Facebook, Reddit, Snapchat, and even Insomnia Cookies. All started by college students during their undergrad years in college. The idea of being your own boss, working when you want to work and doing what you want to do, is certainly an appealing concept to many of us college students. The power of the internet makes the idea even more tantalizing. Our generation was the first to grow up with the concept of internet millionaires as a reality. Starting your own business right now, while you’re in college, may be more achievable than you think.
As college students, we think about our future constantly. We all want to be successful in our lives, whatever that definition of successful may be. Because of this ambition and concern for our future, many of us have also considered starting our own business. What would it be like to become an entrepreneur right now? Can I become successful? Maybe now is a good time to get started on that app you’ve been thinking about. One such person who decided to take the leap and not wait to start their business is Kelsey Wilson, who has taken her photography to the professional level.
Kelsey realized that she was good enough at what she loved to potentially make a living off of it, and started K. Renee Photography in 2016. At first, her business was quite small. She recalls how hard it was to get clients in the beginning, “I was literally begging people to let me take pictures of them for a few months. I would offer cookies and free sessions to my friends and their friends just so I could build my portfolio and start getting my work out there.”
In the year and a half that K. Renee Photography has been around her venture has grown tremendously. Every weekend is packed full of photoshoots, as she tries to schedule them around her classes and other commitments. She is currently booking weddings, engagement sessions, couple sessions, cake smashes (which are far more popular than I realized), senior pictures, headshots, you name it.
While it certainly takes a lot of time and effort to get your business off the ground like Kelsey did, college is a tempting place to do it.
There is an array of resources available at college campuses that make it an advantageous environment for an aspiring entrepreneur of any variety. College campuses often have myriad powerful computers with high speed internet connections, totally free to use. While your particular university may or may not approve of using their machines for this purpose, designing, creating, coding, and/or editing will certainly be a much easier process on a more capable computer than your notebook.
Don’t forget the people. Nicole Ferreira had a great point in her article on Oberlo. While you’re in college, you are surrounded by some of the brightest minds you’ve ever met. Many of whom are just as industrious as you, meaning you have at your fingertips access to an invaluable network. Now may be a great time to fill your contacts with peers in your study group, your Econ 101 professor, and friends you’ve made in your late-night coffee and coding club. These relationships that you create now will follow you well into the future. Universities also tend to have opportunities such as internships available to open you up to more experiences to help you grow.
Kelsey is quite familiar with this aspect too, as she talked about her photography internship with Purdue’s athletic department, “It introduced me to a whole new world and a totally different genre of photography that I fell in love with just as much as my previous work. I love candid shots, and I always try to get the ones in a couples session that show how much they love each other without them even realizing it. I found something similar when I started shooting athletics too. Those candid moments where they are completely into what they’re doing, you can feel the energy just by looking at the photo,”.
While K. Renee Photography still primarily deals in the aforementioned genre of photography rather than athletics, Kelsey still has learned and honed skills that she otherwise would not have, and has developed a new perspective on her work. She said that she has learned to deal with extremely large batches of images quickly and efficiently, track action better, and anticipate emotional moments for those quality candids. So with all of these resources here to help you grow as a person and as an entrepreneur to create a successful business, what are you waiting for? Right?
Well, owning your own business while in college isn’t easy. Kelsey loves what she does, and she noted that is what gives her the drive to work as hard as she does on top of her course load.
“I’m not sure if it’s for everyone. I’ve sacrificed a lot of time and energy to do it. It completely consumes all of my free time, but I absolutely love it … If [your business] is really your end goal then starting in college is extremely helpful in allowing you to build a foundation as you have less to lose now than after you graduate. It’s given me the opportunity to support myself on it after I graduate which is amazing, but in order to get to that point you really have to be truly passionate about what you’re doing in order to overcome the difficulties and succeed,”.
So, is college your ticket to becoming and entrepreneur? Is now the time to make your app or website, or start your 4 a.m. french fry delivery service, or start your graphic design firm? Are you ready to take on the challenges of balancing your course load with what you love? College might just be a great time and place to do it. The resources are there, waiting to be used.