Get ready for the understatement of the year:
College is hectic.
The average student is expected to take a full course roster, familiarize themselves with campus life, build relationships with faculty and staff, join university groups, maintain GPA’s and scholarships, keep a healthy social schedule, navigate this new thing called adulthood and learn to make the library your new home.
Like all our peers, college was a constant balancing act. We were amateur plate spinners in the center of a thunderstorm.
Oh yeah, and we decided to start a business in the middle of it all.
We didn’t set out to be overachievers. An inconvenience led to sound business idea. That idea wouldn’t leave us alone, no matter how packed our schedule or how tired our bodies. Bungii kept persisting, so we did too.
Starting a business in college had its shares of victories and defeats. Here are four things we wish we would have known.
Number 1: Prioritize, prioritize, prioritize.
We would look back at our day and think about all the time “wasted” in class and on homework. Between classes, homework, sleeping, and part-time jobs we could only squeak in 4-6 hours a day for Bungii. That was hard to swallow knowing our competitors were at it full-time. The pressure of competition made it necessary for us to identify, prioritize, and accomplish the vitally important things that needed to get done.
Number 2: Your coursework and business class principles will come to life.
It's easy to learn something for the exam but afterwards something weird seems to happen-- you forget all of it. However, we could listen to the concepts professors taught and apply them directly to Bungii. We began to approach academics differently and our GPA's jumped to an all time high. The classes, concepts, terms, case studies and definitions became real when we had the advantage of practicing them outside of class.
Number 3: Your peers might think it’s a mistake.
While our classmates were busy interviewing with and accepting jobs from some of the top companies in the region, we were occupied with Bungii. When some classmates found out we were planning to continue the “cute little truck company”, they seemed to dismiss how serious we were about building the business. Many of them saw it as a huge risk with little to gain. Some friends couldn’t understand why we wouldn’t join an established company. We were “losing connections” because we had not signed with a top company and weren't going to be making much money.
There’s no fault in that plan. Until we began devoting time to Bungii, we had the same strategy for life after college. It was a solid plan: sign with a good company and let the first position send us through the business sector. But Bungii had other plans. Our post-college plans had shifted, making room front-and-center for a “cute little truck company” to become much bigger.
Number 4: The right people will notice.
Contrary to peer's reactions, the reactions from professors and successful entrepreneurs were fantastic. They were excited to help college students navigate the business world. The time, direction, and guidance given to us was worth thousands of dollars. We were humbled by the way business leaders set aside a part of their day to help.
Starting Bungii in college was demanding. It took every spare minute we had and changed our priorities during some of our most formative years. It gave us long term goals that stretched past our time on campus. It prepared us to move up to the big leagues and become professional plate spinners.