Things they don’t teach you in College about being an Entrepreneur

Education is important. Whether those are the math lessons your teacher taught you in your high school, or the marketing lessons that your professor imparted through several case studies. Even though we are equipped with good education and skills learned from some of the well-reputed schools and colleges, we always seem to lack certain important skills.

Starting one’s own business has now become a common dream for all because everyone wants to be an entrepreneur. In the true sense, we all are entrepreneurs though in different ways. While somebody might be starting up a company, someone else might be building up their career in an organization. The challenge remains the same for all, to stand out and build a brand for themselves.

I am an entrepreneur, and I have started few companies of my own. The experience of being a businessperson is not only delightful but is also truly rewarding. However, there are some aspects of being an entrepreneur, which were never taught to me nor did anyone ever warn me about them. The truth is, being an entrepreneur and living the startup life, is not really as glamorous as one sees it. A passerby might always see a sunny day, but many are aloof to the gloomy days that come in every entrepreneur’s life. Therefore, before you decide to jump into the skirmish of being an entrepreneur, let me tell you things that you probably won’t learn in any school or college about entrepreneurship.

How to Sell Yourself

Business schools do teach you about marketing and sales, but hardly would anyone really teach you how you must sell yourself. If someone asked you to pitch for yourself in just about a minute, can you do it? Imagine, you have to create an advertisement for selling yourself, can you come up with details that you would want to cover?

While it is a fact and is true in most cases, where hardly anyone knows how to self-promote as naturally as the Kardashians, self-promotion is essential for the success of any kind of business. Convincing  people that you are best suited for the job is an art that is necessary for your business to flourish. You need to make your clients put their trust in you, and for that, they must believe you. So be well prepared and confident, and watch your body language as you practice for selling yourself.

Not every drop-out becomes next Steve Jobs

Or for that matter Mark Zuckerberg. There are many misguided individuals who do believe that they could also break the shackles of higher education and create the next big thing. Probably one in a hundred could, but the rest must understand that dropping out does not necessarily make you an entrepreneur or a millionaire.

There are several other great entrepreneurs like Sam Walton of the Walmart stores, Gordon Moore who co-founded Intel and is famously known for his “Moore’s Law” and even the entrepreneurs from our country like Narayana Murthy and Azim Premji who completed their education and then continued on the path of establishing their dreams. The truth is that Steve Jobs, Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg did not drop out to slack off their time, but they were already working hard towards their dreams. While we can call them rare exceptions, you could probably be better off by completing your education and then embarking on your entrepreneurial journey.

How to Be Betrayed

Sadly no school teaches how to deal with betrayal or how to prevent something like that from happening. When I started my first venture, I was betrayed by my business partner. While we were debating over the name for the company, we finalized on the name that I had suggested and my business partner was then supposed to book the domain name. Very conveniently he booked it under his name and back stabbed me. In a period of 2 years, we were out of the partnership. The issue was never resolved, and I never got the domain back, the brand that I created.

While this is just my story, many businessmen get run over by their investors, clients, vendors and business partners. If that was not enough, your personal life might even take turns to screw you over from time to time. The business lessons that your alma matter taught were important, but only if the curriculum could also include lessons about coping up with betrayal, would have definitely made the lives of entrepreneurs easy.

Networking

This is no brainer to any entrepreneur as you know you need to build up contacts to get your business running. A large part of your business success literally comes from the people you know, and from the strength of your network. No school will teach you how to talk and build your network or the different facets of it. Even if you had a great business idea, but did not know with whom to interact then you would definitely be left behind in this game. This is a skill that you must harness from day 1 of your life because you never know who might be able to help you out in your business.

How to Live like a Broke

If you have the million dollar idea, then perhaps you will never need to live like a broke, but that’s not the usual case. Most entrepreneurs who start their business put in their hard earned savings and might even borrow money from their friends, family, and banks to keep their business afloat.

Many businesses were started in a studio apartment or in the garage of their parent’s home because, in the earlier stages of life, it important to save money. Taking the bus instead of driving your car, buying discounted items, sharing your room, selling off some of your treasures, are just some of the things that are a part of an entrepreneur’s life. It is always tempting to go on spending sprees, but a true entrepreneur knows to keep feeding the business and making it grow.

Finding the Perfect Team

Being onboard with your first business idea is always exciting for any entrepreneur, but the excitement may remain short lived when you don’t have the right team to share that excitement. It can be discouraging when you cannot get your friends or your coworkers to be onboard with the same idea. But you must realize the fact, that even if it is an exciting opportunity and a great idea, building up a business requires a huge commitment, which some of your friends and colleagues may not be willing to take. If you know your idea has the potential, then start working on it. Once you have something concrete and are meeting your desired goals will inevitably lead to bringing in members in support of your project. It can surely be difficult to form the dream team, but don’t give up just yet when your best friend says no.

These are probably just a few of the lessons from a bundle of them that might not be taught in the schools. Being an entrepreneur is never easy, but the fruits that your efforts will bear are definitely sweet. So even though your business school might not teach you some of the hard facts of being an entrepreneur, go through the experiences of other entrepreneurs and be prepared for the worse. With strong determination and hard work, no one can deny you the fruits of success.

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I'm a self confessed foodie, king of the kitchen, wannabe anthropologist, technology evangelist , curious, inquisitive & experimental entrepreneur at @DigiLands and an adrenaline junkie. Love spending time with my wife & two young children and faulty KitKats that consist purely of solid chocolate.