How to scale a start-up in school
Julianna Keeling is the founder of Terravive (sustainable packaging company). Formerly Product at Juicero.
If you’re serious about starting and scaling your business in school, treat your time in school like an extended incubator. While you may experience high levels of academic stress, your “real world” financial stress and transition to adulthood are buffered.
Understand why you’re in school
The key advantage of starting your business in school is that you have the time to test different ideas and evaluate which idea generates traction without high stakes. You will also gain key subject matter and operational knowledge that you can carry throughout your career.
The challenge of starting a business in school is that it is not easy to devote adequate focused energy to the growth of that business. Student founders cannot attend to the needs of their business whenever they feel like it. It’s a 24/7, 365 job that needs to be managed on top of rigorous schoolwork.
When I started Terravive, I spent at least 4-5 hours throughout each day speaking with our partners and customers and solving problems. Sometimes you must leave class and drop everything to put out fires.
The key to surmounting this challenge is to understand why you want to start this business. If you just want the recognition of starting a business, then I would recommend a different line of work to get the recognition you’re seeking.
Image via Getty Images / creatarka
If you want to solve a problem that you see in the world and are willing to do anything and everything to realize your vision, then starting a business may be the right path. When you run into problems in the future or question why you’re making all these sacrifices, remember why you started.