Balancing the workload of a student with that of an entrepreneur is a heavy job for most people out there. Both are needed for greater success, but it might seem like a difficult road to go down. Those people actually experiencing this need a way to handle everything coming at them so that neither falls behind. Entrepreneurs like Dustin Ecton, the 25 year old founder of Ecton Media has been able to maintain a 4.0 GPA while running his media and marketing company.
Being both an entrepreneur and student does not have to be scary, though, not as long as you know what to do. For Debra Bennet, a sophomore at Tennessee Technology University and founder of Customer Service Response Corp., wears numerous hats including being a daughter, mother, sister, aunt, grandmother, full-time student and full-time entrepreneur, but cites her “hard work, dedication, solid time management and organization” as a reason for her success.
With school, you need to spread everything out so that you are not tackling it all at once. Your university work is important, yes, but you cannot expect to get everything done at once and actually have everything turn out well. If you do this, you will be taking on a lot more work than you may be ready to handle. Create a plan and stick to it, one that gives you the opportunity to do the work in an acceptable amount of time without piling it on top of other work. Ecton understands the importance of planning, “Everything has to be strategically planned everyday in order to fulfill both my school and business obligations. I had to implement a routine in order to keep things together.”
For students who are taking on several difficult classes, you should pace yourself with everything. Try to put systems in place for studying, doing work, and finishing everything on time that will be effective and reliable. What this system is will depend on how you learn but it can do a great service to those trying to juggle it all.
For your actual business, you should have a plan right from the start. Write out a 5 or 10 year plan that says where you want to be in certain amounts of time and what you can do to make it there. This helps you to grow in a way that is fitting to where you are now as well as lacking in confusion and that dreadful unknown. When you know what you want to do and where you want to go, you can work your schedule around that and, as you did with school work, create something you can follow without issue. Entrepreneurs have the ability to do this, even with school being so demanding, if you approach it thoughtfully and with some knowledge of where you want to be.
Doing this is going to come with sacrifices. The biggest is, of course, your personal life. Keaton Schaeffer and John Hanrahan are juniors at Texas A & M University and launched their business The Way Cup, a new Texas-based coffee roasting/distribution company explain that while they have sacrificed time with friends, a normal college experience and sleep “the excitement of starting your own company is enough to keep you up at night anyways.” There youthful allows them to “burn the candle at both ends.” While many people in university love to party and hang out, it might get in the way of your goals. This does not mean that in choosing to be an entrepreneur you are going to be without a personal life at all, just that you cannot go party all the time. These types of activities can disrupt your schedule even a day or more after you have done them, creating more chaos and making it more difficult to stay on track.
Remember that, being an entrepreneur is a full-time job. If you expect this to be easy and to be able to go out to party, drink, and act like the average university student, you might not want to launch your venture while you’re in school. To avoid crashing and failing with either one, you need to handle them with care and an immense amount of thought so that you can be the success story you want to be.
“Despite all of the sacrifices, I wouldn't change anything. Founding Travefy has been one of the most rewarding experiences in my life and has tapped into my strong passion for solving problems”
– David Chait, second year MBA student at Columbia Business School and Co-Founder & CEO of Travefy.
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