Whether you are still in high school or already deep in your college education, you’re almost certainly being bombarded by people asking what career you want to pursue and where you might want to get a job. And, to be sure, there are plenty of great companies to work for doing amazing things.
For some people, though, the lure of entrepreneurship is strong. The reasons to consider starting your own venture are plentiful: the chance to create something from the ground up, to bring your own vision to life, to experience the exhilaration of success. And when you’re an entrepreneur you’ll never have a boss who undervalues you!
Sounds great, right? So how do you get started? We’ve assembled five ideas for ways to use your summer break to immerse yourself in learning the valuable skills of entrepreneurship.
Learn from the entrepreneurship experts
Consider a summer program aimed at teaching entrepreneurship. The six-week Quarter Zero Catapult Incubator guides participants through the process of launching a business from honing ideas to pitching funders. Launch Generation teaches both business skills and the adaptable, open mindset successful entrepreneurs need. At the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, students in the two-week intensive entrepreneurship course visit business accelerators and work in teams to develop business ideas.
Take matters into your own hands
They say the best way to learn is by doing, so learn about entrepreneurship by taking a stab at launching a business. You don’t have to have the next big tech idea on your hand to learn the basics. Mow lawns, start a tutoring service, design and sell t-shirts, or use your skills as a digital native to help local businesses promote themselves on social media. As you face -- and solve -- all the challenges that arise, you will get a crash course in budgeting, time management, marketing, and communications.
Take a class online
If your summer is busy with sports, work, or other adventures, you can still learn about entrepreneurships on your own timeline by taking an online course. EdX, a consortium of top schools led by Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, offers a range of relevant courses from Business Fundamentals to Introduction to Marketing. Or check out Coursera for a wide selection of entrepreneurship offerings.
Shadow an entrepreneur
Maybe your friend’s roommate’s mother is in the middle of launching a start-up. Or perhaps there’s an exciting to company just getting going in your hometown. Identify a young business that intrigues you and give them a call to see if you can hang around and absorb the action. With luck, they might even have an entry-level job available for you so you can experience entrepreneurship first-hand while fetching coffee and earning a little money.
It’s hard to imagine a more important skill for an entrepreneur than sales. When you’re starting a business you have to sell your vision to investors, your workplace to potential employees, and, of course, your product to buyers. So start learning that essential ability right now. Get a job in a retail store, volunteer to do fundraising for a local nonprofit, or sell your services as a landscaper to your neighbors. You are sure to learn valuable lessons about eye contact, body language, public speaking, and persuasion.
If the idea of being your own boss and building your own business sounds appealing, it is not too soon to get started.