Graduating from college into an entrepreneur

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Joining the entrepreneurial ranks is an exciting endeavor, especially for new graduates. Instead of that three month Europe vacation with your college friends, or launching yourself into a cubicle for the rest of your life, think about becoming an entrepreneur.

Starting the entrepreneur journey after graduation is in some ways perfect timing. New college grads have a network of intelligent peers, Yale University professors to lean on for advice, and access to labs and library. What more could an entrepreneur ask for?

It is, however, not an easy undertaking, whether you launch your startup after graduation, or 20 years down the road. The same problems exist, but as an entrepreneur, you solve problems.

“The question might be posed as to whether successful entrepreneur-problem-solvers use their natural talents to find success, or whether those skills are cultivated after years of experience,” Jayson DeMers of Entrepreneur explained.

To mitigate future problems that many entrepreneurs run into, we compiled a list of three tips to make your journey a successful one as soon as you hang up that gown and cap.

Doing market testing is maybe one of the most important tips any new entrepreneur can employ. The number one reason a product or service falls flat is no market. In fact, 42 percent of all startups fail due to a lack of market need, according to data from CB Insights.

How can you do market testing? Great question! Before you invest a ton of time and money into building a startup, spend a little money to get a feel for what your future consumer base wants, if there is one. Market testing can tell you if your idea is viable, if your pricing is right, where your customers are, and more.

To do this, create a WordPress website and sign up for Google AdWords. Next create a search network ad and run it for five days at $30 to $50 per day. Be sure to have a clear “Purchase Now” button that leads to a separate landing page where you can simply capture an email, since you don’t have a product yet to sell and ship.

If you net enough sales to justify spending $150 to $250 per week on Google ads, you have a market. If you get no sales, you may need to readjust your ad, landing page, price, or pack your bag and brainstorm in Europe with your friends.

Being an entrepreneur and startup founder is not easy. You need to be knowledgeable in multiple business disciplines, like technology, finance, marketing, operations, networking, sales, and more. This may seem overwhelming, but it shouldn’t keep you up at night.

Once you test your startup market and see success, it is time to hit the books. Yes, more books. You may have a diploma, but the cram sessions never stop for entrepreneurs. If you are passionate, this will be more fun than a chore.

How do you gain so much knowledge in a short amount of time? Audio books. Find the three best selling books in every business discipline and begin listening to them for two hours each day. It is best to not mix them though, so listen to the top three books for each in a row. Marketing is probably the best place to begin.

Becoming a marketing guru may seem counterproductive to your goal of becoming an entrepreneur. After all, if you wanted to be a marketer, you would have chosen that as your major. However, marketing is a must for entrepreneurs, even if you have endless funding to pay someone to do it for you.

For instance, let’s say you see value in the Google AdWords ads, netting a large number of sales each week. Don’t just set it and forget it. You should always be looking to better every aspect of your startup until it is basically optimized and automated.

One way to maximize your ad results is to employ programmatic display advertising tactics. This tactic gives you the ability to bid on ad space in real-time to net the highest profits from your target audience.

Other marketing tactics include social media marketing, influencer marketing, traditional marketing campaigns, and let’s not forget becoming an authority guest contributor across multiple high-authority publications, like Inc. and Forbes.

There is never a perfect time to begin your entrepreneur journey. However, college graduates are in a unique position to catalyze startup success. Test your market, become a multi-tool of knowledge, and think marketing around every corner for success. What are you doing after graduation?

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