Chronicals of Student Entrepreneurship

As Student Its inspiring experience to be a Entrepreneur . I took my first digg at Entrepreneurship when I was in second year of Diploma , around 18 Year old . We were not able enough to even spell Entrepreneurship back in those days, We never heard of this  french-inspired heavy word which I still can-not spell , yet !  Or never really know that what we were doing had a cool word  ,wait for it … “Startup ” .

We were just passionate and crazy enough to push ourselves to do something we really thought is cool thing.  ( I do remember 2 nights we spend discussing concept of ifriends.com , a website that could be more than Forum board, which will allow people to add others as a friend and share there photos , stories and questions with other friends , then I went on to build a prototype with iframes and html . We dropped the idea as ifriends.com domain was not available , and yes, It was year 2001 , before all those social sites )

There is this theory , which I have narrated to lot of people whom I have meet personally over the period of time , and up-till now, it has done great Job of inspiring people to start something of there own . It goes like this,

“You are not going to be Sachin Tendulkar and score 100 centuries in International Cricket , you are not going to swim English canal , You are also not going to climb Mount Everest(well few of you might )  , You are not going to be SRK or Tom Cruise or Brad Pitt  , But there is one thing that you can do which might bring you very closer to the experience , Excitement and Challenging environment of above all is to “Start a Company of your own”  .

If you know what I mean by above theory , then you got it and you are in this for right reason. If above theory is not something that you were able to relate to then your idea of Entrepreneurship is still lot of work in progress.

Students

I would apply above theory for Students , ” There are lot of things you are not going to do which lot of students have done it or going to do , e.g Kids who acted in harry Potter Movie , the ones which are wining NASA contests, Maths Olympiad , Science Shows or Debate Contests  etc , But Starting a Company with bunch of friends in your dorm room /Hostel is one thing which can bring you closer to that experience and Excitement “

When I was student doing my time at Diploma and Engineering colleges , I used to get utterly bored with classroom non-sense. Not that I has a bad teacher or college , I can surely tell you the whole system was trying very hard , but It was just not into me to sit there and act as I am interested . I saw some were very good at acting though , good for them , definitely not for me.

As result , when ever the term was about to over , and there is gap of around 1 month before term exam , I use to start with new Venture Idea with bunch of friends . When everyone from my batch/Hostel use to busy with study , I use to indulge into building a startup . Lot of those ideas were short lived after the finish of Term Exams .

If you are aware of Malcolm Gladwell’s Book Outlier , He mentioned a 10,000 Hours Rule in very detail. Although its very controversial, Its one of the well accepted and researched theories . In short , if you hope to be Entrepreneur in near future , then Its better to start early , and if you start at 18-20 year old , then by the time you are 28-30 , you already had a experience of being entrepreneur which goes back around 10 years. Its pretty much more than 10,000+ Hours of experience of being An Entrepreneur and doing every aspect of it like Building team , working on solutions , Hiring , Firing , Raising Capital , Building Offices, Draw Market Strategy , Sales , Legal etc.  So Sooner you start , better you are going to be .

Crowd As Student Entrepreneurship is about learning early to what it takes to build something meaningful . How to make a runaway in most hopeless environment around you ?  ,  How to get excited your room-partner, batch-mate to also take plunge ?, How to look beyond marks, scores ,results and more importantly beyond campus placements ? How to make that  first slogan , first logo , first name and first sale ?

Lot of those ventures are going to short lived , everyone getting involved will have multiple different agendas(including good on resume, good for MBA ,good for foreign university admission , good to get a job at other startup )    , you are bound to make a mistakes in almost all of those areas , there are going to be fights , disagreement , walkouts etc, worst case you are going to lose  friends (and might fail in some exams or even year ) . But the learning and experience you are going to get out of it , Its Worth It .

What use to be weakness in traditional sense , are no more weakness, but has become a strength in  a context of Student Entrepreneurship, e.g inexperience , No Capital , no professional experience or network etc.

There are number of challenges or  things that could go wrong e.g

  1.  Money  -> Do not focus on making money , Focus on creating value.
  2. Education -> Starting up is nothing but alternate education ,the one which complement to mainstream education , Make sure to complete mainstream education too.
  3. Social Outcast -> When there is 90% of your batch is focusing on campus placement , and you are one of the 10% who is busy working in hostel room, You are Outcast , and No matter how you see it , they think you are stupid to involved in something like this. (I dont think anyone from my Engineering class really remembers me or knows me as I never attended class for most of the years )
  4. Chicken Entrepreneur  -> There is this term I heard somewhere being used for entrepreneurs who starts at 23-24 , but loses steam and chicken out early too. This can very well happen to you as well .

But apart from Above , there is one thing which is true and i.e
“In the End , and if you stay till the end , Everyone Wins ”

Image Credit : http://www.flickr.com/photos/eit_ict_labs/

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