How to Start a Business While Still Attending College

How to Start a Business While Still Attending College

Many future entrepreneurs have their dreams set in place long before they attend college. For this niche group of people, sometimes the (typically) four years it takes to complete a degree is simply too long to wait, however. If you are one of these people it is important that you understand that you don’t necessarily have to wait. Many successful startups began while the founder was still in college. Below are a few things to note if you have aspirations of simultaneously building your business while earning your degree.

Figure Out Funding

The odds that you are going to have the cash on hand that it will take to make this happen are low. Do not let that deter you, however. You have options, one of which is researching and taking out a small business loan. Be advised that when you apply to take out a small business loan most, if not all, lenders are going to want to read your business plan and verify your existing financials. Some things to have in order in advance of applying would be your credit score as well as any other evidence of healthy financial habits that can encourage a lender to believe that you are a safe candidate.

Use Your Resources

Since you are already paying for your education, you should be taking full advantage of any campus resources that you can to help you get your business off the ground. This might include mentorships with professors, visiting entrepreneurship centers on campus, and even using your peers as a focus group to workshop your ideas. Your campus library is another great resource to consider as they will often have a significant variety of not only books on business but also biographies or memoirs from famous entrepreneurs that you can pick up and read to gather inspiration.

Your college is an excellent resource for mentorship. Think beyond the four walls of your classrooms and also extend yourself to alumni networks. There are many professional networking sites that you can visit and search alumni that went to your school. While you might not form a personal connection with everyone, building up that network as early as possible is a smart way to get your name and idea out there and gain some recognition.

Manage Your Time

Even if the end goal is to work for yourself, you should not sleep on your studies. It can be challenging to continue to put your education first when you might at times feel like you won’t need it, but the truth is that you will and choosing to put more focus on your startup than your studies might end up being a regretful decision. If you are struggling to utilize time management skills to feel satisfied in both areas, reach out to a counselor. Ask about study groups or tips they have available to teach you how to schedule your days more efficiently. This in itself is going to be a hugely needed skill once you graduate and are officially out on your own in the business world.

At the same time, try to remember that there is a whole other element to college beyond your degree as well. These are highly formative years, and many people have huge amounts of self-discovery take place within them. This is also an ideal time to meet and make new friends and build relationships that can last a lifetime. The serious stuff is certainly important but don’t be so busy being serious that you miss out of the full college experience.

Take the Right Courses

Gear your degree towards your business and take classes that are going to support that path. This will give you learning opportunities as well as so much access to the people, places, and things that are going to serve you once you graduate. If you haven’t already, narrow down your niche and determine your target audience. This will help you round out your required classes with electives that encourage you to better understand both. Taking some additional business accounting and legal classes might also be a great idea so that you can at the very least have a work knowledge of both even if these end of being areas that you outsource or have in-house employee’s handle.