Wisdom for Student Founders

picture courtesy of #WOCinTechChat

Written by Denisha Kuhlor

Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, and Evan Spiegel. These are just some of the uber-famous names that come to mind when one thinks student founder. One can not help the grandeur that has been associated with dorm room startups over the years. Start a business in your dorm room and a couple of years later instead of collecting a degree you will be receiving millions. If only it were that easy. The harsh truth is startups founded in the college years are no different to the dismal statistics that surround business success. While student founders may not have full-time jobs, we do have a full-time commitment to schooling. Although it may seem impossible at times following these tips will help make life as a student founder a little easier.

Your Student ID is the Ultimate Founder Pass

When you are a student founder most times you do not even have a boot to strap. Every penny spent needs to be accounted for and to maximize your savings; you must take advantage of your holy grail, your student id. Most people conveniently tune out at freshman orientation when they are describing the benefits of your student id. While many students quickly realize the discounts their id brings them on-campus many are not aware of the off-campus benefits a student id brings. $500 conference you want to attend? Email the organizers tell them you’re a student and ask if they offer any student discounts. You will be surprised at how many organizers are eager to comp the ticket or let you attend at a steeply discounted price. Always ask if there is a student discount. You will be shocked at how much money you save.

Plan Your Schedule Wisely

Money and Time. Two of the biggest reasons why startups fail. We’ve figured out an easy way to deal with the first one but increasing the amount of time you have available to work on your startup is going to take a little more effort. You must first start with your class schedule. This is going to be the single biggest influencer when it comes to doing things related to your startups (phone calls, pitching, meetings, etc.) A trick I like to use is complete free days and early classes. When making my schedule, I try to allow one free day in the week that I can dedicate completely to business related activities. This is great because you can only schedule all your meetings on that day. You do not feel this constant pressure to check your phone or watch to make sure that you are going to be on time for your next class. When planning your schedule having a free day is just as important as making sure that you take your classes as early as possible. I know what you are thinking, “I am not a morning person. I do not want to to wake up early”. Building a startup requires you doing a lot of things that you do not want to do so now is the time to get used to it. Scheduling your classes in the morning allows you to finish earlier so you have availability during business hours for (phone calls, responding to emails, taking meetings, etc.). Having free time to work on your startup is important but the time of your day which you are free is even more crucial. Plan accordingly.

Take A Rest Day

Social media and the crazy amount of articles dedicated to productivity have sparked a workaholic culture where we think it is okay to work 24/7 all the time. Burn out is real folks, and the best way to deal with it is by preventing it. Always account for a little r&r time when planning your schedule. Whether it is a weekend off or turning your “meeting day” into a “you day”. Without you, your startup can not grow, so there is nothing wrong with taking a day to yourself to come back better than ever!

I hope these tips helped you! What are some creative tips or tricks you would recommend to other student founders?


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Michael Berhane, Founder of POCIT

Student Founder of Plucked, a new way to look at college admissions!

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