Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go. – T. S. Eliot
If you are a college student or a recent graduate there is no better time to pursue your dreams, no matter how risky it is. If you have any type of entrepreneurial spirit within you and want to start your own company or work for a start up there is no better time than the present. Being an entrepreneur can be scary. Most people will doubt you and your ass is always on the hotseat as those who dont work hard are quickly weeded out. However, turning that risk into a big reward is one of the best feelings in the world. You have the rest of your life to work at large corporation and take the safe way out. Here are 5 reasons why you should take a risk.
1. Right now you have less responsibility you will ever have.
Odds are you do not have kids and a family to take care of at this point in your life. You also do not have a massive overhead other than college loans to take care of. 10 years from now when you have a family taking a risk like this will be a lot less practical as the money you bring home will not just be for yourself.
2. Reward outweighs risk right now.
Worst comes to worst the company crashes and burns in a few years and all of a sudden your 24-26 years old with a ton of great experience. However, the company could really take off and you could be made man (or woman) before the age of 30.
3. If you apply yourself you WILL learn how to run a business.
4. You will find out if you are cut out to be an entrepreneur.
Not everyone is made to be an entrepreneur. There are massive highs and even terrible lows and some people cannot deal with the volatility. I personally embrace the volatility.
5. That big company is not going anywhere.
That company will always be there and odds are you will get a higher position after a few years of high level work within a small company vs a student fresh out of college.
Of course with any risk it should be a calculated risk and not a blind one. Do not just try and start a company without doing any research or join a start up company whose product you do not believe in. As with anything research, research, and research some more to minimize risk as much as possible. So go ahead, take a risk, live on the edge and live with no regrets.
I have been working at CampusLIVE now for over a year and have noticed there are a lot of perks with working at a start up. Other than the fame, groupies, lack of dress code, VIP treatment at clubs and free stuff there are a lot of reasons why I see myself working at a start-up in the future. Here are just a few reasons why.
1. Team Camaraderie
The closeness of everyone within the company reminds me of when I used to play competitive sports. Everyone is selfless and willing to help you out. Everyone is also viewed as an equal from the interns all the way up to the CEO. The COO even gave me his chair when he saw that mine was a bit broken.
At a start up you can take on as much responsibility as you want. There is never a moment where you will not have work to do and I have been taking great advantage of this.
You get to learn the in’s and out’s of how to run a company and how efficient companies operate. I personally report to the COO, CEO and VP of marketing and have the opportunity to learn from all of them.
Working at a start-up is quite the roller coaster ride. Everyday presents new problems and successes so you never really know what to expect. I personally like not working on a rigid schedule as you have the freedom to attack problems in the manner you feel is best.
5. Work Hard, Play Hard
Even though at CampusLIVE we are probably working more hours vs a more traditional job we are rewarded with awesome company parties , unlimited paid vacation time/sick days and some fun things to do in office (foosball, ping pong, hamster (RIP Mr. Trump 2010-2012)).
These are just some of the reasons why I envision myself staying in the start-up sector for a long time to come. Can you think of any more reasons why someone would want to work at a start up?
As I have been watching the Boston Celtics play in the 2012 NBA playoffs I have noticed numerous parallels between the way the play and what it is like to work in a start up. To those who have not been paying close attention to the playoffs here is what I have noticed about the Celtics.
1. No matter how big their lead is in the first half, it always gets tight in the 4th quarter.
2. Even when everything seems to be going great everything can melt down quickly.
3. If one starter is not playing well the whole team is out of whack.
4. The reason why the Celtics beat the 76ers and the Hawks is not because they had more talent, but because they work better as a team.
5. Even when you have the best support in the world (Boston Fans) you can still lose.
Now how does the way the Celtics play compare to working in a start up? Lets see
1. No matter how good you are doing one day none of it matters unless you can perform in crunch time. When all the projects have been piled on and you feel like you overwhelmed will you fold or will you perform?
2. Even though everything can seem to be going great with your start up everything can flip very quickly and all of a sudden you can be out of a job just like that.
3. Everyone needs to be performing at a high level in a start-up and when one person doesn’t show up to work or isn’t doing their job well the whole team feels it.
4. Communication is key in start ups as every position is so interrelated with each other. Start-ups look to hire team players and people who can perform well in numerous positions.
5. Even if you have all the money in the world and a good team sometimes things just do not work out.
Another way they are similar for me personally is that I love the Celtics and I love working in a start-up. The one main difference I have noticed though is everyone in the office is not above the height of 6’5 (Thank God).
It is about that time of year where you know if you are going to be interning somewhere this summer. Applications for the most part have closed and decisions have been made. If you were on the sour end of the decision process do not despair there are still plenty of ways to make sure you have a productive summer.
1. Find a job.
Even if that means you need to go back to bagging groceries find a way to make consistent money. After all what good is summer break if you don’t have money?
2. Ask the company/companies that denied you why they denied you and if there is any way you can contribute.
Get the feedback to find out why your application was not a success to increase your chances next time you apply. Also, odds are if you ask them if you can do free work they will give you some basic data entry to do. This gets your foot in the door and it may develop into an internship.
Reach out to any company that really interests you and try to set up a lunch meeting with one of their employees. This will open up many doors for you and again may develop into an internship. Ask your mom or dad if you can go into work with them for a day even if their job is not necessarily what you want to do. Ask a friend with an internship if it would be possible for you to go into the office to visit.
4. Figure out ways to increase your value.
Research the stock market. Learn how to use excel. Learn how to code. A good website to learn how to code is here and its 100% free. There are plenty of things you can do to increase your self worth to heighten your odds of getting the internship the next time around.
5. Read and write.
There is no better way to sharpen your mind then by reading and writing. Read books that will help you out and that are practical. I would recommend Never Eat Alone by Keith Ferrazzi to anyone and the Intelligent Investor by Benjamin Graham to any business majors.
6. Help out around the house
Luckily for us not finding a job is not the end of the world as we still have a roof over our heads and food in the fridge. Be grateful for these things and show your appreciation by doing chores and playing your part in the house. We are never to old to show our parents we care and that we appreciate what they do for us.
It is not the end of the world that you did not get an internship this summer. I was in your same shoes a couple summers ago but I was able to rebound from that and not let the sea of rejection letters discourage me. Think of the summer as being 4 months of preparation so you can really go in and dominate your internship next year. If anyone wants any more advice on what to do in your spare time this summer feel free to tweet at me @aghanomics212.
Can you think of anymore ways to be productive without having an internship?