What I Wish I Knew About Entrepreneurship Before I Graduated College

First of all, I must congratulate you.

This is an incredible milestone. You’ve stuck with something through many challenges and you completed it. Just the fact that you’re completing college says something about your character! You had a years-long goal and you achieved it. Now you’re dreaming of going freelance, launching your own startup or maybe a nonprofit. 

Today I want to share just a few things that I think every hopeful entrepreneur should know by the time you walk across the stage and get your diploma. 

What Every Aspiring Entrepreneur Needs to Know By Graduation

Your education is only beginning. The rest of it simply isn’t for a grade. But to succeed you’ve got to constantly invest in education—whether it’s books, internships, podcasts, TedTalks, or time with a mentor. There are lessons and teachable moments all around you. Learn them. And now you get to choose the books you read. Score! 

Failure will happen. Embrace it early. The more you fail, the more resilience you’ll build. The bigger your aspirations, the more failure will undoubtedly be a part of your journey. Make failure your best friend. Don’t shy away from it. 

You are who you hang out with. Be intentional in spending time with people who encourage you as you head down this non-traditional path. Be intentional in spending time with people who are doing things—not just talking about doing things or worse yet—people who are critics. Stay connected with people from college and constantly invest in opportunities to connect with new people at a variety of career phases. 

Structure and plans help. Don’t worry—the plan can be tweaked! But as of the day after graduation you suddenly may find yourself with a lot more time on your hands. Use that time to reflect, dream, and begin to put together 90-day and year-long goals. Even if you’re striking out on your own, you need to have a plan and structure in place to achieve your goals. 

Risk and reward are twins. You may have trouble trying something new and putting yourself out there for fear of failing in front of people you respect. But reward always comes with risk. And the truth is, you can always change directions if you change your mind about something. Just try. The chances that you'll regret trying are slim.

You’ll never feel fully prepared. You’ll never know everything you need to know before launching. You’ve got to ship and then just learn on the way down. 

Graduation is truly only the beginning. I’m thrilled for you to embark on this next phase in the journey. The 20s can be a really weird time so don’t lose heart. And don't get too caught up in expectations. Every one's experience is different but I can tell you from experience, it just gets better. 

If you’re an entrepreneur, I’d love for you to weigh in! What would you add to this list? 
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