Startups

How to Run a Startup While Being a Student

studentThis guest column is by educational blogger, Luisa Brenton

There are a lot of reasons why you shouldn’t start a business when you’re a student. In truth, however, there are always a lot of reasons not to start a business. First and foremost there’s the one about nine in ten new businesses failing. The thing is, if you are going to focus on the negative then you’re probably never going to start a business anyway. All the signs say that it’s far riskier than accepting a job at a company.

And if you manage to do manage to focus on the other side of the equation; you’ll realize there are a lot of reasons why the university is exactly the place to start your business. What’s more, there are plenty of tools and resources available to help you on your way.

You have the resources, so use them

Universities are filled with tons of resources that you can use for your business. These go from labs, writing services, and research institutes, to the hyper-fast internet connection, to prizes for startups that do well, to professors chock full of knowledge who’d love to advise you.

So go ask questions, get advice and use equipment available.

If you find a professor who is particularly helpful (And who doesn’t feel the need to lord it over you) you can even pull them into your business in an advisory role. There they can give you much needed expertise and answers to questions on the one hand and your company a great deal more weight and authority to the outside world on the other.

Free support

A university is a bit like a clan, with people feeling a natural connection with each other simply because they’ve got the same logo on their sweatshirt. That’s an incredible resource. It means that you’ve got people who can help you, advice you and push your product for you across their friends and family for free.

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So use that! Create connections with likeminded individuals and use them to boost your ideas out into the world. You see, you might not have money, but you’ve got plenty of the things that you normally have to spend money on for free.

Incubators

In fact, some universities are specifically set up to house startups. They have incubators that can help you accelerate your startup’s launch. They’ve got funds and loans available to support you and they’ve got competitions that you can take part in to get even more seed money.

Of course, not all universities are the best in this regard. If you still can, make sure you find the right college for you. If it’s too late for that and your university doesn’t have these things, start looking at nearby universities that might be able to help you in that regard. Heck, if they think your project is interesting enough there might even be the possibility to switch over (and up).

You can focus on you

In university, you don’t yet have that many commitments and obligations. No really, you don’t. Wait till you hit the ‘real’ world. You might think it’s easier that university with all its classes and studying, but in truth, it’s often far more work and far more demanding.

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So in that way, it’s the perfect time for a startup. Ignore your friends, ignore your family, ignore your diet and focus on getting your startup off the ground.

The price of failure is much lower

As you get older, each failure becomes more of a problem, as there is constantly less time left to get it right. When you’re in university, however, there are still oceans of time left to fail dozens of times more.

That means that the price of failure in university is negligible. So don’t be afraid to fail. Instead, jump in with both legs, as what you’ll learn and how you’ll improve yourself from trying to start a startup will almost certainly outweigh the cost of failure.

That’s not to say you’ll fail. You might succeed in which case you’ll get the best of both worlds. It’s just that if you do fail, it doesn’t really matter. You can proudly tell people (and future employers) that you tried and it will be a definite tick on the positive side of the spreadsheet.

Last thoughts

If you really think about it, there is no better time to start your first startup than in university. Sure, your financial resources might be smaller, but that’s hardly the only resource out there. And in terms of everything else, you’ve got a huge amount of advantages.

So don’t worry about what everybody says. Instead, embrace this time to try building a startup. For even if it fails the lessons will be invaluable.

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