Tag Archives: Entrepreneur

Entrepreneurship and College: Part 1

Filed under: Notes from an Entrepreneur, Post Grad and Career - BookRenter Team
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Even if you don’t see yourself as an entrepreneurial spirit, don’t be afraid to start something new.

by Guest Blogger Keith Kaplan I ALBION COLLEGE: Brains (double-major honors student, Mortar Board, College Fellow) and brawn (swim team captain and an avid outdoorsman who most days can be seen paddling on the river that runs through his campus). Regular blogger. Co-founder of the eponymous DK Cookies (on Facebook!).

College is a time for learning –  a time for finding yourself and setting yourself up for the future. It’s a time for taking chances, searching out opportunities. This is the first of a three-part series on collegiate entrepreneurship and how it can help set you up for the future you dream of having.

Let me tell you a little story.  About a year ago, my dear friend David Gentile, who was my roommate at the time, called me up and asked me if I wanted to start a cookie business on the Albion College campus. Me loving cookies so much, I said, “Count me in.” At the time, I had no idea what I was getting myself into, other than hoping that I would be eating a lot of cookies.

by Chris Amos

To make a long story short, Dave and I ended up co-founding DK Cookies, a cookie delivery service, our senior year. It was a lot of work and, well, okay, maybe we didn’t make as much profit as we would have liked. But as I look back on it, I’m so glad I took the opportunity.

Why? Because I learned things that will stand me in good stead for the rest of my life.

I believe that being an entrepreneur can help set you up for a great future.  If you look at some of today’s most popular companies, you’ll see that many of them were started when their founders were still in college. Examples include Facebook, Google, Reddit, Insomnia Cookies, Napster, FedEx, Microsoft, and even Dell.

What all these youthful founders had in common was an ability to see beyond simply what was in front of them, plus the courage and conviction to get their ideas out of their heads and into the real world.

It’s not that I think being an entrepreneur is for everyone. It’s not. If you’re going to go down that road you need more than an entrepreneurial spirit. You need to be self-motivated, someone who can go out and get what you want for yourself. You need to be willing to take risks, and know just how much of a gamble you can take and still sleep at night.

Even if you don’t see yourself as an entrepreneurial spirit, though, I still encourage you to try to start something new.

I say this because no matter what happens, whether your venture is successful or not, you’re going to come out of it having learned something. From my own experience this past year as a co-founder of DK Cookies, I learned invaluable lessons in:

  • Handling cash flows in a business environment
  • Dealing with legal procedures and regulations
  • Responding to a changing customer demand
  • The true meaning of patience

Not everybody is along for the ride when it comes to using college to hone your entrepreneurial chops, though.  In the fall of 2010, billionaire Peter Thiel, co-founder of PayPal, announced that he was giving away $100,000 grants to 24 talented young entrepreneurs under the age of 20 to pursue their entrepreneurial dream instead of going to college or university. Thiel acknowledges that in encouraging young people to drop out of school, the program is controversial in some quarters. But, he notes, “[M]ore people are now realizing that college isn’t always the best option” for some students, adding “I hope our fellows inspire a generation about what they want in life and how to achieve it.”

What do you think? Is Thiel’s program a good thing, or is it a better move to graduate and then start a business?

We value the diverse voices and fresh ideas that our guest bloggers bring to BookRenter.com. However, the ideas and opinions expressed in guest posts are strictly those of the post’s author and don’t necessarily reflect the ideas or opinions of BookRenter.Com. The information in guest posts is often drawn from a variety of sources, and we count on our guest authors to verify and fact-check the content they post. BookRenter.Com makes no claims, express or implied, as to the accuracy or completeness of guest post content or the suitability of the content for a specific purpose.

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Learn While You Earn, and Build a Resume in the Process

Filed under: Post Grad and Career - BookRenter Team
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Don’t turn up your nose at what looks like a “nothing” job – it’s all in how you spin the experience.

by Evil Erin

Personally, we don’t know too many ­college students who don’t work at least part-time while they’re in school. Some wouldn’t be able to attend college at all without working. Others have the basics covered, but work so they can enjoy some extras. And a lucky few work not because they have to, but because they want to. No matter why they work, though, students who hold down jobs during college gain something that money can’t buy: experience, and a chance to develop marketable real-world skills.

Starting a job search? Don’t turn up your nose at a gig just because it looks like a “nothing” job that you wouldn’t want on your resume. As with lots of things in life, it’s all about how you spin the experience. And don’t overlook non-traditional or think-outside-the-box opportunities, many of them on or close to campus. For example:

  • Alumni Services Staffer – Working in your school’s office of alumni affairs will expose you to everything from fundraising and event planning to outbound marketing. Another great reason to seek out this kind of job: The networking potential. On your resume: Marketing communications coordinator, event coordinator, development (fundraising) coordinator.
  • Brand Ambassador – Marketing products to peers has taken off in recent years as more and more companies look at establishing a presence on college campuses. To find this kind of opportunity, check out BookRenter’s program or RepNation.com is a good place to start. On your resume: Marketing consultant, customer service specialist, brand evangelist (yes, that’s an actual job title in many companies).
  • Tutor – This gig isn’t for everyone. Patience and personality are prerequisites for the job. But private tutoring usually pays a decent hourly wage (especially for math and science tutors) and allows you some flexibility when it comes to scheduling. For tutoring opportunities, start by checking your campus placement service, local want ads, and Craigslist. On your resume: Tutor, teacher, subject matter expert (SME).
  • Residence Hall Advisor – Another job that’s not for everyone, but RAs usually receive a discount on their own dorm fees (or aren’t required to pay at all). On your resume:  Facilities manager, peer counselor, team-building specialist with excellent interpersonal skills.
  • Writer: Almost any career path you take will involve communication, a lot of it written. So getting some writing experience under your belt could stand you in good stead someday. Instead of waiting for jobs to be posted, be proactive. Contact local publications and marketing/advertising agencies to see if they use freelance writers. If you don’t have a portfolio of your work, offer to do an assignment “on spec.” If the editor doesn’t like what you do, they don’t have to pay you, but you’ll have a finished piece to show to the next publication or company you talk to. On your resume: Writer, fact-checker, researcher.
  • Entrepreneur: We’ve heard some great stories from students who created their own job opportunities. (One of them is Keith Kaplan, winner of one of two BookRenter 2011 Social Media Internships, who started his own cookie business while an undergrad at Michigan’s Albion College!) Other creative student businesses: a laundry service that delivers clean, folded clothes to students’ dorm rooms; a girl who offers personal wardrobe consulting and closet organizing; a weekend artist who turned her hobby into a paycheck by holding painting classes on campus; two classmates with one car and lots of initiative who provide child care support to working couples by picking up their kids from school; a computer geek (self-described) who offers 24/7 consulting and computer repair to students in his dorm; a journalism major who started an editorial service specializing in fact-checking, editing, and proofreading senior papers. On your resume: Entrepreneur, small business owner, director of marketing.

Planning to work while you’re in school? Tell us about it!

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