Creating a brand or building a project outside of your studies can propel you into a great position after you graduate. Internships and extracurricular activities are desirable in today’s hiring environment but to build such a resume a student you’ll need efficient time management skills.
Time is the one metric that is never in our favor when looking to be this ambitious as a student entrepreneur. As a founding member of any young entity, there are many hats to wear. After the endless hours and long nights of work put into your part-time venture, there’s class or studying to be done.
Here are a few realizations that I came across that helped me maximize my efficiency and save time as a student entrepreneur.
Do one thing well
A wise man once told me, “It’s not what can be built, it’s what should be built.” That man was my co-founder. We were in the pre-launch phase of our mobile news platform Bando, and at the time we’d created a list of about 20 different features that would work within the app. But not only would creating and managing those products require a great deal of time, but it may also steer our customers away from the main problem our app actually solves.
In this case, we had to focus on one product mainly because of time—which was mostly allocated towards class when I was a student. Since you’re likely trying to manage an equally busy schedule, focus on building a quality project that you will have to show after graduation day. Stretching yourself thin and trying to commit too many hours into too many tasks can deter you from reaching either goal.
As your bandwidth allows, build your project around your class schedule and don’t bite off more than you can chew. Some of the best ideas are the simplest.
Gaining traction and initial users is both a fun and scary part of the early stages of any project. Doing these tasks well is a matter of understanding your customers and target demographic. But to gain that understanding is time consuming, so instituting processes that take marketing tasks off your hands is an important skill to learn and utilize.
The advances of automation have created a whole new way to discover and learn about customers. There are many tools to help you automate your marketing duties, the key is using them strategically.
If you generate leads through social media, automated services could help you increase your efficiency and ideally scale those communities with less work from you. Tools like Buffer, Instagress, and Manage Flitter are constantly developing their product to cater your needs. These services should definitely find a place in your weekly work flow.
But the additional benefit comes in utilizing the data you’ve been able to get through these methods. How will you better engage your users and grow your audience now that you know more about their behavior on your platform?
Learn, Learn, Learn!
The best approach is an educated one. It’s hard to manager your eagerness and ambition, but to save time for someone who only has so much, it’s better to learn as much as you can before jumping into any project head first.
Learning through hands-on experience is the most fruitful, but there are also so many resources available online, and from peers and faculty who can help you with the ideas you’d like to pursue.
While you have these resources available as a student, use them! Don’t hesitate to ask your professor for advice after hours or use your university’s equipment to help the early stages of your project. Even after you graduate, the most valuable employees are resourceful.
Use these tips to your advantage when seeking to further your professional career through extracurricular projects and internships. These methods may seem peculiar but as a student entrepreneur it’s about expanding your experience while managing your bandwidth.