Graduating from college or graduate school? Congratulations! What are you going to do now? Send out resumes, look for a job?
Well, I’ve got another idea. How about starting your own business?
I don’t have figures on what percentage of graduates will launch their own companies, but I do know many students start businesses while still in college, roughly 70% of students want to start a business, and entrepreneurship is one of the fastest growing fields in academia.
As a young person, you’re at the forefront of entrepreneurship. Your tastes drive decisions in new businesses, new products. Successes like Yahoo, Google, and Facebook means venture capitalists and investors will actually take you seriously — especially if you’re a guy.
Yes, unfortunately, women still have a much harder time raising money, even though they start more businesses than men. But let me encourage young women to dream big, start businesses with the potential to change the economy or society. Keep knocking on those VC (venture capitalist) doors and force those old white guys sitting atop billions of venture dollars to pay attention to you, too.
After all, graduate, this is probably the best time in your life to take a risk. You’re used to living on the cheap, surviving on pizza, and no, you don’t really need a new car or that Coach purse. So, move back in with the parentals, get a few friends together and start something in your garage or den.
• Do something cool. Lots of people succeed in business doing something completely mundane — there’s plenty of money to be made selling dental supplies. But you’re young, so do something fun, challenging, interesting.
• Choose a business that will make a difference. Go ahead, start a business that will save the planet, people or animals. The hottest thing in business today is “social entrepreneurship” — for-profit companies with a greater purpose. You can make money and make a difference.
• Develop a business plan — at least a very simple one. Sit down and think through what you’re going to do, how you’re going to do it, and how much money it will take. And you’ll need a business plan when you go out and raise money to fund your new venture.
• Choose a concept with low start-up costs. After all, you’re broke. But I was broke when I started my first company. Internet-based companies can be dirt-cheap. There are still plenty of opportunities in social networking and user-generated content sites. Personal and business service businesses are also inexpensive to launch.
• Start with a friend, or friends. But draw up a simple agreement to clarify who owns what, who does what, and what happens if someone drops out (Hint: They should lose everything). Hey, you could be starting the next Facebook; you don’t want them coming back and suing you for their share of the billion dollars.
Photo by a51media.