My experience of starting up while studying


We live in a society where students are not encouraged to work unless the financial conditions of their family demands them to do so. In India, we rarely find students from affluent families working while still at college. I was in the same situation too a couple of years ago when I started my engineering course. But, I had always admired the habit in the West where teens, whichever class they belonged to, generated income by involving themselves in part-time jobs. So, I began to search for some part-time jobs in nearby areas, but I hardly found any. I live in a Tier II city in south India.

I felt disappointed. But found out that I had to do something different to fulfill my desire to work part time. At that time, starting up was trending in and around my campus. My college had its own entrepreneurship wing and was providing incubation to around 20 startups then. Its director, with a vision to motivate students to start up rather than take up conventional jobs, had started few programmes to empower students with entrepreneurial skills. I feel really lucky to be a part of those programmes and to also discover that a friend of mine shared common interests with me.

My friend is an avid reader and regularly faced problems in getting the latest books from libraries and friends. He came up with a beautiful idea where students could borrow books on a low rental basis. The books that used to pile up in their homes now had the potential to earn. After many brainstorming sessions, my friend and I created a business plan and with the entrepreneurship wing director’s support started The Novel Store.

Why startup so young?

  • TO LEARN: Starting up provides learning opportunities that no other activity does! Right from ideation to marketing, everything challenges you and shapes you to become better everyday. Entrepreneurship makes learning an integral part of one’s life.
  • TO EARN: Starting up while in college may not help you support yourself completely, but it is an excellent source for pocket-money. It also increases our value for money.
  • ITS RISK-FREE: Yes! Starting up while in college involves low risk as the basic resources like space, furniture, internet all come at no cost.
  • TO BECOME AN ALL-ROUNDER: Creating the brand, preparing business plan, maintaining the assets, selling the product - through it all you get to play diverse roles which will surely make you an all-rounder for life.
  • TO WORK SMARTLY: Handling many things requires not just hard work but smart work. Prioritising tasks smartly to overcome challenges is key to maintaining a good work-study balance.
  • TO GROW QUICKLY: Fail early, fail cheap! Entrepreneurship teaches you to take decisions quickly and act faster as you can’t imagine losing even a single opportunity. It’s a path to overall growth.
  • BEST WAY TO SOCIALISE: Entrepreneurship is all about connecting with people and constantly improving relations. Starting up in college proves to be the best as the primary customers will be your friends and professors. A wonderful opportunity to improve one’s social skills.

The Novel Store has shaped us both into better individuals by helping us improve our overall personality. We are far more zealous and are dealing with life in a more planned and smarter way than before. Also, we feel a higher sense of satisfaction by spreading the habit of learning in a way affordable for all. What are you waiting for? Go ahead, believe and start up!

About the author:

Sourabh Alagundagi, a budding entrepreneur from Hubli.

(image credit: ShutterStock)


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