Entrepreneurs have existed on our planet for a long time. But it in recent times, entrepreneurship has gained popular acceptance as a career choice. Thanks to our transition into knowledge economy where individuals with little material resources could go out in the world and create something really big. Advent of web has made it really cheap to start a venture. No need to create a factory with millions. Just create a website, see if it works and scale as the need be. Not as simple as the written world but simpler than earlier days.
Media also glorifies entrepreneurship on a regular basis which adds to positive impact. Entrepreneurs are seen as people who drive the change and make something significant out of nothing. At least a part of it is true.
World needs individuals who take an idea; risk their time and money, and convert it into something real. New enterprises are hotbeds of innovation. Even in existing enterprises, changes are driven by individuals with certain appetite for risk and their willingness to do something different.
Despite all these positives, not everyone becomes an entrepreneur. The perceived reasons that keep away people from becoming entrepreneurs are known to most of us — lack of money, fear of failure, no experience etc.
You must have noticed that I have written perceived reasons in above paragraph. There is a way around all these reasons that deter people from becoming entrepreneurs. Also the difference between who makes it as entrepreneur and who don’t — is these reasons. Those who make it somehow find a way to – overcome their fear; find money or start something without it — yes that is possible; and make up for lack of experience through innovation.
I also make a point that young students at business school and at engineering institutions are better positioned to make it as entrepreneurs, as they have many things going for them. Let us explore.
More time (to learn and experiment): As a student your only focus is study — at least for most young students. Of course there will be other things like friends and fun-time. But still you will have more time to yourself than somebody who is in a full-time job.
Once in a full-time career, people find it difficult to find time for their dreams. When you are in studying you have more time to read about topics that interest you and explore options that can be converted to profit making businesses. There are endless list of success businesses that were started on campus. You sure know of Dell Computers and more recently Facebook — both started in campus dorms.
More Time (to fail): A big hindrance for people dreaming to become entrepreneurs — those who keep sitting on the fence — is the fear of failure. When you start early as a student, you need not worry about failure too much; because you have less at stake and time to start afresh.
So when you start early it will be easy for you to take failure as a stepping stone to success. You fail and you still have time to start again. That may not be the case with people who start at a later stage in life.
Get to – 10000 hours – faster: Malcom Gladwell in his book “Outliers” shared 10,000 hours-rule. If you devote 10,000 hours to a pursuit you become highly proficient in that area. This is true for entrepreneurship. If you want to be a proficient entrepreneur, devote 10,000 hours to the cause. While at school you have a better chance of finishing these 10,000 hours within 3-4 years when you totally immerse yourself in the cause.
When you get into a job your only shot at entrepreneurship, will be as a part-timer. This will take you longer to finish 10,000 hours and may be more time to succeed.
Less pressure: Pressure comes from expectations — from your own and of those related with you. As a student — people do not expect much out of you. May be your family wants you to get good grades and that you get a good job after getting out. This set of expectations increases many fold when you go out in the world to make a living.
Fewer expectations mean less pressure on you. In such an environment it is easy for you to be productive and get in the flow. When you are in the flow your ability to create increase and this is an important recipe for entrepreneurial success.
Ecosystems: Most proactive educational institutions offer some kind of entrepreneurship incubator facility. The infrastructure in the incubator can be used to initiate your enterprise. For those who stay off-campus, the apartments also are a form of an extended ecosystem. When you are living with your friends — who are on same line of thinking as you — you can easily bounce your ideas off them and move ahead.
It is also easy for students to form teams and get into various business plans competition. Such competitions offer a good platform to share your idea with wider audience who have been there and done that, get valuable feedback and mentoring. There are also chances to get a head-start in terms of getting prize money and also useful free publicity —for those who make the cut.
Fewer liabilities: When you are young you need not run a house, your parents also may not be your responsibility, and you have no bills to pay. Fewer liabilities also will mean better focus and a good chance of succeeding at whatever you do.
So start early and just do it if you want to have a real shot at entrepreneurship.