Evan Spiegel was only 22 when he dropped out of Stanford to begin working on Snapchat full time. Mark Zuckerberg left Harvard at 20 to work on Facebook fulltime in Palo Alto. The bottom line is that entrepreneurs are dipping their feet into the unknown of entrepreneurship as early as graduating high school. With that in mind, here are ten tips if you are thinking about transitioning your college side hustle into a full fledged business venture:
1. Establish and understand your network
Whether it’s a professor running a class that you can learn a lot from or the Director of Marketing for a startup four blocks away from your apartment, it is paramount that you understand the makeup of your network and who the most beneficial people are to maintain an open line of communication.
2. Prepare for a pitch with the same mental attitude as preparing for a big exam
Nowadays exams make up on average of 65% of your overall grade in a college course. During finals week, most campus libraries look like the Thunderdome with thousands of students posted up in cubicles and private rooms reviewing chapters and notecards for hours at a time. Your approach to an opportunity with a potential investor should be worked on with the same level of diligence in order to increase your chances of success. Don’t squander your chance to finance your vision by not developing a game plan far ahead of time.
3. Develop a weekly schedule
In the balancing act that comes with building your business, completing school work in a timely manner and making a feeble attempt at six hours of sleep a night – structure is king. Make sure your Monday-Friday is regimented in order to avoid any guessing games with the valuable free time you may have in between all of your responsibilities.
4. Stay positive
No one got anywhere wallowing and wondering if their concept will ever find success. Doubt must not just be put on the back burner, it must be forcibly removed from the stove all together.
5. Never be afraid to ask questions
If you have made an attempt at following your pursuits as an entrepreneur and you paid attention to rule #1 then you must be willing to ask for advice and information when you believe it will make you better.
6. Be first in order to beat the competition
My dad once told me, “If you’re five minutes early, you’re ten minutes late.” Allow this to be your life motto from this moment onward. It will take you far.
7. Seek advice from your professors
Like successful entrepreneurs, professors have a plethora of experience that you can take advantage of as long as you are willing to ask.
8. Never stray away from an opportunity to be innovative
Breaking the rules in the pursuit of a future opportunity to rewrite them all together is what aspiring entrepreneurs live for. Convince yourself that you will be okay when your innovations cause people to think you’re crazy…initially. Because without a little crazy, there is no innovation.
9. Take classes that will help you in your ventures, not for your own self interest
Avoid the fun and easy classes for the ones that you can garnish real world experience from. As tempting as it is to take a course on the history of rock and roll because attendance isn’t mandatory and you just need to take it pass/fail, it won’t get you any further in your quest to become proficient in HTML or comprehension on how to properly do SEO.
10. Keep your grades high
Regardless of what you’ve heard from friends, companies have recently been requesting copies of transcripts in order to see your academic standing in your program. Do not think just because you completed your degree means you are going to be able to lock in a career with your dream company or even meet with said dream company as an independent professional.
Do you have tips for college entrepreneurs? Share them with us: @StarterNoise
Image: “Inside a Harvard Business School classroom” by HBS1908 – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Inside_a_Harvard_Business_School_classroom.jpeg#/media/File:Inside_a_Harvard_Business_School_classroom.jpeg