Reggie Myers is a graduate from Temple University in Philadelphia, Pa., where he graduated with a BA in Strategic Communications – Public Relations. He is glad to be writing for Admitopia, where he can share his wisdom on what to do and what to avoid like the plague during your college experience. When he is not writing and editing music articles for an online publication out of the United Kingdom, you can find him writing blog articles, practicing photography, and reading anything he can get his hands on.
College presents many unique opportunities for students. Students can meet people from all over the world, achieve some independence from their parents, and take time to learn about anything they could imagine. One of the most important opportunities, however, students can take advantage of in college but often overlook, is to create their own side business. Think about it for a moment. What other time in your life are you going to have all of this free time? Also, when else are you going to have a whole community of people around you who are paid to advise and help you? College is the perfect time to create something for yourself. On top of that, creating a side business will be beneficial for you. Check out the list below to find out just how beneficial it can be and why.
1. Finding your purpose. One reason why starting a side business is a smart move while you are in college is it gives you a chance to ascertain your purpose. Many students enter college with little or no direction. Worse yet, many students enter college with majors they don’t want, because they want to please their parents and family members. However, confusion finding your purpose is not exclusive to these two groups. Even students who enter college with a vision sometimes still have doubts.
The great thing about most majors is they give you knowledge and skills you can use before you graduate, which is great because it gives you a chance to decide if your major is right for you. If your side business is related to your major and you love your work and find it rewarding, then you should be inspired to continue down this path and improve your craft. If you find yourself hating what you’re doing, however, then it may be time to reconsider what you’re spending thousands of dollars learning. By the same token, if your side business has nothing to with your major and you find yourself wanting to spend more time doing that, then you might want to consider changing your major as well. Starting your own side business gives you a chance to decide whether what you’re currently learning is really what you want.
2. Learn new skills. One of the biggest problems college graduates have is finding a job. One of the reasons for this is employers do not believe recent graduates have the skills they need to bring value to their organizations. Your college may teach you many of the skills necessary for you to succeed, but you will never learn all of the skills you need in the classroom. In addition, some organizations may need specialty skills your curriculum may not be aware of yet. Starting your own side business can help you close this skills gap. As you work your side business, you will learn what skills you need in order to succeed in your industry firsthand. Do this and build your portfolio, and you will be able to show future employers you have what it takes to succeed.
3. Entrepreneurship: Yes, No, Maybe So? Entrepreneurship has been somewhat of a buzzword lately. People are bombarded with messages every day, encouraging them to build their dreams or “get stuck” building someone else’s. Many people have a glossy image of what it means to operate your own business. However, there is much more to being an entrepreneur than meets the eye. Starting your own business will give you a glimpse into what being an entrepreneur really entails.
You will have to wear many hats in addition to being the CEO, which means you will also have to be the marketing coordinator, the finance accountant, and any other role that needs to be filled at that moment. Only once you peek behind the glossy veneer painted by society about what it means to be an entrepreneur, can you really make a decision about whether it’s for you. If the answer is yes, then you already have a business you can continue and put all your energy into once you graduate. If not, you at least tried and you will have more skills to show any potential employers.
4. Have a conversation starter. You will have to network during your college years, so I’ll let you in on a little secret. People prefer to help those who can tangibly show they are already working towards their dreams. For example, if you are filmmaker, people will be more apt to help you when they know you’ve been out making films. Starting your own side business will give you something to show people who you want to work with or to help you, and you’ll find that your networking efforts will be much more fruitful.
5. Earn extra money. You knew I couldn’t have a list about the benefits of starting a side business in college without mentioning money, right? Here’s the thing. When I entered college for my fall semester, everyone I met had worked hard all summer to come to my school with a decent amount of money (think $1000+). By spring semester, however, everyone’s funds were depleted, and we grimaced at the idea of having to pay over $10 for anything. Your business will you keep some side change in your pocket, which will enable you to do more and have more access to resources and events for career advancement and entertainment.
These are only some of the reasons you should start a side business while you are in college. You will learn new skills and learn whether entrepreneurship is for you. You will also show others you are serious about your future, all while making some extra money on the side and expanding your opportunities. Will starting your own side business be easy? Absolutely not. However, we know that most things of value will not come easily, and you will never regret starting your own side business regardless of the outcome.