And in a post I wrote to guide NYSC returnees on what is next after clarion’s call, I gave my clear position on whether you should start a business, further your studies or look for jobs.
|Image credit @Opus College of Business|
If I must take you by hand and show you how to start, run, and manage a business to success, as a student, I will dedicate a separate post to that. You can subscribe to this blog to get it straight to your email when I drop it sooner.
1. You’re Preparing Yourself for the Worst
It’s so easy to say, “I’m learning to be a doctor”, “I’ll be an engineer in few years”, “I should be an accountant by 2023”. Isn’t it?
But in reality, that is not easy.
I learnt late that most of these positions were just wishes. Even though we’re working towards achieving career ends, yet there are other factors making our ways up so clumsy.
What do you think when the news says, “the number of unemployed graduates is rising”? Perhaps you give yourself a pat on the back and say “that’s not going to happen to me”.
If I must be frank with you, that’s not a prayer. Face the reality and don’t pretend to be blind of the people who have been out of schools for years, but till today, are wandering around or searching for jobs that never come.
You’re not different.
In order to prepare yourself for the worst scenario, embark on the journey to the right alternative while you’re still serious with your GNS 101, ENG 202, or ACC 303.
Starting a business while in school doesn’t mean you’ll remain in that business after school. If you eventually get a job and you prefer that, it shouldn’t tie you down. It’s up to you.
2. Starting the Journey Right Earlier
The point number one above will touch the hearts of adamant students who seriously believe jobs are their ways to go. However, we have students who are quite aware they’re business makers. This set of students only care to go to school for certification purpose and if need be, able to tender their evidence of academic successes. They want to be their own bosses after all.
I was in the category of people who wanted to work after schools. Then, I paid for that dearly when no befitting job could come. And for the ones I got, I was later laid off.
I had a classmate while in the final year in polytechnic. Bode left the class one day on the arrival of a lecturer. I wondered why he would do that.
A day later, I met him and spoke to him frankly. I wanted him to realize it could be a big mistake leaving class when a lecturer was about to take us.
He was quick to tell me how sorry he was. He told me he couldn’t just avoid going out.
“My truck had just arrived and we had to dispatch some goods to our branches”, Bode calmly said.
I was surprised. Then, I asked, “You run a transport business?”
“No brother, don’t you know I have four boutiques around?” He asked.
I said, “No”
“Oh, I don’t know you’re not aware. I went to dispatch some goods to them”, He said as he patted me on the neck.
I left Bode smiling. But within me, I knew I was missing something. I saw him as a friend or a classmate, but he’s already a boss.
See, the same is happening around you. Most of your classmates are in one business or the other. You may never know unless it’s something they run on campus or it’s a product or service you also patronize.
This set of people are preparing themselves for the future they’re dreaming of.
Unfortunately, I don’t have Bode’s contact since my service year. If not, I could have updated you on where he is by now. I’m sure he should be flying today. You know why? He’s started right earlier.
3. School is the Right Platform to Experiment Business Ideas
Before becoming an education consultant, I had tried a few other business ideas. I once run a mini electronics selling business, home tutoring service to mention a few. But none worked well until I got here.
How I wished I’d experimented with these ideas while in school. If I had done that, I could just be starting my education consulting right after the service year. Then boom, I should be flying by now too.
But I learnt the hard way. I never started until I was really ready to be serious with life.
School days are the right time to bring your ideas out and see if they’re marketable. From here, you can drop any service or product with an unsatisfied market. Then, you move to another.
Don’t forget Mark Zuckerberg started Facebook from school as a platform for a few mates to communicate, then, to connect people at colleges and a few schools.
4. Saving and Investing Your left-Over
Starting a business on campus or while at university or college can be the right way to invest your leftover (pocket money). You can save your way to hundreds of bucks that can be put into a small business.
Even though my parents were poor, I still had some bucks left over after paying for my academic, social and personal needs.
Ask me how I spent my left-over.
Frankly, I don’t remember.
Maybe some went to the cinema, some careless spending or so.
See, I got the message very late. Bode was an inspiration to me.
Another mate, nicknamed “Photo the Sleeper” afforded to build a three-bedroom flat before our final year. He made his money from an amateur photography business.
Do you know how he got that funny nickname?
He slept very often in class. He wasn’t bad with that anyway. But he spent the night up while in the photo lab. He had to print the photos he took for a few friends the previous days.
This short guy would just approach you and ask if you would love to take some shots with your new dresses, friends, class blocks or on motion ground. You should know people like this if you’re already on campus.
While going for NYSC, Abiodun turned down a national call for his business on campus.
I remember what he told me last, “why will I go to service where I will be paid stipends when I can make thousands on a daily basis with my business here?
You see, that is the power of seeing the future from now. If all you can see is one thing, ever asked yourself, “why was I given two eyes?”.
5. Start a Business on Campus and You have the Working Team
The easiest business someone can go for while in school is that which he can single-handedly manage. However, if your ideas will require five men to start, you’re already blessed with a few friends.
In most cases, starting a project after graduation may limit your ideas, expansion and wider outlook. There’re better thinkers among your friends while in school, you can seek their opinions and contributions.
And you know what?
You may get all that for free.
Those who are embarking on a journey should ask their ways from the returnees. I love to share my successes and my failures. For my successes you can emulate, my failure you can avoid.
As a student, taking the time to draw a plan and start a business and starting it right away while still in the classrooms will help you achieve independence after graduation.
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