Conventional wisdom says to start a business after you’re established in the world. The average age an entrepreneur launches a new business in this country is 40, according to the Kauffman Foundation for Entrepreneurship.
However, you don’t have to wait – there are plenty of advantages that come with starting up a business while you’re still in school.
Here are some good counter arguments from Forbes…
Avoid the Burden of Responsibility
Approximately 85 percent of students attending college do not have children, according to Women Employed, so the family responsibilities a 40-year-old would have is avoided in the early 20s, in most cases. When you don’t have the pressure and responsibility of supporting other people, you’re more flexible in the types of risk you can take and the amount of income you can bring in from the business. You also aren’t locked into a nine-to-five schedule. Since you have less on your plate, you don’t have to go with the tried and true ideas that probably won’t get much traction.
Take Advantage of College Resources
You can do more than put your room and board into student loans while you’re in school. If your campus has a school of business, take advantage of access to advisers and business groups to network and get help with any issues you run into.
Another college resource to look into is online learning. When you have the flexibility to set your own schedule, it’s easier to work on your business. Colleges such as Penn Foster Education have full degree programs along with certifications that are based entirely online. You have the energy of a 20-something along with the advantage of growing up immersed in Internet culture. Use this to your advantage when it comes to building up your business and brand into a company that supports you even after you get out of school.
You Still Win Even If You Fail
A business failure in college is a disappointing loss, but you get the benefit of using that as real-world work experience. In an economy where post-graduates are told they need to have experience to even get their foot in the door, having a few years as a business owner gives you a big step up. The risk of failure is mitigated by the benefits of experience, especially if your startup is related to your degree program.
This is also why you want to complete your degree program even if your business takes off. A backup plan is a valuable safety net in an unstable business environment. You also have the advantage of making some extra money in school, if you end up being profitable, which is a prospect most college students hope for. After all, there are only so many teacher assistant positions and work-study part-time jobs around campus, and they get snapped up quickly.