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In this day and age, the idea of becoming an entrepreneur is budding amongst even the youngest of college students. And, who can blame these full-hearted, ambitious, and inspired kids when the likes of Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg, and Bill Gates have turned entrepreneurship into multi-million dollar success stories?
As parents everywhere shake with fear at the thought of their college-aged child not finishing their degree, and students everywhere seek out ways in which to make more money than any college education could prepare them for, I suggest finding a middle ground.
There is no doubt completing a college degree has many benefits. If anything, it provides students with lessons related to setting a goal and achieving it. Moreover, statistics continue to show that having a college education will yield almost twice the annual salary when compared to someone with just a high school diploma. However, that does not discount the advantages that running an online business during college can bring.
So, why not do both?
Being able to manage an online business and the demands of gaining a college degree is no easy feat. However, with enough determination and information about how to balance both, anyone can achieve the success they seek. That’s why today we are going to discuss some of the best ways to effectively manage an online business while still in college.
Find Your Priorities
Trying to excel at both your college education (e.g. securing a perfect GPA and attending all extracurricular activities) and your online business (e.g. making money!) is near impossible. While some may be able to do so (lucky them), the truth is that is extremely difficult. In the end, it is likely that both your grades and business will suffer and that is not the goal.
Deciding early on where you see your future career path going will dictate your overall priorities. If you see your college education garnering you a successful job position post-graduation, make your grades a priority and use your online business as a side hustle to earn extra cash. On the other hand, if you see it the other way around, and your online business is going to be what makes you the big bucks, use your college education as a building block to becoming a successful business owner by learning what you can, but don’t stress over every grade.
Want a bonus tip? Try integrating your business into your schoolwork. For example, take courses that will support your business goals and give you the expertise and knowledge needed to become a more successful business owner.
Make Time Management a Daily Task
As a college student, you will experience plenty of downtime. Whether that be when you are not physically in class, on the weekends, or even on summer vacation. The same is not true when you are attempting to run an online business while in school. Your business will not wait for the weekend to end. And, it will definitely not take summer vacations. As a college student managing an online business, you must dedicate a certain amount of time each and every day to your business if you wish to be successful and continue to grow a reputable brand.
Here are some great time management tips you can try:
• Design a schedule so you can focus on school or business at any given time
• Don’t try to work on both school and your business tasks at the same time
• Arrange your class schedule so you can have off days to focus solely on your business
• Put your social life in check
• But make sure you schedule breaks into your weekly schedule – see a movie, go out with friends, visit family
• Make sure you schedule enough time for rest
Utilize Campus Resources
As a college student, you will have access to a multitude of resources that might otherwise be unavailable to you.
Not sure what type of resources college can afford its students? Look here for some of the best one available at most universities:
• Experienced faculty members. Those working for universities not only have a lot of first-hand experience with what it takes to be successful after college, they have access to all of the resources you could possibly need to help you learn the modern business models and make your grades count.
• Advisors. Advisors are great for keeping you on track when it comes to graduating on time. They can also help guide you when it comes to choosing a major that coincides with your newly started business. This way you learn all of the necessary skills that will carry over into your online business.
• The writing center. Starting an online business typically requires you to start a blog as well. After all, a blog is the best way to inform potential customers about your company, products you sell, and overall valuable information about your niche. In addition, it’s a great way to encourage people to make purchases. Becoming a strong writer is necessary when it comes to online blogging. Utilizing your school’s writing center is just another way to achieve success with your business.
• The career center. Your campus’ career center can help you determine a major, seek out internships, and practice networking and interviewing skills. All of these things are welcome because you never know far your online business might take you. Being able to function in the real world as well as behind your computer is a necessity.
• Student Organizations. Without overextending yourself with too many activities (remember time management is key), there are college organizations that can introduce you to like-minded people. In fact, some universities hold business-plan competitions that you can enter that give out prize money or even invest in your idea. This may be something that comes in handy depending on what your online business is.
Become Proficient with Online Websites
One of the easiest ways to manage going to school and running your online business is to become proficient and knowledgeable about online websites. For starters, it is important to choose a well-established content management system (CMS) to build your website on. For instance, the popular WordPress platform is currently used by 58.5% of all websites worldwide. Plus, WordPress offers the following advantages:
• It’s free to download, install, use, and modify
• No experience needed – it’s easy to use
• Thousands of free and premium themes and plugins make it extendable
• It is SEO friendly
• The built-in updater makes it easy to manage
• It is safe and secure from outside threats
• It can handle multiple media types – images, video, and audio content
In addition, WordPress works for all different types of websites. This includes blogs, online shops, portfolios, galleries, a rating and review website, membership sites, and much more.
After deciding which CMS to use, the next most important thing to do is become familiar with the different web hosting providers. Finding the best solution will depend on the various features you are prioritizing as the most important – bandwidth, custom support, speed, security, feature set, and of course cost.
Altogether, if you learn about even the basics behind starting and building a website, you will find managing your online business and school much more doable.
In the end, balancing both an online business and school can be a demanding process. However, by implementing some of the above-mentioned tips, you will find managing your business and college degree is easier than you thought. All it takes is a little extra thought when it comes to your priorities, time management, and available resources.
Have you started an online business while attending college? What are some of the best management tips you can share with fellow entrepreneurs? I would love to hear all about it in the comments below!
This article was contributed by guest author Dev.