3rd year International Relations and Anthropology student at Brown University…
If your parents are anything like mine, then they probably discouraged you to start your business whilst in school so that you can focus on your studies. However, starting a business at a young age can actually be very rewarding. You learn a lot very quickly, and there’s the added bonus of earning some money.
Here are some tips on how to balance being a student entrepreneur:
- You need to have superior time management skills: If you are not good at time management you will not be able to balance both your assignments, exams and your business venture. You have to plan ahead of time. Make sure you schedule time to study as well as for meetings and interacting with clients.
- You have to have your priorities in check: What goals do you have for yourself? If your goals are to get all A’s in your courses, then you know you may have to put in more time and effort into that aspect of your life. If you want to grow your business to have more sales, then you might have to put in more effort there. You have to determine for yourself what is the most important whilst also bearing in mind the implications of that decision.
- Realize that you will have to make sacrifices: Sometimes you may not be able to go out with your friends because you have work to do. Sometimes you may not be able to get a full night’s rest because you need to communicate with suppliers in a different time zone or brainstorm on new marketing strategies. This is a given and there is no way to avoid this. You must ask yourself what the opportunity costs are of being an entrepreneur at this current stage in your life.
- Make use of your alumni network: The alumni from your university have a dearth of knowledge, and you would be surprise how many of them are willing to share that with you. You may be able to find someone who is in the same line of business as you who can act as a mentor to you and your business. Having a mentor means that you will make smarter decisions and fewer mistakes.
- There is no such thing as a work-life balance: As an entrepreneur you will quickly realize that your work is a major part of your life. It’s not something you can clock in and out of. It will constantly be on your mind. So you have to set that balance for yourself. The times you will be focused on your organization and the times you will watch tv or hang out with friends. What looks like balance for others may not work for you, but its for you to determine for yourself.
It is important to know that as exciting as entrepreneurship is, it is also very difficult and challenging. Whatever you choose to do has to be something that engages you because the money isn’t always immediate and if that is your sole motivation it may not sustain you throughout your entrepreneurship journey.
It is possible to combine your studies with entrepreneurship and there are many student entrepreneurs out there. Reach out to them for support and mentorship, and more than anything, believe in yourself because no one will believe in your vision more than you do.