“I want to become an entrepreneur”, will obviously be one of the answers from students when I ask “What do you want to become?” or “What is your dream?”. But most of them will not have any idea on what it takes to become an entrepreneur.
The biggest advantage of being a Student Entrepreneur is that, you have no family commitments, no kids, no mortgage and no salary to be paid. All you have is good amount of time, great energy and enthusiastic friends who can work with you. Your parents are not much worried about what you do, your income, your career etc because for them and for the society around, you are still a student.
In spite of all these advantages, we aren’t seeing many entrepreneurs in colleges and universities. Lack of systematic guidance and education on taking that first step is what is missing in our academic system. Starting a venture when you are in college is the best and easiest way to identify what are your strengths, what are you good at and what works and what not.
Here are some important tips on – how to become a student entrepreneur?
1. Take that first step:
Never think twice to pursue an idea you have, just go ahead. Students with some brilliant ideas and innovative thoughts, fail because they don’t have the courage to take that first step. Have a great belief on your own idea and get going. Only if you start, you will find various means and ways of pursuing it, get to meet people who could help you in going forward. Only if you start, you will know if your idea is really worth pursuing it or not. Only if you start, you will know if you are capable of starting a venture or not. Just take that first step.
2. Be Passionate:
Be greatly passionate about your idea. Great companies like Apple, Google, Facebook were all started in a small way by student entrepreneurs, which has grown into big corporations. If you closely analyse them, one thing that is common in them is the profound passion of it’s founders about the core idea or concept no matter what happens. Have strong affection and keep your ideas close to your heart. Have that contagious passion of what you are doing.
3. Get ready to sacrifice:
You may not be able to attend friend’s party, family gathering, watch a block buster, spend time for a cricket or football match. Because you will be actively working on your idea which is truly your great passion. Get ready to sacrifice some of the small pleasures of life, be willing to use your maximum possible time, energy and efforts in building your start up.
“If you are courageous enough to risk your own careers, reputations, and financial security to improve the world for everyone, then you are an Entrepreneur.”
3. Use all possible resources available for you:
College is an exciting place with lots of free resources available at your disposal. You could use the laboratories, hardware tools, software packages at fully free of cost or at greatly subsidised price which a full time entrepreneur would not get. You have computers, internet services, library support, and more than that you have a big pool of resources with you who are other fellow students. Make the most out of all this available resources for the best use of your start up.
Government and various other agencies provide cheaper loans to students who are starting their start ups. Look for University grants, investors who are interested in your ideas, big companies who wants to sponsor your idea and funds if available in your own college. Participate in innovation contests, business plan contests, seminars and conferences.
4. Build a good network:
Entrepreneur is a person for whom having a good network of people is of utmost importance. Talk to everyone you meet about your idea, your passion and your start up. Who knows your partner or your investor or your customer or your mentor could be hiding within anyone you meet. Show some of your prototypes, sample results, demonstrate what you’ve done till now. This would greatly build confidence in the other person, that you are not just a talker but also a doer.
Join an entrepreneurs club or group, that would connect you with other entrepreneurs who could be of great help in your journey.
5. Ask for help:
One of the most wonderful part of starting in college is people are greatly excited to see young students doing something different. You could ask for help from anyone and everyone and most probably you will get a positive response. Seek support from your faculty members and your seniors who are already into start ups or working in big corporates. Never hesitate to ask, remember “Ask, it will be given”.
6. Be open to learn new things:
Journey of entrepreneurship is filled with so many learnings. Some in easy ways and most of them would be tough lessons learnt out of difficult experiences and challenges. Have an open mind to accept both appreciations and apprehensions.
Being a Student Entrepreneur or a Campus CEO adds lots of value and it becomes a fascinating addition to your resume if at all you had to go for a job search. (anyway, which you might not after all the above)
As a student if you’ve an idea, go out and try. Even if you fail, your learnings along the way would surely be of help