If you are in college, you probably spend some time thinking about your future. What you will be doing after you graduate, where you will live, and how you will make it all happen. When these thoughts push their way in between the parties and classes that you are normally focused on, an option that doesn’t often appear is starting your own business. Yet some of the most successful and well-known businesses in America were started by people in college (or those that recently dropped out to focus on the business, but that is a different story).
If you decide to go down this route, there are a lot of considerations to make. And it is worth considering, as those that start their own businesses have a much higher potential upside and much greater freedom and flexibility in their schedules. So, what kind of questions does the potential collegiate entrepreneur need to ask themselves?
How are you going to pay for all this?
Most businesses started by those in college or recently out of college are consultancies, proffering some kind of expertise or opinion in exchange for money. This is not an accident, as these kinds of businesses can often be started for little to no money. After all, it doesn’t take much to throw up a website and make some phone calls trying to hunt some clients down.
However, if you don’t have thousands of dollars saved up (and who does during college) then you’ll still need money to pay yourself with before the business turns a profit. If your business is working in any other field, it probably will require more cash to get things going. That is where a loan comes in.
As a college student, you’re probably familiar with loans. Business loans work much the same way as your student loans do, except they actually expect you to pay them back! Chances are if you don’t have much cash or business credit history, you won’t be able to go to a traditional lender. This is where the Small Business Administration comes in. They secure loans for those that otherwise wouldn’t be able to access credit, meaning you have a real chance of being approved if you come to them with a solid business plan. There are a number of different businesses that offer these loans, and Aldora Capital offers a great guide on SBA Express loans, a particular type that is beneficial for those that need cash quickly.
There are all kinds of different loans offered by the SBA, so it is worth it to research and see what would work best for your situation.
Work, work, & more work!
Starting a business is no easy feat. Anyone who has ever done it will tell you that. If you’re still considering doing it, you probably won’t listen to them anyways. However, you need to know that it is true, there will be more work than you can ever expect. It doesn’t matter how well you plan things out and how on top of your studies you have been thus far, there is always going to be another call to make, always another email to send, and always another report to run.
Because of this, if you want to keep your sanity you need to learn when to put it down. Unlike an office job, if you are the owner of the business you never get to check out. If you have a laptop, you probably have the ability to work. That late-night Netflix special turns into you periodically gazing up from your screen while you type out a proposal. Trust me, it happens every time. Learn how to back away from it now before it consumes your life.
Who goes there?
It’s no secret that millennials tend to change their career paths often. With a business this is even more so the case. Especially if you are in the tech or consulting space, things change so quickly that what you are doing five years from now will probably look nothing like what you are doing now. Even in one year things can change so rapidly in these spaces that it is hard to really ever conceptualize exactly how your business works.
You need to have some kind of plan for this. Of course you can’t know all the details, but you need to know the kind of work you’re most qualified to do and the kinds of work you get paid the most to do. Where these two things meet you have a business. Regardless of what you called your business and what you initially set out to do, staying in this zone is the key to success. You can’t be afraid to change things up simply because of the status quo.
It is admirable whenever a college student thinks about their future. There are so many more pressing and more entertaining concerns for them to be thinking about. However, you need to think it all the way through. If this is really what you want out of your life, be it your current life or your post grad life, then get to it!