When I first launched HeadbandsOfHope.org during my college years, I encountered skepticism from many who thought I was taking on too much. People would tell me that I should be focusing on my studies, that I lacked the necessary experience, and that my class schedule wouldn’t allow for it. However, embarking on this entrepreneurial journey while in college turned out to be an incredibly advantageous decision. Here are five compelling reasons why:
Shatter “20 something” stereotypes:
Millennials are often subjected to negative stereotypes like being lazy, entitled, and addicted to technology. Consequently, when a millennial achieves something remarkable, it tends to garner significant attention. Being a young entrepreneur, I was able to leverage my age to my advantage and gain visibility. Rather than feeling burdened by these stereotypes, I took pride in being a part of the millennial generation.
Utilize professors as mentors:
One of the most significant advantages of starting a business in college is the proximity to knowledgeable professors who can serve as mentors. When the idea for Headbands of Hope took root, I lacked a background in business or product manufacturing. Fortunately, I was surrounded by academic experts who offered mentorship and free small business consulting. Their guidance was invaluable in answering my questions and assisting me in taking my first steps.
Harness the power of numbers:
College campuses are teeming with peers who can rally behind a shared cause. The unity and support that you witness at university events are remarkable. This camaraderie extends to entrepreneurial endeavors. When I first started, my primary market was the student body at my university. As these students spread the word to their friends and families, my mission gained momentum, creating a ripple effect across the nation. Additionally, college students are avid users of social media, offering a solid foundation for building an online presence.
Embrace reduced responsibilities:
College life comes with its fair share of responsibilities, but it pales in comparison to what awaits in the “real world” after graduation. Most college students don’t have children, mortgages, or dependents to support. This period is an excellent opportunity to be a bit selfish, channeling your heart, soul, and finances into something you’re passionate about. With fewer life responsibilities, taking calculated business risks becomes easier.
Make the most of a forgiving environment:
In college, you have the freedom to make mistakes and embrace failure as part of the learning process. Think of your college years as life’s greatest do-over period. It’s perfectly acceptable to falter because it means you’re trying and learning. If you’re not experiencing some degree of discomfort, it suggests you’re not pushing yourself enough. When things don’t go as planned during college, these experiences turn into valuable life lessons that you carry with you, providing deeper insight into the world around you. The freedom to fail now is a stepping stone to future success.