I left school on 15 January 2014 to dedicate full time to Sqkii. Since then, many of my friends have asked me why I made such a huge decision and where I have gotten the courage from. To be honest, I didn’t think of it as a courageous act. On the contrary, I thought it was the best thing to do. Why? How? Allow me to elaborate on 4 really simple reasons behind this decision:
1. We have lots of time and very little to lose
It is almost a norm to hear one out of three people complaining how they “do not have enough time”. But do we really not have enough time? Many may raise their eyebrows at the idea of undergraduates having free time to spare in their schedules. Most of us find ourselves struggling between making new friends, juggling part-time jobs, finding potential life partners, participating in school activities and submitting never-ending assignments.
But we usually fail to see that our lives are only going to get busier and busier as we grow older.
By the time we emerge into our late twenties, we may suddenly find ourselves spending late nights in our office completing some insignificant task our superiors very conveniently “entrusted” us with. And then there is the essential quality time to be spent with our potential life partner, preparations for our upcoming wedding, settling into our new married life and once we start having kids, we are bestowed with the responsibilities as parents. The cycle never stops!
So that was why I thought now would be an ideal time for me to start doing something that I like since right now, none of that is happening (just yet) and I have time on my hands.
The amount of time you have depends on how you manage it.
Manage it well and you should be able to find a couple of extra hours to start working on something new! You can always start by building the business on a part-time basis and take the leave of absence ONLY when you see results. I did not take a leave of absence to start a business idea; I took it only after working on it part-time for more than a year.
2. We are young and adults forgive us
Most people I have spoken to advised me to pursue my business after I have graduated or better still; if I have gained several years of working experience.
But what I found useful about being a student entrepreneur is that people are more willing to give you a chance. In other words, people are actually more willing to meet or forgive you when you make a mistake.
In life, mistakes are inevitable. I believe that we should always make mistakes, and learn from them.
What better time to do it other than right now? As a student entrepreneur, I was afforded the precious opportunity to speak to many prominent business leaders and important individuals in the community. There were times where I felt that I could have put my thoughts across better. There were times where I made mistakes. Fortunately, these people were kind and patient with me because they knew I was a student. If I were already a graduate with several years of working experience, I believe that the expectations will be much higher. However, at present, given the learning curve at I am on, mistakes are still acceptable. But remember that this does not last forever. To grow and attain success, we must still learn from mistakes quickly and adapt accordingly.
Today, I believe that I’m more confident and knowledgeable. I’m glad that I’m still young, and that I’m still allowed to make mistakes. It is through this that I’ve gained the most.
3. We have access to the brightest talents
During my freshmen year at Nanyang Business School, I told my buddy Marcus that many of our classmates today might eventually become highly sought-after high-ranking corporate executives given how brilliant and promising they are. By the time they have attained that coveted status, it is almost impossible to pull together a “dream team” comprising of the best CEO, CFO, CMO and CIO because it is just too expensive!
The idea was basically this: why not poach the best CIO when he is young and free? I am quite sure he wouldn’t reject a sound and exciting business idea. That was how Marcus and I found Eleazar and that story deserves a post by itself!
4. Not many people are doing it and that makes you special
If success is really about differentiating one from the majority, being a student entrepreneur would definitely make one stand out. This is especially true in Singapore where we were basically told what to do throughout our lives and we hardly take any real risk. Do not be afraid to go for your dreams.
At the end of the day, it is all about trying and taking the first step. I’ve shared with you 4 key simple reasons that I think make sense for students like us to become entrepreneurs. But it is ultimately up to you to decide if you would like to take that very first step.
Two years ago, Marcus showed me this quote by Brian Littrell: “Every accomplishment starts with the decision to try”. The quote changed my life and I hope it will do the same for you!