How to Transition from College Student to Entrepreneur

Updated on January 17th, 2022

The difference between college life and entrepreneurial life is night and day.

The following article will tell you what to expect as you make the transition. Because for me… it was tricky to navigate. I was an honor roll student in college but that did not prepare me for what was to happen next.

Throw Away That College Report Card

Again, I got really good grades in college. But do you know what? No one cared once I graduated. Everyone wants to know how you can better the world – not how well you  did in a classroom. Do not expect anyone to care that you were top of your class if you’re going to pursue the lift of an entrepreneur.

Though I don’t want you to get depressed and think good grades were for naught. Rather, getting those grades made you expand your mind. Even if your efforts weren’t entrepreneurial-focused, you still grew your mind. It’s now a better tool for becoming an entrepreneur. And don’t think it doom and gloom that you went to college in the first place. No doubt you’re a better person coming out the other side. I know many entrepreneurs who’ve left college and it’s obvious they feel a void in their life. A… “What if?” feeling. So don’t dwell on the past four years will too much angst.

Network like Your Life Depends on It

Human relationships matter a great deal. Nurture your current relationships and build new ones. Even if you’re not the social type – you still need to get yourself out there. Thanks to the internet, this is easier than ever. Create social pages to advertise your personal brand + your business venture(s). Attend networking events, attend conferences and find mentors.

Think as Large as Possible

In college, it’s easy to only think within the ivory tower. But in business… the whole world is your oyster. No source of inspiration is off limits. No area is off limits to disrupt. Think big.

There is no shortage of money on this planet, only a shortage of people thinking big enough. – Grant Cardone

Be Relateable – Not Perfect

In academia, it was important to get things perfect. That leads to a 4.0 GPA. That’s not the case in business. In business, it’s important to embrace failure. Failure is learning. Failure is growth.

And when delivering your product or service – don’t worry about being perfect. Perfection often gets in the way of your relationship with your customer base. Especially if your brand is direct to consumer, it’s important to make your business open and relateable.

Understand That the Consequences Are More Dire

Sometimes in school, if something had to give I would simply do ‘B’ quality work instead of shooting for an ‘A’. But in business, there are many situations where it’s only pass or fail. When meeting with a new client, they decide whether or not they like you right away. When meeting with an investor, that’s a huge moment. Entrepreneurship has many more make or break moments than college does.

Motivation Comes Easier

In college – no one does what they love all of the time. But in business… you really do have that opportunity. Sure, you may find accounting boring. So you hire an accountant. In business, that’s not considered cheating. Plus, in business you are able to focus on your passion each and every day. That’s an incredible feeling. So even if entrepreneurship is a higher stakes game than college, it’s also way more fun.

The Rewards Are Sweeter

There are limits to what you can do with a diploma. But if you become a successful entrepreneur… nearly everything becomes infinite. What will you do once that time comes?

William Lipovsky

William Lipovsky

William Lipovsky owns the personal finance website First Quarter Finance. He began investing when he was 10 years old. His financial works have been published on Business Insider, Entrepreneur, Forbes, U.S. News & World Report, Yahoo Finance, and many others.

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