The Characteristics of Those Who Start a Business While In School

by / ⠀Startup Advice / October 22, 2012

Hopefully you already know the golden rule of communication: everyone loves to talk about themselves. However, I deviate from this in the sense that I use my selfishness – desire to talk about myself – in a selfless way. I never talk about myself without purpose. The simple act of talking about oneself seems to be the grim reaper of time management; anyone can go on and on about themselves. Before you know it, you could be talking about yourself for a good twenty minutes in conversation without taking a breath. Alas, I won’t do that. However, I must subject myself as I write, for if I don’t, you may not believe what I am about to tell you.

Any student in a formal education system has all the time they need to work on building their business. Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to skip (or even finish) going to college to create a startup, you can do them at the same time. In fact, what better environment to be in while working on a start-up than an educational institution full of proven research, prime examples, and a number of potential mentors? The only question to ask yourself is: do you believe a startup can be done while attending college? For most, they may answer “yes”, but their actions and behaviors prove differently.

Let’s look at a typical college student’s schedule (this is also the part where I will start talking about myself. Prepare yourself!). The minimum number of credit hours a student takes to be considered a full-time student is generally 12. For generosities sake, let’s imagine that a student is taking 14 credit hours, an average. The typical day for this student goes like this: wake up, class, chill time with friends, class, chill time alone, homework, and then sleep. This student has a mind-set of starting a business as so many others do, but insists that she is just too busy or exhausted. A student myself, I am taking 17 credit hours of classes. I am also working 40 hours a week at a State agency. In addition, I am a Ghostwriter and editor for a private employer which consumes one to three hours every Saturday. I also dedicate an average of two hours a day to writing on my own blog or working on articles I hope to be published in various magazines and online websites. In my free time – oh yes, I do indeed have free time – I am lifting weights or running. Lastly, you may believe it or not, I also get an average of eight hours of sleep each night!

When I first began this lifestyle and people asked me how many classes I was taking, how many hours I was working, and after hearing the answers, ask me how I did it all, I would simply shrug and say “I don’t know.” This simplistic response is not one you deserve, you deserve to know how. I have three short explanations for you, they justify success.

1. Almost everywhere I look in my life, I have reminders to just do it. Just do it now. I absolutely love making lists, priorities, and to-do’s, but making lists doesn’t actually get anything done. The mind-set to have is that as you write each item on a list, you ask, “Can I do this right now?” If so, put your thought or idea into action immediately, just do it and just do it now. Lists are meant to motivate you to check them off but the successful entrepreneurs use them to check items off right away!

2. Most are so caught up in writing the perfect book, overplanning, critiquing and editing an idea over and over. I complete and ship at least one thing a day. Just ship. My day does not end until I have given to the world something of my own no matter the condition. It does one justice to understand that the world no longer wants from you one perfect book, one perfect business, one perfect anything. The world wants everything you’ve got and the only way to become successful is to keep giving, keep shipping, every day, just ship something! (HT to Seth Godin) Above all, the more you do, the better you get at doing it. An artist can’t make a fortune by just creating art, she must ship it.

3. This last explanation may be difficult to comprehend. I will do my best to justify time in only a few sentences. The more you do what you love, the more time you have to do more of what you love. Ask anyone here on Under30CEO, they will attest to it. When a student says they are busy, they commonly mean that it is going to take time for them to do what they don’t want to do. When someone successful says they are busy, they mean that they are pouring their passion into everything possible because they care about it. They care about creating change, creating a business, creating a tribe, and creating in general! Since I love all that I do, it doesn’t take long to do it and allows me to do even more of what I love. How I love what I do is quite possibly a subject for another post if you are interested.

If you have stuck around listening to me talk about myself this long, I salute you. You may be feeling that I have been gloating, you may even feel that my intentions were to insult the amount of effort you’re currently putting towards your passion – whether it is creating a startup or becoming a well-known public relations specialist like myself – I won’t argue either assumptions. What I will do though is end on this note. I fully believe that I can do so much more every day and that you can do more than that.

Garth is a Journalist, Freelancer and PR Specialist in training who lives in Madison, WI. When he’s not in front of a computer screen reading, researching, or writing at www.GarthBox, he is being spontaneously artsy wherever his feet take him in hopes to connect with other like-minded people. @TheGarthBox

About The Author

Matt Wilson

Matt Wilson is Co-Founder of Under30Experiences, a travel company for young people ages 21-35. He is the original Co-founder of Under30CEO (Acquired 2016). Matt is the Host of the Live Different Podcast and has 50+ Five Star iTunes Ratings on Health, Fitness, Business and Travel. He brings a unique, uncensored approach to his interviews and writing. His work is published on, Forbes, Inc. Magazine, Huffington Post, Reuters, and many others. Matt hosts yoga and fitness retreats in his free time and buys all his food from an organic farm in the jungle of Costa Rica where he lives. He is a shareholder of the Green Bay Packers.