Top 10 tips for college students preparing for entrepreneurship

By Ryan Durkin, COO, CampusLIVE Inc.

I believe it’s important for people running businesses in Boston to talk on college campuses and help other young people figure out the world of college/graduation/jobs/startups/LIFE! I often times have gone to Boston College, Boston University, Suffolk University, Babson College, and UMass and have spoken to entrepreneur, finance, marketing, and other business clubs with the goal of talking about SPECIFIC tips and tricks I picked up through college that can help. I’m also able to meet a ton of new students with different views and thoughts on what I’m currently building. It’s a win-win, and I suggest other young business leaders in Boston get out into the community and speak to students about specific things they can do to help.

I remember too often going to “guest lectures” in college and listening to people I simply could not relate to – 60-year-old businessmen speaking about generic business thoughts like “find your passion and work hard.” I’m all for working hard. And passion is very important. But GIVE ME SOME SPECIFICS, MAN!

Well. Here they are. SPECIFIC things students can and should do in college if they are interested in pursuing a future in business and entrepreneurship.

Check out the slideshow at Durkin’s Blog or read the list below:
Durkin’s Top Ten List of things to do in college to prepare yourself for a life of entrepreneurship.
1. Read These Three Books:

How to win friends & influence people – Dale Carnegie
Never eat alone – Keith Ferrazzi
Atlas shrugged – Ayn Rand

Question: What does every long lasting house or skyscraper need?
Answer: A foundation. What’s yours?

2. Craft a Leadership Resume

Top Down Vision

2. Double major. Because you can.
3. GPA. There is no “minimum” number. It’s all pride.
4. Scholarships. Include them. It shows someone believes in you.
5. Athletics. Include them. It shows you are competitive.
6. High school jobs. Include them. It shows work ethic.

*** What I believe is one of the most IMPORTANT and most OVERLOOKED parts of the entire resume.

3. Take Independent Studies

Whenever possible…do an independent study over “class.” Get a faculty sponsor, read books that interest you, and apply those books to real life. My senior year in college I did two of these. It replaced two classes and earned me six credits. I only wish I had done it sooner.

4. Don’t join clubs to join clubs

Do one of two things instead:
1. START a new club that you’re passionate about.
2. LEAD a club that already exists. Get better at LEADING. Not following. Leadership takes practice.

5. Pay for School on THEM 

Win scholarships. It’s a numbers game. It’s. All. About. The. Numbers.

I won 14 scholarships and did not pay for college. You shouldn’t pay either.

6. Shadow. Don’t “Intern.”

My suggestion: Shadow. Don’t intern. Pick 10 people to shadow each summer, not one. Your goal at internships should be to learn what you want to do post graduation. How can you do that unless you experience a ton of different things?

7. Follow the Leader

Follow advice from leaders you admire. Then lead yourself.

1. Donald Trump (for his ability to think BIG)
2. Gary Player (for his strong moral fiber and competitive spirit)
3. Keith Ferrazzi (for his ability to make friends)
4. Denzel Washington (because he is just so god damn smooth)

Who do you admire? And how can you follow their lead while at the same time mold your own leadership style?

8. Pick a Focus

If you want to work at a startup, you need to hone a skillset. There are six job types at our startup:

1. Web Development (writing code)
2. Web Design (Photoshop / Illustrator)
3. Sales (selling)
4. Marketing Analytics (acquiring users)
5. * Product (analyzing users and improving experience)
6. * Finance & Ops & HR (running the books)

* These jobs are rarely available for recent graduates. If you are most interested in this, you should speak to me about the best plan of attack.

9. Assemble Co-founders 

Assemble your co-founding team of three: One developer, one designer, one business. And surround yourself with people you like.

10. Understand “Co-Flow”

Build a company/product/feature/service for you and your employees first. Something YOU will use. Once that’s done, then you can think about everyone else.

Read about Bill Warner and this method of building a business from the heart.


Become a Renaissance Man

Convey to people you are extremely well rounded.

1. Academics
2. Athletics
3. Entrepreneurship
4. Music


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