Being a full-time student in school can be a lot to handle. With classes, papers and sometimes working part-time jobs, you have to master time management. But what if you want to start and run a small business while having all of this on your plate? Starting a business while juggling a lot of other obligations and commitments in life can be difficult, but with careful planning, determination and focused time management, it can be done. Here are a few tips for how to find time and energy for your new business on the side, even while you have a full-time student schedule.
Follow your passion.
Our passions drive us; they give us the determination to keep going no matter what challenges we face. Ask yourself what you love doing and how you can incorporate that into a small business. Even if you’re loaded with tests, papers and extracurriculars, your passion will drive you to continue working and running your business as best you can. Your passion can also energize and inspire you to keep going even if you’re running on low energy.
Cut all the time-wasters out of your schedule.
If you’re in business startup mode, the most valuable resource that you have is your time. Especially if you’re a busy college student, every hour of your day needs to be carefully managed. If you’re serious about starting this business, you need to be as disciplined as possible with the way you spend your time. This means that if you want to start a business, you need to decide which things you are willing to cut down on. For example, spending less time watching television or playing video games can open up your time immensely. You could also cut down on going out for drinks to save even more time and money that could go toward your business.
Of course, you don’t want to stop any relaxing methods completely. Just make sure you keep a healthy balance to do well in school, run your business and keep your stress levels down. You need to be prepared to make some short-term sacrifices and trade-offs to build a business that will give you a much better life in the long run.
Create a fixed time of day to work on your business.
We often have more time in our day than we think we do. Even with full-time school schedules and part-time work, you can carve at least an hour or two a few days a week toward running your business. For example, if you have classes during the day, how are your nights looking? What about weekends? Or if you work on the weekends, do you have evenings free after 9 p.m.? Are you a night owl or a morning person? Find a way to fit a few hours of work on your business into your day (or night). Try to start with a few days a week to see how well you can manage this and work up to every day of the week. Whatever works for you, find a way to give yourself permission to carve out that time and do the work to build your business.
Find a small business mentor.
Your school is filled with professors who are knowledgeable on whatever industry your business lies in as well as running a business itself. Try to find a professor who will act as a mentor, helping you figure out how to run your business, answer any questions you may have, help you map out financials and more. With a mentor, you’ll gain more experience outside of what you find in books, you’ll have constant encouragement if you’re ever feeling discouraged, you’ll get more networking opportunities, and you’ll be able to develop a stronger EQ (emotional intelligence) which is vital to running a small business with employees, should you hire in the future. If you can’t find the right mentor-mentee fit, there are a wide variety of sources where you can find a mentor outside of your school.
Starting a business is one of the most exciting experiences in life, and it doesn’t always happen when you have ample free time and abundant resources. Don’t feel like just because you’re in school, it means that you’re stuck and you can’t start a business. With these tips, you should be able to get your business up and running, slowly making it as successful as possible.
Constantina Kokenes is a Content Specialist at Kabbage, a small business loans provider. She holds a Master’s Degree in Journalism from Northwestern University. When not immersed in the small business world, Constantina loves cooking, baking, going on hikes, and playing with her cat and chinchilla.