7 Advice for College Kids Working on a Startup Idea

Shafeeka Hafeez
5 min readJan 13, 2020

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From One College Kid to Another

90 percent of startups never see the light of day.

To put it into perspective, only 1 in 10 startups succeed.

One misstep and you could be off the game.

It may sound bizarre but that’s the risk you should be willing to take.

As a business student trying to apply what I’ve learnt in class to a real-life business, I can relate to your desperation. Technically, desperation is not a good feeling to have, but it could be the driving fuel for entrepreneurs — or so I’ve been told.

Here’s a bunch of things I’ve learnt so far and I wish someone had told me sooner. But here we go, from me to you.

01. Stay up to date

College is great, but the course materials? Not so much.

Most of the course materials and reference books are based on outdated information — which is no match for the pace at which the business world is evolving.

If your teachers aren’t teaching you today’s trends, today’s failures, today’s techniques — seek them out on your own. Know the world you’re about to step into. Otherwise what’s the point?

I wasn’t taught about customer personas in class, but my business plan would have been an utter waste without a solid customer profile. That’s only one of the many things I had to learn from scratch, and I couldn’t help but feel a bit lost. I was, after all, reading for a business degree but didn’t know the basics to get a business off the ground.

Here’s a checklist you can use to expand your knowledge.

  • Subscribe to a business news website and read it the first thing every morning.
  • Take up free online courses, there’s plenty out there — you just need to dig around to unlock a treasure trove of information.
  • Talk to successful businessmen you know of, or can find in the vicinity. Your college ID might even act as a free pass to get in touch with them.
  • Subscribe to YouTube channels of successful founders, or industry specialists. Some of them have useful nuggets of wisdom to share.

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Shafeeka Hafeez

I write about startups building a more sustainable world | #SolveDifferent