I started my first company in 1996 while attending McGill University. It was between my 3rd and 4th years. I completed my degree and graduated, but work was a heck of a lot more fun. Plus, I never picked up my diploma…
Earlier today I spoke at Startup Square’s inaugural event. What’s great about Startup Square is that it’s a collaboration of students from different universities and schools in Montreal. If the administrators at these places won’t get together and help create an entrepreneurial culture, then the students will take the reigns. And that’s exactly how it should be. Inasmuch as it would be wonderful to see a complete bridge between entrepreneurs – schools – students, we may have to skip the middleman.
My presentation was entitled, “How to be an Entrepreneur While Still in School”. It was really a glorified trip down memory lane, covering some of the bumpy, funny and successful moments in my entrepreneurial career. Hopefully the students found it worthwhile. Without a doubt there are many smarter and more creative folks out there, and I’m hunting for them. But the truth is that smarts and creativity only get you so far, being opportunistic on the other hand…
I’ve included my presentation below, but most of it won’t make a lot of sense out of context. However, I did want to discuss 3 key points about how students can be entrepreneurs while still in school (or immediately after graduating):
- Be open
- Take risks
- Be strategic
It’s really as simple as that. Everything I’ve done (successfully and unsuccessfully) has been a result of combining those three elements.
You have to be open to opportunity, recognize it and go for it when it comes. You have to be willing to take risks and realize that they’re not that risky after all. And you have to be strategic about what you do and how you go about it. You’re not out there in the world shooting a machine gun with your eyes blindfolded. You’ve got a precision laser assault rifle (or some such nasty weapon of choice) and your eyes are very much open.
Be open. Take risks. Be strategic.
And if you have any questions about the presentation, please ask. If you’d like to meet, connect, talk about startups, your startup, or working at a startup, use the Tungle.me widget in the sidebar.
images in the presentation provided by Shutterstock