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Employment & Internships Podcast Episodes
Listen to the Podcast
Pete and Alex discuss the benefits and risks associated with becoming a young entrepreneur.
Read the Show Notes
Entrepreneurship is a pretty appealing concept: working for yourself, when you want, not under the rule of a normal 9 – 5 with a boss that tells you when/where you have to be sounds pretty good, right? And with the rise of technological innovation, the opportunity for starting your own business has never been more accessible. Still, though, becoming an entrepreneur is an incredibly taxing process because of the devotion you have to place in yourself and your business skills. If you can pull it off, chances are that you will be rewarded with a higher level of satisfaction and, of course, a more appealing bank account.
However, keep in mind that in the world of entrepreneurship that society rarely pays attention to those who don’t make it…and there are lots who don’t. For every successful start-up, there are countless who don’t make it. And the reasons could be one of many, but what’s important is that you recognize what you can do now or right after college to increase your chances of success should you decide to go down the entrepreneurship route.
1) Being successful is going beyond just knowing how to do something: As Pete mentions in the podcast, it’s important for you to understand that being a successful entrepreneur has to go well beyond just knowing how to do something (i.e., being a technician), you have to understand the other aspects that go into running a business, namely knowing how to operate your finances appropriately and putting yourself in a position where you are thinking about the long-term viability of your business as opposed to just making sure you’re operating at a profitable level on a day-to-day business. Before starting your business, take classes, read articles, interview successful entrepreneurs, etc., to learn how to increase your chances of success by learning what others have done to be successful.
2) Build up a “failure fund:” Also known as an emergency fund, it’s important that you find a way to raise some cash that will help fund you while you’re trying to make your business work. On one hand, it could mean reaching out to the community and try and fundraise (the internet has been a big help to those who have tried this route via Kickstarter, Microventures, etc.,). This could also mean that you have to take a 9 – 5 job and work on your business afterhours. Either way, having the emergency fund will enable you to try multiple ideas (or multiple avenues with the same idea) and can prolong the amount of failure that you experience in being an entrepreneur. If your goal is to be your own boss and set your own schedule, then working for somebody else for a time might be helpful in getting your feet off the ground…not to mention there’s a good likelihood of having employer-sponsored healthcare. Keep in mind that you’re probably wanting to have at least 3 – 6 months of “failure” covered, but obviously the more you can save, the longer you can keep funding your entrepreneur life.
3) Do your research: This may seem way too simple, but it’s important that you collect as much data as you can on your idea to make sure that it’s something that the market wants or, if you consider yourself to be a Steve Jobs-type, that you can convince the market that it’s something they want even though there’s not very much demand. Being more prepared with your research will increase your likelihood of getting additional outside funding to help and will also help keep away those who are ready to tell you they knew your idea wouldn’t work.
4) Develop a Positive, but Realistic, Mindset: We’ve already covered this semester that our program is about financial wellness, meaning that we want you to understand the affect finances can have on your daily life. In entrepreneurship, it’s important to develop a positive attitude to combat the setbacks, detractors, and other negative experiences that will come about during your career. Still, it will also be in your benefit to find at least one trustworthy mentor to help keep you in check. Being a successful entrepreneur means knowing when it’s time to move on from something that’s not working and if you’re not being realistic with how things are going, you are putting yourself in a dangerous position. Having somebody else to talk to, whom you trust, will help keep you in line.
And although we appreciate you reading and listening to our lesson on entrepreneurship, we hope that you’ll keep looking for other resources to help you on your journey towards building your own successful business. If you have any questions about what you can do with your finances to help increase your chances of success, feel free to e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Best of luck to you on the voyage aboard the entrepreneur ship (sorry, we couldn’t help ourselves).