Some of the world's wealthiest entrepreneurs started their businesses in college, from Steve Jobs, to Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg, and maybe it's no coincidence.
While achieving long-term business success at a young age, especially while juggling a full course load, isn't easy, college campuses do offer some unique advantages for launching a new venture.
For one thing, you have a network of resources at the ready, from actual networking opportunities with alumni, to professors' industry expertise, to specialized classes in technology or finance.
Practically speaking, one could argue that college is almost the perfect environment to start a business. You have an entire outlet of resources available, from actual networking opportunities with alumni, to professors' industry expertise, to specialized classes in technology or finance.
Aside from business and other industry experts within walking distance, you often have access to various labs and workshops if you plan to develop a product, and you're in an environment filled with plenty of like-minded individuals to co-found your business with. Some of the most rewarding, and long lasting relationships throughout history were formed in college.
Here are 10 reasons all college students should consider becoming entrepreneurs:
1. Automatic support
When you're a college student, you experience a sense of unity and pride you won't see anywhere else. If you've ever been to a college football game, you've witnessed a sea of students uniting behind one thing. It doesn't matter if you know each other or not, students want others at their school to succeed. This creates an automatic support network of peers who want you to succeed, and will be that much more willing to help you.
2. You can afford to fail
Your college years are life's biggest do-over period. "If you mess up at something in college, there's still so much room to bounce back. The last thing you want to remember about college is regret of not doing something, says serial entrepreneur Nathan Resnick. He's the CEO and founder of Sourcify, and founded his first company Yes Man Watches in college. He says college is about creating experiences, and this is the best time of your life to experiment with different ideas and start a business, or even multiple businesses.
3. Knowledge at your fingertips
Aside from access to classes specific to the business or industry you'd like to get into, such as computer programming classes if you want to create an app, or engineering classes if you want to get into tech--college is one of the few places where you're surrounded by experienced professionals (professors) who want nothing more than to help you learn and succeed. A full time board of advisors all within walking distance, how cool is that?
4. Endless resources
Writing an app? I'm sure there's a computer lab somewhere. Are you on to a scientific breakthrough? Stop by the chemistry labs. Research and development for a new idea? Have the school sponsor a research project? Have you invented the light saber? Your school will probably be able to help you file a patent. Get the idea?
In addition to this, about a third of business incubators are based at universities, according to the Kauffman Foundation.
5. Some of the world's most successful startups were formed in college
Facebook, Reddit, Yahoo, Google, Microsoft, you get the picture. I don't think this is coincidence, but a result of some of the reasons I've listed in this article.
The majority of student-founded businesses will never reach the fame and, in some cases, considerable fortune of those in this group. But you don't have to be the next Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, or Evan Spiegel to be a success.
There will be a lot of long nights fueled by ramen and energy drinks. Constant lunch and coffee meetings to network. Hustling. Failures. Disappointments. Continuous testing and tweaking.
And if and when your hard work and preparation meets a little bit of luck, you might end up like some of the successful entrepreneurs I mentioned earlier.
If you're a business or finance student, the experiences you'll glean from starting your own business will help you likely accelerate your college career and vice versa.
7. Financial Freedom
Starting your own business can bring some nice financial rewards if successful, which can help minimize college debt early. Having your personal finances in check lays the foundation for a sound financial future.
8. It's okay to be selfish
Though you do have your share of responsibilities in college, these responsibilities will likely falter once you're in the "real world." As a student, your only responsibility is yourself, and you can afford to be selfish.
You don't have to worry about investing your time and finances into your business while in college. When there's less responsibility, you can afford to take bigger risks.
9. You have people to prove wrong
We've all heard the stereotypes about Millennials and Gen Z being lazy, and social media obsessed, who don't know the meaning of hard work. "These stereotypes are actually opportunities in disguise," says Deep Patel, an entrepreneur and marketing strategist. "When a young kid does something awesome, it's a big deal."
This is a big reason why young entrepreneurs find press so easily. For example, 40-50 year old men are starting hedge funds all the time, but if a 20 something year old kid does it, they're the next Warren Buffett.
There's freedom in youth. Your college years are a time of experiences and experimenting, and your business will certainly be a part of this. You have all the time in the world for trial and error, to craft the perfect business plan. "If you think you won't have time in college, just wait until you have a wife, kids, and a mortgage" says Scott Gerber, co-founder of the Young Entrepreneur Council.