Do you have dreams of starting your own business? If you’re looking ahead to studying entrepreneurship in college in a few years, you might not think there is much you can do right now to prepare. However, high school students can get ready for successful careers as entrepreneurs in many ways, from selecting a great blend of classes to take to networking and even launching their first company, all before they graduate with their diploma.
Take Classes That Matter
When you’re planning for an out-of-the-box career path as an entrepreneur, your time is valuable. Make sure that you’re squeezing every drop of education out of your high school curriculum by choosing classes that will teach you useful skills. Some high schools offer a class in entrepreneurship, in which students practice launching an imaginary company or, even better, actually act on starting their own business. Naturally, a targeted class like entrepreneurship is a great choice. Business education classes, too, can equip high school students with introductory skills in entrepreneurship as well as business law and management. Classes like personal finance, economics and accounting are smart choices regardless of your intended major but can be particularly beneficial for students who hope to someday start their own business.
This doesn’t mean that you can eschew other subjects in favor of business studies or that neglecting your other classes is wise. These mainstream classes are prevalent for a reason, and they can hold a great deal of value for aspiring entrepreneurs. For example, having a solid foundation in math and developing strong speaking and writing skills are both integral to future career success, Entrepreneur reported. If you don’t earn good grades in these classes, you may find it difficult to get into college in the first place or to be accepted into the entrepreneurship major at a prestigious business school.
Other high school classes to consider include psychology, which will give you insight into human behavior, and ethics, which will help you understand ethical issues and determine what you want your startup’s core values to be.
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Connect With Established Entrepreneurs
As an entrepreneur, you won’t have the benefit of an existing structure to guide your business. You must consider how to handle your daily operations, comply with regulations and get your startup off the ground – all of which can be difficult, if not overwhelming, decisions. Many entrepreneurs launch their first company as early as 20 years old, according to Forbes, which means that they haven’t been part of the traditional workforce long enough yet to learn what works and what doesn’t.
You could attempt to make these business decisions from scratch, all on your own. However, having input from a mentor or even just an established entrepreneur you trust can save you a good deal of trial and error and help you work smarter rather than just harder. It’s never too early to start networking. From the start of your efforts toward entrepreneurship, it can be helpful to have someone who has walked this path already to talk to and learn from about everything from choosing a college to writing your first business plan.
Forging these connections doesn’t have to be a challenge. If you get involved with an entrepreneurship or business club at your school, you may have the opportunity to meet guest speakers. You can also introduce yourself to business owners in your community or reach out to online entrepreneurs who you admire. If you get your first job at a small business, you can learn a lot from the owner while beginning to earn money.
In addition to utilizing your school’s resources and networking with community members, there are plenty of other ways to go about finding a mentor.
Get Your Business Started
Who says you need to wait until college (or beyond) to launch your company? Instead of making plans for “someday,” start acting on your goals now. Write down your business ideas and flesh them out by asking yourself what makes your business unique, how you will reach customers and what supplies and skills you need to succeed. Certainly, some types of businesses are easier to start at a young age and with limited capital than others – a lemonade stand or lawn-mowing company may be more feasible than a medical facility or a company that builds high-tech devices – but it’s never too early to begin gaining firsthand experience as an entrepreneur.
If possible, look for education and support through an organization like Young Entrepreneurs Academy. Even if you don’t get your business off the ground before you finish high school, you may find once you get to college through business incubators.