For the past three years, I’ve had an entrepreneurial itch that I haven’t been able to shake. I thought it was just a phase. You see, I was not born into a family of entrepreneurs. I didn’t go to business school or have any idea how to set up an LLC. I simply had an idea that I believed in wholeheartedly and I went for it!
1. Start with a problem and think about what product, service, or idea would help solve that problem. Perform your due diligence to confirm that there is a market for your idea then determine what differentiates you from other companies operating in that space. See what your competitors are doing, learn from their mistakes, and do it better!
2. Pursue an idea that you’re passionate about. If your business idea is the first thing you think about when you wake up in the morning and the last thing you think about before bed, then you know it’s worth pursuing. Starting a business requires a lot of time, money, and effort so you have to love what you’re doing to make it all worth it!
3. Seek out mentors and ask questions. Talk to anyone and everyone about your idea to elicit their feedback. I discussed my business idea with classmates, friends, family members, coworkers, my personal trainer, random people on LinkedIn, and anyone else who would listen! Talking through things will help you refine your idea for a better end product and it’s a valuable skill-building exercise that will serve you when it comes time to approach prospective investors, partners, clients, customers, etc.
4. There is never a perfect time to start. You don’t need to drop everything as soon as an idea comes to you. I put together my business plan whenever I had spare time on nights and weekends while working and going to school full-time. But don’t wait too long! There’s no better time to take a chance when you’re young and full of great ideas!
5. Believe in yourself. "Impostor Syndrome" is very real. Just know that you won’t have all the answers in the beginning and that is OKAY. Revel in the excitement that is uncertainty and remember that every mistake made is an opportunity to learn and grow from!
If you have aspirations to start your own business someday--go for it! With the right balance of passion, perseverance, and patience it can be done! For anyone looking for motivation to get started, I recommend the book Grit by Angela Duckworth. Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders is also a great podcast featuring some of the world’s most successful entrepreneurs who talk about how they got started, the mistakes they’ve made and lessons learned along the way!
Meg was a World Politics and Spanish double-major at Hamilton and a member of HAVOC, SAAC, HEAT, & the Women’s Soccer Team. Upon graduating, she was awarded a Fulbright to Malaysia where she taught English as a second language. Come May, Meg will be graduating with her Master’s degree in Public Health from the University of Pennsylvania.