July 27, 2017

A College Student’s Guide to Launching a Startup


While your parents may tell you “wait until you graduate,” or your friends might claim you’re “working too hard,” don’t let others dissuade you from pursuing your dreams and launching a startup while still in college. Plenty of successful businesses have shown that it’s not only possible, but also incredibly exciting.

Common Myths Debunked

There are plenty of beliefs and opinions surrounding young entrepreneurs and the feasibility of launching a startup while still in college. However, most of them are unsubstantiated. Here are a few of the most common myths and why they’re false:

You don’t know enough.

The truth is that you’ll never know enough to launch a startup. You learn along the way — that’s part of the process. If you’re constantly waiting for an opportunity where you have enough knowledge to proceed, you’ll remain idle indefinitely.

You don’t have enough time.

This myth will be further debunked when discussing tips for balancing work and school, but know this much: If you have time to hang out on campus, stay up late watching TV, or lounge around on the weekends, you have time to work. It’s simply a choice between which you would rather do. In an article at Entrepreneur.com, Jessica Ekstrom even goes so far to say, “. . .Your college years are as close to ‘the right time’ as you’re going to get.”

People won’t take you seriously.

There’s a common misconception among young entrepreneurs that their ideas won’t be taken seriously because they lack experience. In most cases, the opposite is true. Because you’re young and ambitious, people will take the time to listen.

Tips for Balancing Work and School

Your success will likely be determined by your ability to efficiently balance work and school. Keep these tips in mind:

Don’t bite off more than you can chew.

You do have to understand that you have time limitations. With this in mind, avoid taking on more than you can handle. As Breanden Beneschott, COO of freelance marketplace, Toptal suggests, “Whenever possible, find ways to hand off some of your work to other people in order to relieve the full weight of the burden.” You can do this by finding online freelancers, local business partners, or even classmates who are willing to help.

Use breaks wisely.

The beauty of college is that you have lots of time off (something most professionals don’t have). Whether its winter break, spring break, or summer break, it’s critical that you learn how to effectively use this time. While you certainly need to rest a little and should use the time to recharge, don’t waste this time. It can allow you to fully focus on your company without the added stress of work. 

Combine efforts.

Do you have an upcoming class project that’s going to require a lot of your time? Ask for permission to use your business as part of the project. Most professors love to incorporate real world tasks and will be willing to accommodate.

Become a detailed planner.

If you aren’t already a detailed planner or organizer, now is the time to perfect this skill. Every hour of every day needs to have a purpose.

3 Resources You Can Use While in College

The key to launching a startup is to use your status as a student to your advantage. In most cases, colleges and universities afford you access to some of the following resources and benefits:

School Technology

Many schools provide state of the art technology to their students and you should be able to use it for more than just schoolwork. Whether it’s a computer lab, software, or other technology, ask how you can gain access to valuable tools and resources.

Valuable Business Classes

Regardless of whether you’re pursuing a business degree or not, taking business classes offers an excellent opportunity to add new skills and learn about additional opportunities.

Faculty and Professors

By taking these classes, you can gain access to very knowledgeable professors and industry professionals who may be able to help you answer questions or point you in the right direction. 

Don’t Take No for an Answer

Above all else, never take no for an answer. If you believe you have a good idea and have enough passion to see it through, you’ll likely succeed more than you’ll fail. Whether you’re in college or out of school, it’s possible to launch a startup at any phase of your life. Keep these tips in mind and work hard to become the best leader you can be.

College Student Photo via Shutterstock

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Drew Hendricks


Drew Hendricks Drew Hendricks is a tech, social media and environmental addict. He writes for many major publications such as National Geographic, Technorati and The Huffington Post.

2 Reactions

  1. Aira Bongco

    It is surprising how many young people start their businesses. It even extends beyond college. I see some high school students create their own prolific businesses.

  2. Hi Drew,

    I think it’s amazing that you are encouraging young dreams. If you want to do it then go for it. I would advise to always prioritize and do not, not turn up to an exam, so you can do market research at home.

    But don’t let any circumstance or person restrict your dream.

    Naomi

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