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22 Big Reasons to Start a Small Business While Still in College

Young Entrepreneur

You’re young, strapped for cash, and totally busy with college. It sounds like a terrible time to start a business, but really, things couldn’t be more perfect. We’re seeing a boom in businesses started in tiny dorm rooms, and there’s a really good reason why: college is an ideal time to get your venture off the ground. With incredible support and resources, a low cost of living, and your life spread out before you, right now is when you should be making the leap.

Don’t believe us? Read on, and find 22 compelling reasons to start your dream before you finish your degree.

  1. All the cool kids are doing it: Mark Zuckerberg created “The Facebook” as a Harvard sophomore. Bill Gates and Michael Dell both left school behind when it was clear their businesses were taking them to bigger places. Sure, their stories are rarer than the failed ventures that sometimes come out of dorm rooms, but your idea just might be the next million dollar one.
  2. You have the time available: Essays, exams, and extracurricular activities may be leaving you with little to no free time these days, but just wait until you have a job, possibly a marriage, kids, and a house. You may not realize it now, but you’re in the glory days of flexibility, so take advantage of it and get your business off the ground now.
  3. It is just really cool: In some circles, “I have my own business” is the ultimate pick-up line. But seriously, having your own business at a young age really sets you apart on your resume, with your family, and even socially. People tend to respect those who own their own business.
  4. Your professors are an incredible resource: There are few places where you can get more free knowledge and support than college, especially advice of such high quality. Talk to your professors, industry groups on campus, counselors, and more to get expertise and support for starting your business while you’re in school.
  5. So are all the school “freebies” you pay for: Sure, they’re in your school fees, but you’re paying for them anyway, why not use them? Computer labs, copy machines, meeting rooms, free WiFi, and more are all things you might be taking for granted but will have to pay an arm and a leg to use once you leave campus.
  6. Entrepreneurship will give you a crash course in life management: If you’re having trouble keeping up with your grades and time management, being motivated by the possibility of cash just might make you shape up and start doing things right. Having a business just might force you to get organized and be more responsible with your time and money.
  7. You might get a break on student loans: Recently-introduced laws on student loans make it possible for you to reduce your monthly payment obligation through your business, freeing up extra cash for getting off the ground and maintaining your finances.
  8. You’ll stand out: Lots of young people are jumping in to business, but a college-aged businessperson is still a rare thing, and it can get you some attention. Your sales pitches will stand out because you’re different, and it’s much easier to differentiate yourself at networking events. This is, of course, assuming that you’re presenting yourself professionally.
  9. Marketing on campus is crazy cheap: Word-of-mouth marketing is the best kind of advertising that money can’t buy. It’s at the student price of free and spreads like wildfire if you’ve got something exciting going on. Get your buddies on board and you can spread the word on campus and beyond.
  10. It’s a great experience, even if you fail: That’s right, even if your small business blows up in your face, it’s a testament to your character that you even gave it a shot. Entrepreneurship shows that you’re creative, driven, and confident, all things that employers can respect.
  11. Cheap labor is readily available: Help with your business tasks is typically not much farther than a case of beer and some pizza. Your friends may eventually tire of pitching in a lot for little reward, but almost-free labor is a great resource for getting off the ground.

  12. Loyal partners surround you as well: Starting in college when you and your buddies have the time and energy to commit to a business means that you can enjoy a high level of commitment with employees and partners that are likely to stick around even after graduation.
  13. You have fresh ideas: It’s sad, but true: after a few years working in a cubicle farm, your creativity and drive are almost certainly going to be dampened. In college, you are (hopefully) not yet jaded by the realities of working life, and you can take advantage of your open, fearless, and exciting opportunities unburdened.
  14. There are college budget friendly businesses: While some businesses are capital-intensive, others are time intensive, and these are the ones where college entrepreneurs can really hit their stride. There are legitimate businesses that you can start for about $20, including house sitting and tutoring.
  15. You just might make some cash: Chances are, you’re not exactly rolling in cash as a college student. But if you can create an effective business, you just might be able to actually earn some income in between classes. Do a great job, and you can pay off student loans early, graduating from school debt free.
  16. Good luck finding a job otherwise: The job market is terrible these days, but not for entrepreneurs who make their own fortune. While your friends schlep their resume over the entire Internet and stand in line at unemployment, you can enjoy controlling your own future.
  17. You may never have to work a corporate day in your life: As most college students prepare for a life of corporate drudgery, successful college business owners can rest easy in the fact that they can skip over the corporate world and go on to the exciting world of entrepreneurship.
  18. It’s much easier to recover from mistakes: Even if you lose everything you own to your business, you’re probably still about on par with your peers. You can take a major financial hit, and even do some damage to your credit, but still have time to recover and get things right before major life events arrive. You can invest into small business insurance as a way to prevent any of these major losses due to negligence or other reasons.
  19. You can live in your mom’s basement: OK, not everyone really wants to take advantage of this, but let’s be serious: it is amazingly cheap to move back home if you just can’t make ends meet while you’re launching a business. It’s lame now, but much less weird than if you tried to do it about 10 years from now.
  20. An amazing network is waiting for you: Your college friends represent an incredible support system for your business. Chat up your friends in marketing, ask for website help from your computer science buddies, and get your most outgoing friends to help you gather clients and do market research.
  21. Everyone wants to help: It’s not just professors and classmates who are willing to pitch in; major organizations offer resources as well. Last year, PayPal gave 20 teams representing entrepreneurs under 20 $100,000 fellowships for funding their big ideas. And they’re not the only ones. Often, colleges themselves will put on contests and grants for those brave enough to claim them.
  22. You might not ever do it later: Putting things off until later is a great way to never actually get them done. Don’t wait to finish college to start your business, seize the day right now.

Source : Kaitlyn Cole of the Online Universities blog.

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