take you more serious with you as they start seeing your progress. The fact that they don’t take you seriously should encourage to do more and attain more.
Entrepreneurs just don’t fit the conventional narrative. Be humble and open to different perspectives, but if the person giving you life advice isn’t doing what you want to be doing, then maybe their advice isn’t right for you.
- You don’t need permission to learn
Our education system conditions students to believe that if it’s not on the exam, it’s not worth learning. We learn that the degree we graduate with determines what we get to “be” when we “grow up”. As a result, when most of us encounter a situation that tests the boundaries of our knowledge, we step back from the edge and run away.
As an entrepreneur there were so many times you will be facing business problems that you won’t know how to solve, and way too often you will have to accepted that it is something you don’t know. And this sets itself as an opportunity for you to learn real life situations and improve yourself as an entrepreneur
As an entrepreneur, you can’t wait for permission to learn. You can’t wait for the right credentials. When you run into a problem you don’t know how to solve – the fact that you don’t have credentials or haven’t taken the right classes shouldn’t even cross your mind.
You don’t need a teacher or a textbook to slowly spoon-feed you one semester at a time. If Elon Musk can teach himself rocket science by reading booksthe very least you can do is figure out how to drive traffic and get customers for your business. Keep learning while you work on your business and before you know it, you’ll actually know a lot.
- The skills you use to win in college are not the skills that help you win in business
A lot of very respected business thinkers Peter Thiel for instance, make convincing arguments that post-secondary education is fundamentally broken, especially if you want to be an entrepreneur.
In college, achievement depends on your ability to follow success criteria laid out by someone else (lectures). This involves a lot of rote learning through cramming, copying and memorizing. College trains you to be the best at being told what to do and repeating back information. The problem is that in business, no one will tell you what to do. Waiting for someone to tell you what to do is a roadmap for going nowhere.
College trains you to think that being busy and doing tedious work is good. You’ve been trained to see progress as something that is achieved linearly, based on someone else’s timetable.
But if you’re an entrepreneur, being busy is not the same as being productive. If you’re an entrepreneur and find yourself doing repetitive tasks, it’s a sign that you need to systemize the work and hire someone or delegate some work. If you’re an entrepreneur and your business doesn’t have the potential to grow exponentially, then you might need to rethink your business model.
- You should delegate as soon as possible
This point should be obvious, but one of the big reasons most business imploded is that most people insist on doing all the work by themselves. Eventually, you get overwhelmed by a combination of final exams and a massive amount of orders or activities. Since you have no one to help you, this results in a huge backlog and many angry customers or even losing your customers in the long run.
In hindsight, there is never a better time to start hiring or looking for people to assist you with some works. College gives you a huge network of labor you can tap into for cheap, though the downside is that your workforce might disappear during exams and holiday break. But this shouldn’t stop you from delegating some responsibilities, and you can later realize that there are people who can do the same work better how you and so you can also learn from them.
There’s never been a better time to be a college entrepreneur
There has never been a better time to be a college entrepreneur. Even though there was a ton of opportunity in the early days of our college life that also isn’t sufficient to be the right timing. The key is to just start and trust your instincts and things will only get easier as you move.
You don’t need to configure servers or beg the bank for a credit card merchant account. You don’t need to know any HTML. Social media has democratized content distribution and has made everything handy and marketing easier. There are websites, podcasts, and courses that will teach you virtually any digital marketing skill you would want to acquire. E-commerce stores, blogs, and payment processing can be setup on 3rd party platforms with just a few clicks.
Best of all, people are comfortable buying things online these days as compared to the old days when most people didn’t trust the internet, this means that the market is ready for you when you are ready.
If you’re in college and running a business (or thinking of starting one), you’ve got an exciting journey ahead of you. Sure, you will make mistakes and fail along the way, but that’s ok. You would rather fail now than later.