Students all around the world — you may have already found something you care about. You may have found something you want to do. Maybe the desire to build projects, to start something from scratch. Or any other reason to start an entrepreneurial journey.
Let me tell you why you should not wait and become an entrepreneur.
“Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.”
Why wait? In this day and age it has never been easier to found a startup or a personal project. You hear stories everyday, about students changing -or trying to change- the world they live in. Changing the rules, disrupting the market, that are things you are also able to do.
I am not saying that it is easy to get rich or to write yourself a success story. But, if you want to give a try to student entrepreneurship, then do it. You will live and invaluable experience and gain professional and personal experience. Understand this opportunity of becoming an entrepreneur in our generation, do not find excuses.
Know your unfair advantages
You may believe me or not, but being a college student is not a hurdle. Studying while starting a startup it is a strength. These are the 4 best assets of a young entrepreneur:
1. You know how to learn
This is probably something that people often underestimate. As a student, you know how to learn new things very quickly since you do this everyday. And that can help you closing the skills gap.
Moreover, all the materials you may need are available thanks to something called the internet. You do not know how to build a website or a business plan? Then you have to try and learn!
2. You are young
You have the power of youth, and you are capable of thinking outside the box! You can be innovative. You are capable of thinking about future problems and new solutions. You do not know what is impossible, and that allows you to achieve almost anything.
“They did not know it was impossible so they did it”
3. You are free
Of course there are exceptions, but most of the time students have free time to spend. What could you achieve with this amount of time? You are also free to move from one place to another. You can meet new people, grow new networks, or choose where you want to live and work after graduation.
4. People have no expectations
Somehow sad but often true, people don’t expect much more from you than “studying”. So do not hesitate. Start a startup, start a company, earn money -or don’t-, give your best. And if you fail, NOBODY will blame or judge you. Usually people are impressed of what you are trying to accomplish. And you might end up finding a better job, even in case of a failure.
Our World is a Challenge
There are still a lot of global issues today, and many problems are waiting for a solution. Even the primary needs for water, food, health, are serious challenges. There is also so much to improve in education, transport, security, access to the internet… I am not saying that you have to face these problems directly (your main goal could be anything else). But entrepreneurs have an strong impact on the world whatever their doing, because they are solving real problems.
We are discovering new ways of doing things everyday, and you can be part of the revolution. Use science and technology to build something that matters. For your inspiration, you should check the Google Science Fair to see amazing projects from students every year.
Don’t get the Wrong Idea
I am reading more articles aiming at discouraging the students from building a startup. They write that the reality behind the hype is more complicated. That is true, entrepreneurship requires tears and blood. The success rate is very small, even if you only hear stories about the success and not the failures. Since you are a student, few people will believe in your skills. You will be surrounded by pessimism and skepticism. Your network is smaller. Your resources are nonexistent, and you are inexperienced.
But behind hype, there is also hope and so much to learn. Do it if you have the motivation. If you intend to drop school in order to found a startup, it is another matter of consideration.
Your Next Milestones
If you are motivated, here are some recommended starting points and materials.
Read & Boost your Inspiration
Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg read a lot (you can even find their reading lists here and here). Reading is one of the best way to improve your motivation and to get inspired. Here are two must-read testimonials that you should definitely have read.
Delivering Happiness — Tony Hsieh
This is probably the most inspiring testimonial about building something that matters. From someone who sold shoes.
How to Win Friends & Influence People — Dale Carnegie
Learn about the human nature. This is the greatest best-seller of all people-skills books. It can definitely change your life and the way you interact with people.
Learn, Forge your Skills & Mindset
These are interesting links to raise your entrepreneur skills and to put you in the right mindset.
This French accelerator has a series of 12 chapters on their homepage that tell you only the truth about building ambitious startups (in Europe).
How to Start a Startup (Stanford University)
This series of video from Stanford University will teach you everything you need to know about startups from scratch. It is only in 20 lectures, totally worth-it.
One on the best MOOC providers to learn everything skill you need very quickly.
Meet people, Find friends & Co-Founders
Do not stay alone. Try to meet entrepreneurs near you and learn from them. Everything starts by knowing your ecosystem. Check if there are startup events, meetups, or associations that you could join. Know the weakness and strengths of your environment.
The best way to bring one idea or motivation to the next step is to share it with people. Take part to a “Startup Weekend” for instance, meet mentors, and maybe people you would like to work with!
Dream big. Work hard.
To put it all in a nutshell, DO NOT underestimate yourself and believe in your potential as a student.
If you are thinking about starting your own project, then do yourself a favor — just do it. As a student, act like a pro, and learn and work harder. You have nothing to loose, but so much to learn. And maybe you will be the next world inspiring leader.