Whether you’re a young adult earning your undergraduate degree at a four-year university or a seasoned business person who’s going back to school, taking classes and running a business at the same time can be undeniably difficult.
But we promise it can be worth it.
Take Mark Zuckerberg for example. He launched Facebook as a college student at Harvard and his company quickly expanded until it became a worldwide phenomenon. Today, his estimated net worth is around 74.2 billion.
Okay, so Zuckerberg set the bar high. But you don’t have to earn 74.2 billion dollars to pursue higher education and start a successful business at the same time.
You simply need grit, a little know-how, and the ability to fake it until you make it.
To help you on your path to educational and entrepreneurial success, we’ve compiled a few tips that some of the most successful businesses people have implemented to achieve their dreams:
Take it one day at a time
Mastering the work/life balance is difficult, and the stress of taking classes and running a business simultaneously can be overwhelming if you think about everything at once.
If you start to micro-manage every future detail, you’ll be overly disappointed when failure happens, or you’ll get too exhausted focusing on the finish line.
Although setting goals and steps for yourself is beneficial, we also suggest taking it one day at a time so you don’t get burdened by future tasks and hypothetical fears.
Track your work with Agile
Similar to pacing yourself, we recommend mimicking the Agile process when completing your school and business work.
Agile emphasizes splitting big projects into smaller tasks and tackling them within “sprints” so that you can monitor where you are with each step. Typically, the Agile process divides up work into “To Do,” “Doing,” and “Done” sections. As you work on individual parts of the project, you can move them to different sections to track progress.
Many large companies, including Apple and Spotify, utilize Agile to streamline the delegation of work and encourage accountability within teams.
Make the most of your resources
Regardless of whether you’re at a four-year university or community college, odds are you have access to resources you don’t even know about.
For example, there are typically countless organizations where you can build connections and work your way onto exec teams. From Greek life to Student Government, meeting other ambitious students will build your network while serving on exec teams can provide you with experiences very similar to working in business.
If you can spare the time, it’s invaluable to plug into these communities and learn from advancing an organization.
Maybe you’ve already joined a community or you’re taking online courses and don’t have the opportunity. If you’re in this boat, consider utilizing the professors and materials you do have access to. It’s these professors’ jobs to help you succeed, so don’t be afraid to ask them for academic insights and life advice inside or outside of the classroom.
Also, use the libraries or online databases to read up on topics like time management, starting a business, marketing, making connections, etc. Free information is right at your fingertips.
Learn from those who paved the way
Because books and Internet resources are always available, so is the wisdom of those who have gone before you in business world. Don’t think for one second that you’re alone in your venture – in fact, America now contains an estimated 27 million entrepreneurs.
This means more competition for you, but it also means that there’s plenty of knowledge being passed around between business owners. Tapping into these tips is crucial as you push your business forward because you can learn from their approaches and also failures.
Mark Zuckerberg himself advises business owners to focus on helping others as well as pursuing one’s own dream. He says, “Finding your purpose isn’t enough. The challenge for our generation is creating a world where everyone has a sense of purpose.”
Just for kicks, here are a few more tips from The Hartford as an example of the numerous resources available to you at any point:
- Build a support network
- Be very specific with your goals
- Delegate whenever possible
- Keep your overhead low
- Find your best niche – and stick with it
- Keep your day job just a little longer
- Avoid distractions at all costs
We hope this information was useful as you learn to balance your business on top of school. If you’d like more insights or help getting your company off the ground, let us know – we’d love to chat!