The recent rise of success of startup companies have made people rethink their career choices. A job in a relaxed environment where meetings are held while sitting on bean bags, showing up to work in jeans and t-shirt is acceptable, flexible working and the best part is that you’re the boss. What many may not realise is that many successful founders of startup companies started when they were at university, starting their business on a smaller scale and expanding it later. So the big question is, do you have what it takes to be a student entrepreneur and build a successful start up?
Many of us struggle here. If you already have an idea to build on, that’s great! You have a head start. Most of us don’t really think we have fruitful ideas and here is your first problem. ” Is my idea stupid? “, ” No one is ever going to invest in this idea ” and “Does this already exist?” are some of the things a lot of students may say. However, in a recent meeting with Alfonso Fiore the Co-founder of 3Mojo – a company running a programme to help build student entrepreneurs – he says that you can start your journey as an entrepreneur without having a clear vision of what you want your product to be. He also encourages to never doubt their ideas. Nothing is ever too crazy or too small of a scope. “It’s about finding niche markets,” he says. Identifying those niche markets is not easy because most of the time they don’t have the information they need but once you start to look around you’ll soon find that there are many. So don’t be afraid to try it out even if you don’t have an idea (yet).
I’ve attended a handful events where founders and co-founders of start-up companies talk about their journey to success. In short, it’s tough. Each and everyone of them have either said it themselves on different occasions or have echoed in agreement that they key to success is to “hustle“. You don’t get the nice office with bean bags and game room right away. Many started promoting their products on the streets – handing out fliers, cards, wearing ridiculous costumes in the cold (or heat) – to help kick off their sales. Not only that, as a student entrepreneur, you’ll be dedicating a lot of your free time (you know, when you’re not doing essays or studying for a test) to your business. There’ll be lots of sacrifices too, like swapping late nights out with late nights creating business models.
Also, not everyone is successful at their very first attempt (or sometimes even the second or third). Some only survive for a few years. Giving up easily is not an option! Your commitment to your ideas and goals has to be strong.
This is the most important part. You need to know how to get your business going. Where do you start? Who do you go to? Do you start alone? Fret not as the startup community is one that is very welcoming. There are now many programmes whether conducted in universities or even by start-up accelerators. Many existing founders are very keen on encouraging new entrepreneurs especially students, so they are more than happy to offer mentoring workshops and talks to students. Join one ASAP to find out more about start-ups!
One programme that will be launching soon is 3MoJo which runs for about 3 months, where selected applicants are given workshops on 3 modules;
Don’t miss the launch party on the 26th of January 2016 . Head over to the event page here !
Enterprise Nation is a nation wide programme that hosts various events across the country. Furthermore, for those of you who do not have time to travel to the various cities, they also host webinars for free. There’s an extensive resource on Enterprise Nation’s website.
Their next online event will be on the 27th of January, where they will discuss about ‘How to run a successful crowdfunding campaign’. Register here!
The easiest way to get access to information is through your university – wether through you Careers Advisors or a specific society/organisation that specifically caters to interests in entrepreneurship or start ups. UCL, Manchester University and Warwick University are some of the universities which has an active Entrepreneur society but the list is endless. So check your student union now for these societies.
So what are you waiting for? Go find out if you’re a student entrepreneur. Take a leap of faith and try something new. You never know until you try.