Is starting a business while in college a good idea?

business in college

Written by Charaf Mrah

Salut! I'm a college student majoring in Software Engineering. I created this website to share whatever I'm learning with you.

November 1, 2020

Before we get into the meat, I want to clarify that by a business I also mean side projects that could turn into a business.

While in college, the most common tip you’ll hear is to focus on studying & networking.

But many people forget about the power of side projects and hobbies.

In this post, I’ll discuss both the negatives and positives of starting a business while still in college.

Positives:

Experience:

One of the most annoying hurdles for new graduates is that they struggle to get their first job because they have zero working experience.

And to get the work experience you need to land a job.

But jobs want you to have experience!

So what’s the solution?

→ Make your own job!

Obviously, it’s not that easy and it will take a lot of time and hard work to succeed.

But here I’m just talking about getting experience and not whether you’ll succeed in this venture or not.

You don’t have to be an “entrepreneur” to be your own boss. You can do it just for the sake of getting some experience to put on your resume.

Hobbies:

One of the best things about starting your own business while in college is that you can pursue your interests while adding them to your resume (or possibly succeeding and making it your full-time job).

Me for example, I love creating websites and also creating videos. So I made the college route and I’m making content right now while being able to add this to my resume as work experience.

You don’t have to pursue your hobbies only if they provide you with something for your career obviously, but it’s an extra benefit if they do.

Networking:

One of the perks of starting a new business or project is that you’ll be able to meet many like-minded people along the way.

This is different from meeting people in your college, as you’ll be meeting people sort of in the “professional” side of the world.

This will allow you to understand how the world works outside of college.

Learn new skills:

While college might provide you with some skills that you’ll find useful later, I think that starting your own business or project could provide you with even more valuable skills.

For example communication skills, time management, marketing (every business needs this), public speaking (it depends on the type of business of course), being able to work under pressure…etc.

Negatives:

Less time to focus on your course work:

While you can still do an excellent job at college while having a “side hustle”, you will essentially sacrifice some time from school compared to other students.

This is not a problem for me as I’m not trying to compete with anyone for being “first in class”, but if you do care about that then you need to reconsider starting a side project.

More stress:

While starting a side project while in college can teach you a lot about time management and how to use your time efficiently, you could still end up feeling stressed at times (especially when you’re not used to it).

I believe that you can get through this, and I don’t think it’s something that should stop you from starting a business or project.

Social life:

This point gets talked about a lot. I always hear people saying “I work so hard that I don’t have a social life”.

First of all, I don’t think it needs to be that way.

Second of all, I think “social life” means different things to different people.

For example, I don’t mind not going out for a week or two. Some people would go crazy if they didn’t go out at least twice a week.

I believe that you could find time for your social life and your business either way (unless you only go home to sleep).

Remember that nothing matters if you’re not enjoying it (or at least working for something that you’ll enjoy later).

Conclusion:

Starting a new business or project in college doesn’t have to be about it succeeding, you could still just start one for the sake of getting some work experience.

While there are many different positives to starting a new business while in college (mainly: getting work experience, pursuing your hobbies & interests, getting to know like-minded people, learning new skills), there are still some drawbacks that you should think about (like your social life, stress, less time for your course work).

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