Ask a 4th year business class “how many of you want to be entrepreneurs?” and about half the class will raise their hands. Follow up with the question of when and the answers begin to scatter.
“In 5 years”
“In 10 years”
“Once I get some industry experience”
“When the time is right”
Let me tell you, the time is right, right now. As a recent graduate, I can tell you there’s no faster way to prepare yourself for entrepreneurship than jumping in.
Here’s five reasons why:
The most friends you’ll ever have
When I was growing up, my dad always used to say “make a friend a day”. It’s a nice thought, but as you get older making friends gets harder, and keeping in touch does as well. Take advantage of your current young, energetic network of friends to super-charge your entrepreneurial endeavours. It’ll only be so many years before they stop liking every one of your Facebook posts, retweeting your business updates on command and gushing about their entrepreneurial friend who said “I’ll pass” to top recruiters.
Everyone loves helping young people
The act of helping young business minds gives a sense of pride; most business leaders will accept the request for help with open arms. Opening yourself up to input from others will allow you to weigh decisions more clearly and avoid common mistakes. While advice will sometimes (…most of the time) be conflicting, it is still a crucial step towards landing on a well calculated response to your most difficult challenges. Plus, help doesn’t come solely in the form of advice. As a young entrepreneur you’ll find yourself getting other perks such as affordable office space and legal counsel.
You’re deadline driven
The Creative Destruction Lab at Rotman observes that the greatest weakness of smart, passionate, and dedicated (but inexperienced) entrepreneurs is the allocation of their scarce resources. The scarcity of these resources such as time and capital makes it increasingly important to work with a deadline-driven mentality, always working towards business milestones and not letting your focus stray. Staying up all night to cram for an exam? Don’t lose that gusto, it will actually serve you well as an entrepreneur. Set milestones for yourself and do everything possible to hit them.
No one expects you to know it all
While asking for help is not always the easiest thing to do, it’s a heck of a lot easier to do when no one would ever expect you to know the answers. Questions like “I’ve never raised a seed round before, any advice?” or “How do I set up employee payroll” are answered with open arms when they come from a 22-year old entrepreneur. The more questions you ask, the faster you will learn and soon, you’ll be the one dishing out advice on how to get started.
As a recent grad, you will be relatively financially free, student loans aside, which means you will be at a place in your life when you can afford to take a risk. Seem scary? Take that and multiply it by 10 when you have condo payments and a family to support. Entrepreneurship will always be a risk, so if it’s a path you’re passionate about, there is no better time to start learning then now. In addition to not having as many financial commitments, lots of recent grads also have the luxury of a security blanket in the form of friends and family. If you’re going to take a risk, there’s no better time to do so then when you can still get away with moving back in with your parents and living on a student budget.
Mallorie Brodie Co-Founded Bridgit, a mobile and web communication platform for the construction industry, while in her last year of school. She holds an Honours in Business Administration and a certificate in Entrepreneurship from the prestigious Richard Ivey School of Business, and was recently named one of Canada’s top 36 high impact individuals of 2013.