Entrepreneurship and the Undergrad: Building Your Business Alongside Your Degree
Entrepreneurship is now the career path of choice for many college students.
The main goal of going to college is to build your skill set for your dream career. However, many students aren’t dreaming of life in a cubicle. Instead, they’d rather run the show themselves.
According to research by Rasmussen College, 600,000 undergraduate students took at least one entrepreneur class during the 2009-2010 school year. What makes this career path so appealing?
The Reasoning of the Young Entrepreneur
According to the 2014 Amway Global Entrepreneur Report, people under the age of 35 decided to become an entrepreneur because:
• Over 30 percent thought they would have greater life/work balance
• 35 percent were interested in the second line of income it could bring
• 50 percent wanted self fulfillment
• 50 percent wanted to be their own boss
• Over 20 percent saw it as a good alternative to unemployment
Challenges Today’s Entrepreneurs Face
• According to a Wall Street Journal article, people who privately own stake in their own companies has dropped from 10.6 percent in 1989 to 3.6 percent in 2013.
• Students wish colleges would focus more on entrepreneurship, according to the 2014 Amway Global Entrepreneur Report. Only 11 percent of students surveyed felt their goals were supported.
• Some colleges are attempting to bridge the gap, with 2,364 institutions offering degrees in entrepreneur or small business in 2013 alone.
• Approximately 41 percent of young entrepreneurs cited fear of failure as the reason they didn’t pursue their own business venture, according to a study by Babson College professor Donna Kelley.
5 Ways to Build Your Skills While In School
Think you have what it takes to be your own boss. It’s going to take more than hitting the books every night.
• Lay the right foundation. Classes in business, marketing, and technology can give you a well-rounded approach to helping you succeed in the various day-to-day aspects of business owning.
• Lean on online classes. If your college doesn’t offer specialized courses, surf online learning sites to find free courses or modules you can complete.
• Reach out to local small business owners. There’s no better place to learn about owning and running your own business than from someone who does it day in and day out. Request an informational interview or job shadowing with a local business owner.
• Find an internship or part-time job at a local startup. Getting in on the ground floor will give you real-world experience for your resume and your personal outlook.
• Test the waters.Have a product or service you think are marketable? Try promoting it on a small scale, by word of mouth or social media. Keep track of your gains and losses and then review your overall experience at the end of six months. Did it work? What could you have done better? Getting your feet wet lets you know if you’re in the right place – or if you should consider other career options.