If you’re a high school or post-secondary student, you’ve probably heard about the concept of entrepreneurship but never ventured deeply into it. You have heard of numerous reasons of why entrepreneurship isn’t the best option right now: it is too risky, it takes too much time, you may fall into debt, your social life will suffer, and the list goes on. In fact, I used to think the same way – I spent my summers throughout high school in summer school getting ahead of credits, working as a stock boy at a large retailer, eventually moving into a corporate job the first chance that I got once I began university. I didn’t think entrepreneurship was for me – I wanted to spend time with friends, I had little capital to invest nor did I think I could handle the risk of losing any of it.
It wasn’t until I was finishing up my sophomore year of university when I received an email from a professor about potentially working on a consulting project. I knew a few friends who were in the process of starting a pro bono consulting group, and I decided to join forces with them. This is where my entrepreneurial journey began.
However, it is one of my deepest regrets that I did not pursue such an entrepreneurial venture earlier. Here’s why I believe that if you’re in high school or post-secondary, entrepreneurship is the right choice for you this upcoming summer if the opportunity cost is not insanely high.
The various skills that you will gain while building your venture will be invaluable throughout your entire life. People will question how you have developed these competencies, but the truth is that you did it out a desire to propel your business forward. You’ll stay up late at night and wake up early in the morning learning the required skills in order to make your venture successful.
In my case, I had taught myself the basics of web development and leveraged online marketing tactics to assist with client acquisition and brand building. It is these very skills that have helped me land my upcoming internship.
Relationship Building and Sales
Running a venture requires the ability to sell a product or a service. Being able to work with other people, building a relationship with them over time will help you expand your network. From each new person you speak to, you learn more about them and how you can sell your product or service to them.
In my scenario, I had first met with this professor to discuss what the consulting project was about before he even referred us to our first client. My co-founders and I were eager to meet him and discuss this, however our mouth was left shut when we didn’t have an answer to the question “what process do you guys take to solving client issues?” Safe to say, we went back to the drawing board and made sure we created an information package, developed a problem-solving process and had a good understanding of our consulting group in itself.
Crafting a Unique Story
As a student, it is critical to stand out amongst the bunch. Everyone has worked in retail or in a customer service oriented role and this is bound to not make you stand out. Running a venture, regardless of how small it is, will provide you with a story that will help you stand out from this crowd.
In my situation, my story revolved around my initial failure with acquiring a client, meeting clients in McDonalds locations and working late nights after coming home from a full-time internship. This could also be tailored specifically to different situations and would help tremendously in interviews.
So there you have it – my three key reasons of why you should start a company this summer. And I say this summer because you can get started, receive some capital, and test the market pretty quickly through the summer company program.