12 Reasons to Start a Business in College: From Bill Gates to Mark Zuckerberg

There are pros and cons to starting a business while you’re in college. The fact that you’re young is an advantage but your lack of business experience is not. This is because the only way to avoid certain mistakes is through experience. On the other hand, being at college gives you a chance to experiment and take risks you may never have again.

But balancing studies with starting a business isn’t for everyone. You may feel you don’t have the time to build a business because of your studies. However, many colleges are realizing they need to offer more practical experience. Starting a business in college may be the most challenging thing you will ever do. But it may force you to grow in ways you never thought possible.

Think of some famous CEOs who got their start while they were still in college. They include Michael Dell of Dell Computers, Bill Gates and Paul Allen of Microsoft, and Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook. And did you know it was undergraduates who started Reddit.com? Many entrepreneurs are in their 20’s. According to the Kauffman Foundation, about a third of business incubators are located at colleges.

In the current economic climate, the job market is hard to crack, even for seasoned professionals. You may feel the need to be entrepreneurial because you realize jobs aren’t going to fall into your lap. It may not be easy to juggle assignments, classes and business tasks, but it is possible. By the time you graduate, you could be ready to expand at a time when your fellow students are just starting out. Here are some reasons why it’s a good idea.

1. You Have Nothing to Lose

When in college, you have nothing to lose, so what about failure? Starting a business while you are at college means you can fail without dire consequences. At this stage of your life, you probably don’t have a mortgage, a job to risk or kids to support. So, it’s much easier to pick yourself up and go on to the next idea if the first one fails.

And what about money? As a student, you are probably used to not having much money anyway. You don’t have to pay your student loans until after graduating. And if your idea is successful, you will be able to pay them off more quickly.

How about approval? Your parents may question starting a business at college when you should be focusing on your studies. It’s probably better to keep the fact on the down low for a while. As long as your studies don’t suffer, they won’t have a problem. You may be able to surprise them later with the news you are running a successful business.

And finally, are there any risks? The risks are low and the rewards can be great. People learn by doing, and starting a business is a good way to start doing. Plus, you can make practical use of the skills you learn in class. This could be difficult if the classes you take are not related to your business.

So, make sure you are taking relevant classes. Your business and your studies should complement one another. For instance, if you are taking a class on how to draw up a business plan, this is the best way to practice this skill.