This post by Khaled Hashem appears as part of our series Small Business 500.
As a student, I often hear many of my classmates discussing how they aspire to one day start their own businesses, and find myself wondering why that one day can’t be today! I’m a strong believer that being a student is the optimal time to start a business, and that seizing this opportunity can have great impact on a student’s future career!
1. You have something to fall back on – your career!
As a student, failure should be the least of your worries. For many students, this time of your life involves fewer responsibilities, more spare time, and less bills to pay. If you can manage school along-side your startup, then now is a low-risk time because you’ll have your career as a backup if your business doesn’t go as planned. So why not start now, when failing doesn’t have as great a consequence?!
2. Free help, advice, and mentors
Being a student gives you access to professors, staff, and other mentors and puts a plethora of resources at your fingertips. In addition, successful entrepreneurs and industry leaders who you may look up to and want to approach for advice are more likely to make time for passionate and driven students that are just starting on the path to entrepreneurship. The free advice and help that you will get as a student will give you an edgeover any other company that has to keep consultants on their pay roll for similar advice.
3. Best place to find cofounders
Startups often depend on two or three key individuals who bring necessary skills to the team, and who all passionately believe in the key idea. Where better to find like-minded, ambitious, and committed cofounders than at your school? It’s no coincidence that many of today’s successful businesses were launched by students still in school, including Google and Facebook.
4. Good experience at a young age
Even if you plan to eventually settle down as an employee of a different company, starting your own company is still the perfect addition to any resume: Your startup is an illustration of creativity, leadership, and innovation. You’ll learn life skills at a young age, build your network, and get to experience things that working as an employee wouldn’t expose you to.
5. Opportunity to try more than once
Many successful entrepreneurs get their lucky break on their second, third, or even fourth venture, while others stick with the same business but go through a pivot or two before realizing its true potential. Starting a business as a student means that you have a lot of time to expand and grow the business if it ends up being the right idea. If not, you can learn from your first startup and have plenty of time to get right back up and start your next big endeavor!
Khaled Hashem is the Chief Marketing Officer of NoteWagon, a note-sharing platform that allows students to download other students’ notes. He’s also a full-time engineering student at the University of Toronto, balancing six courses, NoteWagon, and a side-business. Right now, he’s in the planning stages of his latest startup, a mobile app business.
The information and tips we’re sharing in this article are meant to be a starting point for your year-end tax prep, so you can be informed and feel confident when working with your accountant. Be sure to check with a tax expert in your country or region for any specific advice you need, as each business (and tax district) is different. As our lawyers would say: “This article is for informational purposes only. It should not be considered legal or financial advice.”