The ACTUAL REASON why students aren’t starting companies.
I’m not a whiz kid by any means. Let’s start there.
I’m just an entrepreneur who also happens to have started at a young age.
To me, there’s an obvious reason more students aren’t founders.
Above all the data scientists and common opinions, I think there’s one fear holding students back.
Uncertainty is the KILLER of student founders.
Truly, students fear being thrown into a situation where their path isn’t carved for them. Lack of direction sets people into a panic.
Especially since even the brightest students are used to having their schedules handed to them — soccer practice at 1pm, weekend class at 4pm, homework at 7pm — students would never know how to react when they lose a sense of direction. Eventually, they find themselves quitting.
As a young founder, I’m not far ahead of my peers in most school-related subjects.
But I’m light-years ahead in grit. In the non-tangibles. Things that can’t be taught in school.
School doesn’t prepare students to “figure stuff out.” Students face a hard dilemma when things don’t go their way. And for a founder, that happens more times in a day than I can count.
READ MORE about how to overcome those experiences in OUR GUIDE TO BECOME A STUDENT ENTREPRENEUR.
Every student should start a company.
Having started my consumer tech company at the age of 16, I couldn’t possibly write a blog post covering all that I’ve learned. If you’re curious on what we’re building, check out our website!
These are the 3 largest things I’ve learned as a student founder.
1. You learn how to seek opportunities
I know people my age afraid to send job apps to their first internship. When you’re running a startup, the company is riding on your ability to source opportunities.
Whether that’s sourcing your first beta audience, acquiring leads, or sourcing partnership opportunities, founders are demanded to be really proactive.
Most of all, we’re pushed to our limits, outside of our comfort zone.
2. Problem Solving
This one’s a bit cliche since as kids, we’re taught that everything we do in school helps us with “problem-solving.” Does it really though?
Sure, school may set us up with a foundation to approach problems, but the true experiences lie in being thrown into the deep end.
When a massive deal falls through, product development doesn’t go the way you planned (which it never does), or quarterly growth projections are not met, founders must know how to respond.
It’s a mixture of staying level-headed while also having enough urgency to make quick iterations and improve. And when starting a company, these tools come in handy the most.
Above all, entrepreneurship requires persistence. For students, being persistent is honestly a pretty clear path for them. If you are getting bad grades, study more and go into office hours. If you are about to fail because of attendance, start coming to class more.
There’s nothing worse for a startup than a founder that quits easily.
I’m sure every founder has had this feeling: the combination of now having a clear next step on the back of a massive deal falling through with the rest of the employees to losing morale. In the moment, it would be so easy to give it all up, especially if it’s an early startup without much of an initial first investment.
This is where persistence comes in. When mentally, the cost of continuing honestly outweighs the cost of continuing, yet you just bite down, brush off your coat, and continue on.
In a founder’s journey, moments like these can occur tens of times in the first two years, at a stage where the consequence of “giving up” is still not as large. At a smaller level, founders run into obstacles on a daily basis.
Being persistent above all the noise and setbacks trains someone mentally to be strong and level headed, and can really equip them for anything.