You might think that when you’re a student you’re in a terrible position to launch a startup. You’d be wrong. You see, though there are certainly some things that are against you – for example, you might be poor, you might not feel you know enough and people most not take you seriously – you are also in a position of great advantage.
If you start a company later in life you might have far more serious financial obligations, you can’t afford to spend a huge chunk of your time developing something as your family expects you home for dinner and you’ll have lost some of that oomph that most of us have earlier in life.
What’s more, when you’re in college, you’ve got a huge number of opportunities that you’ll never have again. What are they? I’m glad you asked.
Access to Experts
The first thing most universities have more of per square mile than anybody else is experts. And these aren’t just people that say they’re experts. These are people who have survived the harsh world of ‘publish or perish’ to keep their job and stay in academia.That means that they know their stuff – or at least their theories. Since many students lack theoretical knowledge, having access to their professional insights is very valuable. Even better, most professors will gladly give you some advice for free while other startup CEOs have to pay a lot of money for these tips.
Even better, a lot of professors are looking for opportunities to get involved in the private sector – be it to have access to research subjects, get hands on experience or because of some other reason. That means you might just find a professor to rope into your new scheme. That means free advice, free access to their network and the free authority that having their name on your team implies.
Now that’s valuable!
A Market for Your Product
Do you know how much many companies struggle to get access to any kind of market? They spend a huge chunk of their income on reaching their customers. Yet, here you are, at a university full of potential customers who frequently interact and mostly have the same needs. If you can manage to make use of that, then you’ll be in a fantastic position.
The best way to take advantage of that network is to understand that the best companies try to fulfill a need that the founders actually have themselves. The reason this works so well is that because these have the need and understand it. What is more, they also understand other people who have that need, meaning that they can speak to them directly and honestly. That sidesteps a huge number of problems that many new companies have in reaching out to their audience. That also means that you can have a big audience even though you don’t actually have a huge amount of money to spend on a marketing budget.
Studying Doesn’t Take up as Much Time as a Job Does
You may think studying is a time-consuming process, but wait until you’ve got a full-time job and a boss who thinks it’s perfectly okay to message you at 10 at night asking to write up a draft of an email for the next morning.
Seriously, studying might seem like it’s hard work, but often it isn’t close to as bad as what is demanded from you beyond the ivory tower. What’s more, there are tons of ways to make your work easier. You can work in groups, get advice from people one or two years up, find out what courses are easy and which aren’t, as well as ask for help outside, someone like getacademichelp.
In these ways, you can free up more time so that you can actually get that startup off the ground and really humming along before your university days are over.
One word: Incubators
It used to be a place where you could put an egg and hope for a chicken. Nowadays it’s a whole lot more. It’s where you can put your new startup and watch it grow into something truly magnificent. The best parts? Lots of universities have incubators, accelerators and the funds to support them (Don’t believe me? Here’s a list).
Often universities will give out loans to startups that they think are particularly interesting and offer them string-free loans that the companies don’t even have to pay back if they go under! Yes, that’s right, startup capital that you don’t have to pay back if your company doesn’t make it.
You Can Be Self-Absorbed and Nobody Will Mind
When students get completely involved in some project to the exclusion of almost anything else, society applauds them. When people later in their lives do that, they’re called uncaring, detached or bad parents for not feeding their kids for over a week.
That’s an important difference when you’re starting a new company. After all, quite often you’ll have to invest serious time and effort if you actually want to succeed. That’s only possible if you’ve only got that time to invest.
So go on, be selfish. Focus on making your company a huge success. You’ve always got the rest of your life after you’ve become a huge success to give back, so you don’t have to feel at all guilty about it.
Fail Your Way to Success
And finally, the best part of being in university is that though you might fail, that doesn’t mean anything (well, except that you don’t have your business anymore, that’s not anything, but it’s not everything). Almost all of the big entrepreneurs and idea creators failed a couple of times before they succeeded. They tried this, learned from it, then tried something different. They failed their way to success.
If you want to follow this path of failing your way to success, you should start early. That way, you’ll start collecting the information and the knowledge you need right from the get go and you’ll be successful long before your hair starts to turn gray.
Your business might succeed, or it might not. It’s true that a lot of businesses do fail, but don’t ever let that stop you. Failing at something doesn’t make you a failure. Instead, it makes you a person with invaluable understanding and skills that other people who’ve always been afraid to fail will never have.
In fact, when many investors are looking for people to invest in, they look for people with a record that shows that they understand what it means to fail and what it means to succeed. They’re far more interested in somebody with that experience than somebody who is fresh off the boat and doesn’t have a clue about how these things work.
In other words, go for it. Start that business, invest in that idea. There is no better time than the present and few of us ever get what we want by waiting for somebody to hand it to you.