I have met recently with a number of student entrepreneurs, and I heard one question over and over again: how do you juggle being a student and being an entrepreneur? That question was one which I faced a couple of years back when I was still in school.
My answer is don’t try to juggle. Not too much at least. Stick to one thing and do it really well. It’s unlikely that you will excel at both and there’s more than enough things to juggle when you’re running a company. If you have chosen to be an entrepreneur, then stick to being a good one. For school, do the minimum. Getting a C+ is okay. You don’t need an A+ grade to excel in life.
My school grades haven’t been relevant for me so far and probably won’t be in the future. I’m a firm believer that people respect the things you have done more than the grades you have achieved in school. And sadly, the things that you learned in class are often not applicable in reality. I’m not bashing education; it’s important in helping us to build our network of friends, handling stress, and obtaining knowledge. And having a diploma/degree does serve as a good back up plan too.
As a student, it’s also important to assess whether you can handle and understand the risk you’re in. As a first-year student, it seems easy to make a choice to be an entrepreneur. You still have three more years to go and there’s no immediate need to pay bills, contribute to your parents, or compete with the rest of the working class.
But as you arrive at year three or four, you will start to ponder if being an entrepreneur is the right path for you. Can you really build a profitable company? And will it be equally or if not more rewarding than the jobs of your corporate-ladder-climbing peers? The problem gets worse when you see your friends receiving job offers at prestigious companies with fat paychecks and you’re still bootstrapping your startup.
Good student entrepreneurs are able to withstand these stresses and doubts and continue to build and ship. A great entrepreneur is one who can continue to maintain their passion and build a company that people admire and respect.