The one thing that many successful entrepreneurs have in common is their early start in the business world. If you think that business owners are old and rich you’re wrong. Some of the biggest companies you encounter every single day were thought up and launched by young men and women still in education. Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s famous creator, is one of the most widely known examples, but there is also Microsoft, Google, and even FedEx. Launching a business while still at school is far from easy, but with these twelve tips, it doesn’t need to be impossible.
1. Always Have A Plan
If you want to achieve something that’s worthwhile, you need to have a plan. Hope is not a strategy nor is dumping more hours at a project until it succeeds.
Keeping that in mind, you should sit down and set realistic goals for both your schooling, your family, and your business. These could include the grades you hope to achieve, the sales you expect to make, the time you’ll spend with your kids, or some other important targets. You should then consider the steps you need to take along the way to meet these goals.
One of my favourite quotes is out of a Tom Clancy novel, “If you don’t write it down it didn’t happen.” I’ve taken that literally telling people if they don’t see me write something down, don’t expect me to do it. Make sure you take the time to write down your schedule and then stick to it.
You can see how I do my timeblocking in my March 2019 Plan with me video.
2. Choose The Right Course
Most entrepreneurs still in education assume it best to keep their school and business as two separate entities. After all, multitasking is now known to be a huge productivity killer. However, if you were to take a course related to your venture or the business world in general, this could be beneficial. When you expand on your knowledge and skills like this, it allows you to practice for your business and school regardless of what you’re working on. This can save a lot of time.
3. Develop A Support System
Running a business is stressful at the best of times, as is studying at college or university. When you do both at the same time, therefore, it takes much more of a toll. For this reason, it’s very important that you have the right support around you. Not everyone will understand why you want to launch a business and study at the same time, but they should be on board with the idea regardless. It also helps to find other studying entrepreneurs who know what you’re dealing with.
4. Spend Your Time Wisely
Never in your entire life will you have as much free time as you do at university and college. This is why students find the experience so much fun. However, as a new entrepreneur, you’re going to have to use this free time for work, rather than partying with your friends.
While working full-time is negatively correlated with GPA, working part-time has been shown to increase your GPA. If you want to do something worthwhile, you need to resist the urge to take part in unproductive activities. You need to make sure that you’re not wasting time playing video games, watching TV, and heading out to parties.
Really, that’s solid advice for any stage of your career, and as we’ll see in number 7, it’s not all about work.
5. Work From The House
With such big responsibilities on your plate, a little flexibility goes a long way. Because of this, you should try tackling your entire workload from the comfort of your own home. Most new entrepreneurs launch their business from home anyway, but you should consider distance learning too. If you’re a nurse, for example, you could take your BSN to MSN online. This eliminates any travel time and gives you the freedom to work what you want when you choose.
While you’re at home, make sure to set aside a space for work. Do work in your work space, even if it’s just a specific chair that you work from. Don’t let work spill into every corner of your living space, that’s a recipe for burnout.
6. Use Any Available Resources
It doesn’t matter if you choose to study online or in a school, you should use the resources offered to you by the college. Whatever it is that you need, whether it be guidance, equipment, information, or just a little support, ask the school if they can help you. All education institutions want their students to leave being as employable as possible, so you can be sure that they’ll do whatever they can. Some schools even offer their students loans and grants as startup capital.
7. Commit To Fun Breaks
As important as it is to focus on your work, you shouldn’t completely sacrifice your social life. Even when your studies and business consume most of your days, you still need to take a break now and then. Because of this, you must make regular plans with friends and family, as well as with yourself. Spend some time watching TV, run a bath, go to a movie, or head for a meal out. This will keep you from burning out, making you a more productive worker in the long run.
When I was in school and trying to start the business I run now my wife and I set aside Friday night and all day Sunday as day’s we spent together. It didn’t matter what I could do for work, I would spend that time with my wife relaxing. A successful company at the expense of every relationship that matters to you now isn’t worth the trade-off.
8. Head To Bed Early
Our bodies need rest to be able to function properly. If you’re not giving yourself this time, then you’ll always feel tired and stressed, neither of which will help you get your work done. For this reason, you should aim to get at least eight hours of sleep every single night, no matter how much work you have on your plate. Ensure that you develop healthy sleep habits and try to get the bed for roughly the same time each night. This will help you to get a good night’s rest.
My favourite sleep routine is 10-3-2-1-0 Sleep Formula.
9. Learn To Let Go
Most entrepreneurs begin their businesses alone, especially when they do so at university or college. However, being the mind behind your venture doesn’t mean that you should have to take on all of the work yourself. In a few months or years, you may need to hire full-time employees, but, until then, you can ask your friend, family, fellow students, and professors to lend a hand. If you have the funding, you might even be able to outsource some of the work to freelancers.
10. Take Advantage Of Discounts
Being a student means that you have access to a range of free and discounted services. You may also have a student card that grants you discounts in different stores. This can benefit your business a great deal. After all, even the smallest of new ventures need to make investments to get off the ground, even if these are just office supplies and tools. Make sure that you take advantages of the discounts on offer and never pay full price for something unless you have to.
11. Clean Up Your Workspace
The space in which you work can have a huge effect on your mind, potentially impacting your productivity. If your workspace is cluttered and disorganized, then you’ll struggle to focus and may even become stressed as a result. The simple remedy to this problem is cleaning up your work environment. If you conduct business and complete school work in different places, then remember to tackle them both. Start by clearing out all of the junk and then go from there.
12. Don’t Fear Your Failure
Students very rarely have as many responsibilities as other adults, even those just a few years older than them. Just as I launched my business we found out that we were expecting our first child. I was already working on my own but had 9 months to get the endeavour stable before I became the only income supporting a new family.
The freedom of less responsibility allows you to take a few more risks, especially where business is concerned, as the potential failures involved are that much smaller. It’s still scary, of course, but you shouldn’t let this fear hold you back from taking a leap of faith.
Being an entrepreneur is far from easy, but being one while still at school is even more difficult. However, that doesn’t make the task impossible. In fact, many of the world’s most successful businessmen and women launched their huge companies while still at college or university. As long as you use the resources available, manage your time well, and look after yourself, there’s no reason why you can’t find a healthy balance and have it all.