Sometimes, when I interact with students of my college, I am always struck by the sheer unwillingness, and even the outright rejection of the idea of a student starting a business. Most of them are talented in some or the other field, but just the idea of starting on their own is terrifying to most of them. Almost all of them have resigned themselves to the following career model.
1. Complete their college education.
2. Take up a job.
3. Take an additional professional degree.
4. Build work experience.
5. Apply again for a higher paying or higher position job.
6. Repeat steps 3 to 5.
Though, this is a good enough model for most of the students (and for most people of this country), I personally can’t resonate to it. Besides the obvious larger monetary benefits a business provides, I have my reasons to believe why every student should have a go at building his business, at least part time, during his college days. Maybe these reasons will convince you how wonderful it would feel to beat the above career model and if not, at least having a little fun before you settle into the above category.
1. Lots of time: In a country like India, where students are almost completely dependent on their parents for most of their student life for their basic needs. Besides studying, there is little productive work to do in the free time. Even if you are not in India, and if you are not working part time, most of the time would be killed in hanging out with your friends and chatting and spending time away on the internet and computer games. These are surely activities that make memories of the student’s life, but if you want to be a worthwhile achiever, you don’t need to kill your whole time in it.
2. Low Personal Responsibility: Without a wife to support and a child to take care of, most students have quite low levels of responsibility in this stage of their life. We can experiment, even if we fail and fall, not much is going to change or affect our life to start beating our heads against the wall. We can straighten our shoulders again and try some tweaks until we smell the sweet flower of success. How joyful that would be!
3. Great Personal Development: While building your business, you can learn volumes about time management, productivity, and persistence which is simply impossible to gather through books. Meeting people to sell your services gives us a first hand course on people skills and selling. Your first business, whether failed or successful, could be the best personal development course you could ever take in your whole lifetime.
4. Part time Job vs. Part time Business: While in midst of their busy classes and assignments, the tendency of most students is to take up a job to cover up their extra expenses. This may be a good idea for the short term, but what is overlooked is the fact that a job tends to give you exposure only in restricted category of some field. Are you a better money manager, or are you good at sales? Are you better at working on someone else’s ideas or developing your own?
Wouldn’t it be great if you get a strong idea of your own strengths and weaknesses while still in school? How will you ever come closer to even understanding your true potential if you never experiment and never try?
It is easy to follow the pack and never to take up something you really love. It’s even easier to get stuck and give hundreds of excuses why your first business will fail. Well, 90% of the time, it will. But wouldn’t it be better if this failure comes at an age where we are better prepared to handle failure? What do we have to lose anyways!