Welcome to Episode 6 of Rules Aren't Real! In this episode, we're debunking the rule: "You can't start at CEO." Or in other words, you shouldn't just start a business - you should learn on OPM (other people's money) first - in particular when you're fresh out of college. Since we're all about fucking up society's rules, we're going to focus instead on what you should consider if you do want to launch a startup right after college. What's your motivation? Who's in your network? Do you have the right personality to survive entrepreneurship?
We will also cover a bunch of great tips for anyone who's ready to make the leap and launch a startup. PROTIP: Be passionate, or don't bother! Can't wait to hear what you think! Hit us up at www.facebook.com/rarpodcast with any questions or thoughts you'd like to share. Have you already started a business? What are your best tips? We're dying to know!
READING / RESOURCES:
From New Grad to Entrepreneur: Starting A Business Right After College
The Muse, by Melinda Price
- Consider working part-time as you start your business
- Build a huge network
- Remember networking isn't just networking events - it's making an effort to meet and speak to new people no matter where you are
- Be relentless about getting business - even if it means starting pro-bono
- Don't compare yourself to others: "Whenever you’re taking the road less traveled, it’s important not to compare yourself to others who aren’t on the same path. Especially as an entrepreneur, it can be easy to feel jealous of friends or peers who took the traditional career path—and of their salaries."
- In some ways, it's easier to make this move right out of college: “It’s going to be much harder to start a business when you are already committed to a secure ‘real’ job and have a family to provide for," says Kelsey. “Now is the time to do it!”
- In the same way, you also have fewer financial obligations - no mortgage, kids, wedding to save up for, etc.
Is it Possible to Start a Business Startup Right After College?
Small Business Trends, by Richard White
- What's motivating you? If you just want to get rich quick, "escape the corporate grind", or work fewer hours - you might be in for a letdown.
- Entrepreneurs often put in way MORE work than salaried job holders who work for someone else. You have to be every aspect of the business when you start - legal, accounting, new business development, marketing, advertising, branding, design, HR - and we haven't even gotten to your actual offering yet!
- Are you passionate enough about what you plan to offer to take you through all the days when you're just busting hump?
- Is your business a service, or a product? Service-oriented businesses are easier to start when you don't have any capital jumping into it - which is most often the case for recent graduates. Especially with the wealth of resources that you have online, at your fingertips. You can build your own website, get google voice for a free business number, use Basecamp to manage your projects and team, get a virtual receptionist if you need one, and so much more.
- When you're ready to build your business, start by outsourcing to freelancers rather than taking on employees. It's much simpler and cheaper, no matter how you look at it.
- Seek advice!! Talk to successful entrepreneurs - take them out to lunch and pick their brains. Ask your parents, your professors. Ask anyone who may have even one kernel of good advice - you're going to need it!
What I wish I'd Known After Graduation: A Guide
Forbes, by Kyle Wong
- Get comfortable with uncertainty: "The uncertainty and lack of direction can drive entrepreneurs crazy; learning how to deal with it will help you stay focused and sane."
- Know what you don't know: "In school, grades often tell you if you aren’t good at something. But in startups, there are no “grades,” and as a result you have to be self aware and honest with yourself about your strengths and weaknesses. Your job is to understand your needs and attract the right people and resources to help you."
- Build for how you want the world to work: "As a fresh college grad you probably don’t have a lot of industry experience. This can be a good thing because you don’t come to the table with preconceived biases of how things are done. It allows you to dream big and challenge the status quo."
- There's nothing more important than your founding team - which is now your new family: "Shared vision and belief besides having the same energy and passion for the startup are pre-requisites, but more important is having the right set of skills in the team to hustle your way through in the initial days."
- Plan your personal and startup finances carefully
- Starting up is not a job, it's a lifestyle: ditch all the connotations and assumptions you have about what "work" looks like. This isn't something you get to walk away from at 5pm. (ALSO - you need to be your own HR person and tell yourself to go on vacation or get a massage sometimes!)
- Building a company isn't glamorous - it's grit and hard work: "Young kids graduating from college tend to be attracted by all the rags-to-riches stories, big-ticket funding news, flowery speeches at conferences, awe-inspiring articles and self-vindicating quotes from famous startup personalities..."
- "Successful companies are not built in a day; entrepreneurs are not made overnight; it takes years of relentless persistence, hardwork, grit and determination to accomplish one’s mission, turn dreams into reality and create substantial value in the society. The journey is filled with multiple failures and small victories."
- Get ready to live outside your comfort zone!
- Funding is a means to an end, not an end in itself: "What we all need to realise is that startup funding is not equivalent to business validation and that it does not guarantee success at all. If that was really the case, then no funded startup would ever fail. Some experts believe that almost three out of four startups who receive their first round of capital either fail to raise a subsequent round or fail completely. Always remember: the only people who can validate your concept are your users or customers."
Should You Start A Business Right Out of College?
Fortune, by Anne Fischer
- “The Mark Zuckerbergs of the world make startups look easy, but the cold hard facts are that 9 out of 10 new businesses fail in the first five years,” notes Carol Roth, a Chicago-based business strategist who has helped her startup clients raise over $1 billion in capital. Roth also wrote a New York Times bestseller, The Entrepreneur Equation: Evaluating the Realities, Risks and Rewards of Having Your Own Business.
- Before you make up your mind about which way to go, Roth says, take a hard, honest look at your motivation for starting a company. Too many entrepreneurial wannabes of all ages (not just new grads) are “looking to get rich, escape the corporate grind, and work shorter hours with more free time,” she observes.
- What is the question that you MUST solve? That drives you crazy when you go to bed and when you wake up? That you know you could do/make better?
- Susan Spencer - attorney and former general manager and part owner of the Philadelphia Eagles, Spencer also launched two thriving businesses and wrote a book called Briefcase Essentials. “Many young entrepreneurs fail because they take on employees, which means overhead, too quickly. The less financial pressure you put on yourself at the outset, the more likely you are to succeed,” she says.
- Do you have the personality to do everything by and for yourself for a year or more?
- Reach out to a network of fellow fledgling business owners for advice and support. Roth recommends a nationwide group called the Young Entrepreneur Council, which “offers good tools for recent grads looking to create a startup.”
- Susan Spencer says. “Find a few successful entrepreneurs to be your informal advisory board,” she suggests. “They can be a great sounding board for your ideas. They can also help your business grow faster by, for instance, introducing you to bankers.”
- A lot of people tell you to get a job in the industry before you launch your startup. But a startup is a great idea even if you want to land an industry job in the future. Businesses love to hire people who have started successful businesses in the past because it gives them an unparalleled business education!
ARGUMENTS FROM THE OTHER SIDE (RULE KEEPERS):
3 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Start A Company Right After College
Inc Magazine, by AJ Agrawal
- You don't have much time to learn from your mistakes
- You don't understand basic business practices, which will cause problems
- You have to grow up way too fast