Student Entrepreneurs: Start-up Now or Get a Job ?

One of the perennial questions that hits many student entrepreneurs’ mind these days is: whether to continue with the entrepreneur’s hat or to wear the employee’s shirt?

This question becomes even more significant in an era and in a country which is seeing noteworthy success in the world of start-up.

But is entrepreneurship all about parenting one’s own business or has it a far deeper significance?

How does one identify the norms of entrepreneurship?

A few reflections on this question could help us explore the inmost core of entrepreneurship.

Being Entrepreneurial: Unleashing Your Highest Potential

Starting up is not entrepreneurship, but keeping the entrepreneurial spirit alive every day is.

Whether you are a start-up owner, intrapreneur (a changemaker within an established firm), or an employee, the key is to live an entrepreneurial life.

As a matter of fact, the success story of a start-up is deeply linked to the combination of an entrepreneurial employer and an entrepreneurial employee.

To live such a life you have to be connected to a higher goal.

In fact, many admirable figures in the leadership realm are apt examples of the entrepreneurial spirit–Jack Welch of GE, Vineet Nayar of HCL, Deepak Parekh of HDFC Bank, and KV Kamath of ICICI Bank, to name a few.

Related: Student Entrepreneurship in India: Coming of Age

All of them kept their entrepreneurial spirit intact even as they worked in conventional industries. Hence, in a way, they were ‘entrepreneurs’.

And if you are led to wondering what college has got to do with helping you connect to your entrepreneurial spirit, the answer could lie in the opportunities that you may encounter.

Many lose out on these opportunities due to a lack of entrepreneurial spirit.

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Are you asking the ‘Entrepreneurial Questions’?

KV Kamath of ICICI Bank once stated:

“To build a successful business, you have to be able to pick entrepreneurs very early, and get them embedded into the business. They need to go out into the ecosystem, demonstrate their abilities, nurture the business and build it up.”

Entrepreneurship, then, has very less to do with starting up than with asking yourself the following questions:

  • How do I engage with my ecosystem?
  • How do I nurture business?
  • How do I build it up?

How do I Start on an Entrepreneurial Career?

An entrepreneurial career spans across products, markets and job roles.

They are most authentically the ones that gets the sweat and blood out of you!

Here are a few directions:

  • Look to work for entrepreneurs
  • Look to catalyse small business
  • Look to enable friends who have start-up ventures
  • Look to become useful co-founders
  • Look to work under experienced entrepreneurs
  • Look for entrepreneurial roles—which involve risks
  • Look to challenge yourself and learn, especially in industries like biotechnology, food products, and social enterprises
  • And most importantly, look for a good mentor

Related: Advantages of Starting Up Young

How do I Find these Options?

    • Network in your E-cell/Incubations Cells
    • Attend events organised by organisations fostering entrepreneurship (Examples: TiE and NEN)
    • Go for local chambers of commerce events
    • Attend industry-specific events (Examples: NASSCOM for tech-related events)
    • Regularly interact with small business owners of your community/alumni network, and find out their problems and challenges

Connecting and Getting Ahead:

Nurturing your entrepreneurial spirit involves your ability to connect and interact.

Interconnectivity with people who matter breeds visibility.

The heart of this connection is face to face interactions, or reaching out beyond the realm of online world.

Here are some of the ways:

      • Connect with people you meet
      • Find out how your skills can be put to their use
      • Try giving your time and knowledge through projects and internships
      • Connect with your contacts on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn etc
        Become a part of the blogosphere
      • Read newspapers, blogs, magazines, journals, and network extensively with the industry of your choice

In a nutshell, absorb from everything that is beyond your college curricula.

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Discover What Makes Your Life Meaningful

Exploration is an art and if you start young, these explorations could help you polish yourself better.

Find out if it makes you happy being an entrepreneur, working for an entrepreneur, or working for a struggling entrepreneur.

As you work on projects you choose, you will find activities where you can blossom.

If there is anything that keeps you deeply engaged and awake at night, then you might as well be the one with an entrepreneurial spirit!

So all the best for your entrepreneurial journey and hope you found this post to be useful.

Meanwhile do share your entrepreneurial story with us in the comments section.

This article is written by Sudeshna B Baruah based on a webinar by Raj Shankar.