4 Entrepreneurial Qualities Students Should Develop In College
So you want to be an entrepreneur, but you’re still in college. Unfortunately, very few, if any, schools offer classes or majors that are specifically suited for future entrepreneurs. Of course, you could major in business or marketing or economics, and you’d leave with a solid foundation in at least on aspect of building a successful startup.
At the same time, becoming an entrepreneur takes so much more than learning a few skills. It takes a special leader to become an entrepreneur with special personal qualities. For some people, these skills come naturally. But if they don’t, never fear. They can be developed, even while you’re still in school. Here’s what it takes:
While it may seem that empathy is a soft human quality that isn’t necessary in the cut-throat world of competitive businesses, nothing could be further from the truth. Simply put, empathy is the ability to understand others on their own terms. And guess what? As an entrepreneur, you’ll be forced to understand others—your employees, your customers, your investors—constantly. If you can’t empathize with just about anyone, then you can’t lead a successful startup
When students graduate from college, many go on to get full-time jobs and feel as though their days of learning something new are behind them. That’s an acceptable attitude to have if you want to have a traditional career. But if you want to found a startup, your desire to learn about the world around you, to learn new skills in constantly changing consumer climate, must be very strong.
The best way to further develop your curiosity in college is to learn new skills outside your classes. Don’t know HTML yet? Pick up a book and practice on your own! Interested in learning how to code? Look through some free instructional videos online. Entrepreneurship is all about being self-directed when it comes to learning.
3. Acceptance of Failure
As an entrepreneur, you’ll have to become very acquainted with failure. It’s a fact that most start-ups and small businesses fail constantly, especially over the long term, as noted here. In school, you might be the straight-A student. But have you considered that your college success to date is a function of your fear of failure? Maybe you take classes that you know you’ll excel in, or maybe stick with activities that make you comfortable. Take that leap and get out of your comfort zone. Get used to failing. Once you’ve developed the thick skin you’ll need to make it in business, a successful startup is within your grasp.
4. Following Through
Maybe you’re great at coming up with ideas. But coming up with ideas is only the first step, and it’s usually the step where people quit and give up. As a future entrepreneur, you’ll need to be able to follow through with ideas that you think are worth it, and even those that you think aren’t worth it.
You can study all day the details about founding a startup, and yet still not be successful. This is because true entrepreneurship requires everything from you. It requires specific expertise, but it also requires an entirely different mindset and worldview. Good luck!
Katheryn Rivas is a freelance writer and blogger whose writing specialty is trends in higher education. She enjoys guiding her readers through college and advising them on jumpstarting their careers. She also enjoys writing about personal finance, small business strategies, and parenting.