Listen to this article now
When hearing the words “college life”, images of rowdy parties, waking up at 1pm, long walks to classes, uncomfortably small rooms, and questionable dining hall food dance along the imagination. While all those aspects of college are the elements to a great story told in the later years, many dreamers forget that college is also the ideal time to dive headfirst into the depths of your vast career. From Facebook to Insomnia Cookies, the best businesses begin as dorm-room startups. Ready to jump in? Here are 10 reasons why you should start a business in college.
1) You have a plethora of resources at hand
The unfortunate truth is that many college students, not just business majors, tend to overlook the expansive number of resources available to them. Campus resources are widely available to all students. Meeting rooms, myriads of library books, financial/legal advice, copy and print services, organizations, programs, and so many more. For example, the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign Gies College of Business offers “Origin Ventures Academy for Entrepreneurial Leadership”, just one example of thousands. After all, you’re paying thousands of dollars, so why not get your money’s worth?
2) You have access to some of the most accredited minds in the industry
The professor of ECON 410 or the professor of BUSI 209 know what they’re talking about—after all, they didn’t go through 6+ years of education for nothing. Furthermore, a lot of professors are entrepreneurs themselves who decided to take up teaching. Instructors are walking encyclopedias of the business world. Simply visit their office hours and you have the potential to absorb critical information and establish solid connections.
3) Looks wonderful on a resumé
It is always a solid idea to have some extracurricular activity outside of the classroom. So, imagine what a big-time CEO would think if your resumé stated that you started a business in undergrad. Even if it does not work out, you’d surely catch the eyes of any employer you wish to work for.
4) In an environment with hundreds of like-minded people, you could find other students to work with you
You’re not the only kid on campus looking to find their way. Hiring your classmates as your first cofounders or employees will endow you with your most loyal and hardworking companions early on. You will establish a solid foundation for the years ahead to be built on.
5) Trial and error with inexpensive customers
The college I go to has 56,000 undergrad students. If I were to start a business, that’s 56,000 potential customers to test and share feedback on and with. Furthermore, if a poor ramen noodle-fueled student is willing to pay for your product, you’ll know you made it.
Referring to point #1, you have an endless number of free resources all around you that in the real world, you would have to pay for. Free office spaces, WIFI, books, mentors, discounts for students and so many more. Unlike post-graduation, you won’t have to pay for these resources as soon as you use them.
7) You have more time to start a business in college than you will in the real world
Of course, you’ll be busy with schoolwork, jobs, clubs, internships and a social life. However, imagine trying to start a business while juggling a full-time job, family obligations, a mortgage, a car payment and all other aspects of adulting. It would be next to impossible, wouldn’t it? In college, you have more time to dedicate to yourself and your passions, so why not invest it in a business?
8) If it works, congrats, you’re way ahead of your peers!
While some of your peers may drown themselves in regret over their degree choice or struggle to find a job right after graduation, you would already be set with a booming self-started business. Long gone are the days of Indeed applications.
9) You could take the wheel over your career
Forget always having a boss above you control your career, you are the boss. If you stick with keeping your business up, you’ll avoid the dreaded 9-5 and have control over the direction of your life. Obviously, it will be a bit intimidating at such a young age, so be prepared.
10 )Low risk #yolo
In the real world, the stakes for a flopping business are much higher. After graduating, financial, family, time, and other adult obligations are hanging on the strings sewing together stability and could come undone at the smallest mistake. When you’re in college, such obligations are far less risky to lose. If the business fails, it’s alright! You have plenty to fall back on and tons of chances to start over. The takeaway is the valuable learning experiences and the resumé booster.
The business world is a labyrinth of trial and error. If you can gather enough willpower and tenacity to start a business in college, you’re almost guaranteed to have a fulfilling career; rather the startup makes it or not. While starting a business in college is no easy feat, your dedication may just pay off. Are you ready to dive into the water?
Do you know of any businesses (besides the well-known) that started in college? Let us know in the comments!
This article originally published on GREY Journal.