Starting a business right after graduating might seem insane…
After all, that is supposed to be when you secure that first, real job of your career – when you begin climbing up the corporate ladder. But as a regent of a university near my company, I see a lot of entrepreneurial potential in our recent graduates. They have tons of good, novel ideas, and good schools always instill a solid work ethic in their graduates.
Now, you probably won’t strike it rich with your business straight of college, but running a business is an awarding, fulfilling experience. There are just a few things you need to do before you toss off your robes and get to work.
I’m going to be completely honest – you are going to face a ton of incredulity. Heck I still face skepticism, and I’ve been running my company for half a decade!
Be ready to answer loads of questions, because nearly everyone you talk to is going to want to know why you’re founding a company instead of working for one. Rather than begrudgingly answer the coming onslaught of queries, use it as an opportunity to perfect your pitch. Know your projections, your costs, and have a solid plan laid out. By the time you run the gauntlet of family and friends, you’ll be able to face any potential partner or investor.
Learn to Bootstrap
University is, unfortunately, expensive. And you probably have loans taken out already. Don’t take out any more if you can help it – you need to pay down your student loans as quickly as possible. Plus you probably don’t have a lot of credit history, so loans are either going to be hard to secure, or ridiculously expensive. Go without whenever you can.
I’ve always been a major proponent of bootstrapping, so make what you have work. Instead of hiring people, do as much for the business as you can. Rather than buying a new computer or renting office space, work from home and use the old laptop that got you through school. Save. Save. And then save some more.
Running a business is exciting, and when you start to actually make money, you may feel the urge to expand or hire. But that isn’t a great idea when you first start out. A good rule of thumb is to have a few months of working capital in the bank before expanding. In the meantime, work like a freelancer. Run the company, do the work, and be your own marketer. The internet is a great resource for finding work as well, just try to stay local while you are first starting out. Build word of mouth, and you’ll find your market will
Keep Close to Your Network
Finally, and I cannot stress this enough, don’t underestimate the utility of your university. Keep in contact with your peers, your professors, and the other people you’ve worked with over the last four years. Tons of new business owners would kill for a network full of people as useful as an old business professor that can give you advice, or a classmate that can help close a good deal with a vendor they work for. Keep the network alive, and stay in touch with everyone you can.
I’m always surprised at how much doubt new college graduates face when starting a company. After all, this is one of the best times to roll the dice and see if you can build a successful business. Student loans are an issue, but most college graduates are flexible, energetic, and ambitious. They also have four years of education and training fresh in their mind, and an indispensable network of advisors and peers at their disposal. If you feel an entrepreneurial call, treat it like any other good opportunity after graduation, and go for it.
About the Author:
Deborah Sweeney is the CEO of MyCorporation.com. MyCorporation is a leader in online legal filing services for entrepreneurs and businesses, providing start-up bundles that include corporation and LLC formation, registered agent, DBA, and trademark & copyright filing services. MyCorporation does all the work, making the business formation and maintenance quick and painless, so business owners can focus on what they do best. Follow her on Google+ and on Twitter @mycorporation.
Great advice here from Deborah. Entrepreneurship is the single greatest way to build massive wealth.
Take note: every single expert on the YoPro Wealth podcast has been an entrepreneur. Every single one of them! That should be a strong hint and push to make you go in that direction, as well.
So, ready or not, this is how you start a business straight out of college. As she says, entrepreneurship is both awarding and fulfilling. Do it! You won’t regret it.
Learn from some other great entrepreneurs in my first book: