This week’s blog is from Andy Cabistan, eternal optimist, enterprising entrepreneur, and man with a ready smile for all he encounters. For the college (or high school) students out there, Andy has some valuable reasons for jumping on the entrepreneur train now rather than waiting at the station. Read on as Andy shares his excitement with what can be, especially when you are surrounded by resources! FYI – – The Creative Coast’s blogspot is Savannah’s sounding board for local thinkers, innovators, wanderers and wonderers. Guest bloggers share their thoughts, opinions and creative noodling from all over the map…
I have started two companies during my college career. My first company started in my senior year of college. This was an intracity delivery service through a mobile app. The company ended up failing before going to market. Yes, I know… it sounds sad, but stay with me. This venture taught me invaluable lessons that I applied later in grad school when I started my second venture, Watson. At Watson we are bettering the way that teams work, communicate, and reach their goals through psychometric tools and communication development workshops. From my experience as a young entrepreneur I am convinced that college is the best time to venture into the business world.
I have compiled four reasons why students should consider building a startup during their college careers. I am writing this for the brave, the originals, and the innovators that can’t conform to the status quo and want to build a better world:
- Technology: We are entering the 4th Industrial Revolution. This is the digital age where technology is cheaper than ever. Having a laptop with access to the internet is all you need to build an app, program a robot, manage a crowdfunding campaign or 3D print a kidney — Yes! You read that right. Someone already did that. Sensors, networks, virtual reality, robotics, and artificial intelligence are some of the technologies that will change the world economy in the next decade. Right now is the best time to learn about these technologies and start building stuff that can turn into businesses.
Richard Branson once said: “If you can improve people’s lives, you have a business.”
- Teamwork: You can reach out to your peers in different college departments and team up to participate in business competitions and work together towards building a product or a service. Great things don’t happen by one person. Great things happen by passionate teams of people with various expertise hustling towards the same vision. I found the team members for my first startup through courses I took during my undergraduate career. After our venture failed, we then moved on to better ventures and opportunities. This failure was the stepping stone to new horizons.
- Mentors: You have access to the masterminds of your faculty members that are often willing to give you advice and work with you in order to see you succeed. You just have to ask and knock on their doors for them to help you. I have received thousands of dollars worth of advice for free from many of my professors. Universities also have access to their local communities and networks of alumni affairs where you can find key mentors for your next endeavor.
- Experience: Complementing what you learn in class with real-world practice is the best way to learn and grow. You have more opportunities to relate classroom materials with your personal experiences. There is no bad side to building a startup. You either succeed and make money while fixing someone else’s problem, or you fail and have the chance to add that experience to your resume and tell an awesome story. Stories are what inspire people to hire you or get you on board for new projects. Company executives respect courage and initiative. I found the investors and business partners for Watson through entrepreneurship events at The Creative Coast combined with my work ethic and drive to make ideas come a reality.
Building a company is hard. It takes passion, hard work, and sacrifice to make something remarkable. You will be anxious, excited, pumped, frustrated, depressed, and many other nouns that may come to your mind. The only constant in entrepreneurship is change, but that’s what makes the game worth playing. The ones who win are the ones who persevere to the end and are able to grind through the obstacles and challenges that will present every day.
I hope I was able to convince you to start hustling and join the rising community of entrepreneurs. You should check the latest episode of my podcast, Key Players, where I dive into the story of how Watson began: https://soundcloud.com/keyplayers/8-watson-beginnings
See you in the field!