How to Thrive as a Small Business Owner While in School

According to a recent study, 89% of the general population believes that college is a good investment, even though it has become increasingly expensive. Furthermore, a whopping 94% of parents expect their child to attend college. The college-going trend has frequently been that students would graduate high school and immediately attend college. However, we have seen a trend in small business owners, regardless of age or educational background, heading back to school. We have also seen younger small business owners, mostly from the millennial generation, launching their small businesses while they are in school. These businesses vary in service, product and speciality.

The typical issues that come up while a small business owner is in school include the following:

  1. Managing college debt while operating a business
  2. Operating a business while taking care of school work.

In this blog, we are going to discuss tips for each of the above common issues that small business owners face when they go back to school. Whether you are heading back to school this September or planning on taking classes later this year, or even in the following year, this guide should help you with the ongoing management of both school and business.

How to Manage College Debt While Operating A Business

One of the many challenges to starting a business after college or running one while you are in college is dealing with college debt. You have all of the household costs associated with living as an adult plus the costs associated with your student debt repayment plan. Furthermore, you have the costs, if there are any, of running your business, without the regularity of a job to help with these payments. While college debt may add to additional stress, there are ways in which you can improve upon and give ease to your situation. Here are a few tactics that can help you achieve some peace while managing your college debt:

  1. Keep things conservative.
    Living on a low expense budget is the best way to save profits for debt repayment plans and save up for future possibilities. The same mindset should be applied to your business expenses.
  2. Compare interest rates for all debt.
    Most student loans have low interest rates, so make sure that you review and compare interest rates for any small business loans or lines of credit.
  3. Make your payments on time.
    A record of on-time payments improves your credit score. If you can’t make a payment on time for your school loan, contact your lender ahead of time. They are usually very flexible.
  4. Save up before going all-in.
    Most lenders recommend that you take on a professional job, save up, and once you have the profit required to fully commit to your business and paying back student loans, then is the time to focus on your business full-time.
  5. Look into crowdfunding or family loans.
    These platforms enable users to receive financial gifts and support from volunteers, the public or friends and family members. This type of funding can leverage your business and even pay off your debt!

How to Operate a Business While in School

Whether you have a professional business providing services or goods while you’re in school, you will want it to function so that you can continue to make money and grow. This is especially common for those college students that provide web-based skills like graphic design, copywriting, website development and other online services. Here are a few tips as to how you can operate these types of businesses while you are taking classes:

  1. Focus on building your portfolio.
    Your college days are a great way for you to put focus on both refining your skills and creating a portfolio that showcases them. Portfolios also come in various forms these days, from actual books, to blogs, to Instagram feeds.
  2. Continue finding new clientele.
    There are several freelancing platforms online that can help provide a network of clientele and that can manage actual income through their online, integrated payment system. These platforms, like Upwork, can take the stress out of operating a business while you are in school.
  3. Study near your storefront.
    Going to school near the location of your business is a great way for you to attend class and quickly return to the shop. This is especially helpful for those businesses providing products and merchandise. Staying in proximity to the store helps you manage it easier.

To many, college can be a quality payoff in helping business owners grow their businesses or take them to the next level. According to a 2012 study, “a typical college graduate earns an estimated $650,000 over a work life than a high school graduate.” For those small business owners looking to improve their skills, expand their knowledge and improve their credentials, college seems to be a good option.

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