Should You Start a Business While in University?

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Are you currently studying at university? It’s a hectic and exciting time, as you’re exposed to new ideas, ways of thinking, critical analysis skills and theories of all sorts. It’s probably the most learning you’ll ever do, compressed into a few years. You’ll make new connections with all sorts of people, and some of this networking may prove extremely fruitful later in life. It’s time to become a sponge and absorb everything that you can. Whether you’re studying commerce, marketing or a master of business administration online, these years will set you up nicely for your career.

You might wonder if it’s worth starting a business while in university. Some massive giants such as Google, Facebook (now Meta), Time Magazine, Snapchat, Reddit and FedEx were all founded by tertiary students. Some of those founders are now billionaires with incredible wealth and extraordinary lives. This article will help you decide if starting a business at university is worthwhile.

Can You Manage Your Time Well?

This is a crucial question you need to ask yourself. How are your time management skills? Studying full-time at university requires some significant discipline and the ability to partition your time successfully. You must allow time to attend lectures, group classes, write assignments or practical classes. In addition to that, unless you’re on a full scholarship, you need to work to support yourself, and pay for rent, food, and social life. 

Starting a business on top of all of this is a tall order, but if you’re confident that you have the time spare, it can be a fruitful endeavour. It may mean some long days, though, as, after your coursework and classes, you may find yourself spending the evenings developing your business plan or unique selling point. 

Can You Solve a Problem?

Some of the most successful businesses became so massive because they solved a problem people had. For instance, Facebook became so successful because it facilitated a connection with the people you already knew but had perhaps lost contact with. Instagram solved the problem that there was no platform to share amateur digital photography on. Canva solved the problem that there was no design tool that ordinary people could use to make graphic designs. 

It’s worth asking yourself if you’ve identified a problem that people have that your business can quickly solve. Reflect on your own experience in life – are there any pain points you’ve encountered that could be solved by a unique product or service? If you can devise an ingenious solution to this problem, it may well be worth launching a business that can address it. 

Can You Fund It to Start With?

Another question to ask yourself if you’re considering launching a business while studying at university is if you can fund it. While some startups are lucky enough to secure seed funding from angel investors and venture capitalist firms, in most cases, they need to have a viable product or service offering first. This requires some initial investment. Take Atlassian, the Australian tech giant behind Jira, Trello and other digital project tools. The two founders bootstrapped the company with a credit card debt of $10,000, before becoming extremely successful. 

Do you have the funds to create a prototype product or service that works well enough to demonstrate its potential? For instance, can you hire a developer to create your vision if you have a brilliant idea but lack the technical proficiency to code an application or software tool? If you can, it may be worth launching your business while studying. 

Do You Have the Energy?

As well as the time, funds and ability to solve a problem for consumers, it’s worth asking yourself if you have the energy to study and launch a business. Full-time study is draining and requires lots of mental effort. Whether researching, writing an assignment or attending classes, you rely on a finite energy pool – caffeine can only get you so far. If you have the drive and relentless energy of a natural-born entrepreneur, it may well be worthwhile to find your company while you’re still studying at uni. 

Does Your University Have an Incubator Program?

An incubator program is a structured program for students that supports startup companies like the one you’re considering funding. It offers office space, computers, meeting rooms and networking connections and can be an excellent way to kickstart your startup. If your educational institution doesn’t offer this, your city may have government-funded incubators, so it’s worth researching them.

Can You Leverage Your Student Network?

If you’ve been at the university for a year, you should have developed connections, friendships and acquaintances with your fellow student cohort. It’s worth exploring if you can successfully leverage your network to fund your startup. For instance, if you have a friend who’s an excellent web developer, can you ask them for assistance in launching your website? You may have another acquaintance who is studying marketing who might be able to help you with that side of the business. There’s a saying that your network is your net worth, so it’s worth seeing if you can make your network work for you when it comes to starting a business.

A Startup Summary

This helpful article should have helped you decide if it’s worth starting a business while studying at university. This is not a decision to take lightly, as studying and founding a startup simultaneously can tax your physical and mental health. However, it may be worth your while if you can manage everything and take advantage of the resources at your disposal. Just ask Google, which is perhaps the world’s biggest university startup success story. 

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