Perhaps you'd like to create something lasting, to make a real difference or change things. Or perhaps you'd simply like a bit more control of your own life than you'd get if you go down the beaten track of employment, long holidays and predictable career paths. If any of the above strike a chord, perhaps you should consider becoming an entrepreneur.
Since early childhood we're training to give up more and more of our natural creativity, as we're slowly formed into the same mold as most people around us - into employees. Not that there anything wrong with being an employee, perhaps long holidays, steady working hours and a sense or order is really important to you. That's ok.
But if you've always preferred being your own boss and you'd like to be forming your own path in life then a traditional career can be a frustrating and unchallenging lifestyle. Personally, I started in investment banking before I become an entrepreneur, so I had the well-paid, great career prospect job many dreamt of, but it just wasn't cutting it for me. I was frustrated by the slow moving culture and all the rules. And many of my colleagues reacted with both irritation and nastiness to my insistence on improving things and making things "smarter", so it was a fairly unpleasant experience at times. Now I run my own company Everplaces, an mobile and web application where you can find the truly great restaurants, bars etc. via the insider knowledge of your friends, and I love every minute of it.
Three reasons you should become an entrepreneur:
1) You value freedom over income, and you'd prefer to be your own boss
2) You really want to create or achieve something more than standard
3) You hate rules and procedures and often think "this can surely be done better!"
First, lets dispel a few myths, such as, you dont have to be an evil capitalist to be an entrepreneur, in fact you dont even have to be motivated by money, lots of entrepreneurs mostly want to make people's live easier or better. It's also not as hard as it sounds, you can just start out with a little company or project so you can learn the skills. It's totally ok (actually its normal) that your first idea or project doesn't turn into anything in particular. It's part of the training, you also didn't get to this level of academia without practice.
For me, it was by coincidence I stumbled upon entrepreneurship. I simply decided to learn how to be an entrepreneur, armed myself with lots of books and started working on it. I had no idea where to start, and if I'd had half the chances to learn stuff as students at the danish universities have today I would have jumped at them. Because the time while you're at uni is actually it's a great time starting to learn how to be an entrepreneur.
Three reasons your student years is the perfect time to start a company.
1) You get SU, so you don't actually need anymore money
2) You have your whole life ahead of you, if it goes wrong you can just get a normal job afterwards
3) If you start now you can get ahead.
Because Denmark is in so dire need of innovators and entrepreneurs there are tons of programs for free for you to learn. That's because our welfare state depends on your generation of graduates coming out with the skills to create their own jobs plus jobs for others. Denmark is lagging behind in both company creation and job creation ranks in the western world and this will be detrimental to our future if we dont reverse it. I'd recommend you try some of these courses, activities and programmes, even if its just to have a look and learn a few skills you'll be able to use in a normal job too.
Three great offers to build entrepreneurial skills while at uni.
1) Test out an idea in Venture Cup
2) Check out NextGen
3) Go to Friday Drinks or Wednesday talks at Copenhagen School of Entrepreneurship
Venture Cup is a competition where you can send your idea or startup in to get some feedback, and just try out the thinking behind starting a company. You'll learn a lot and start establishing a valuable network. The simple fact that you have a deadline is great for most people who need an excuse to start right now. Right now is perfect timing since the deadline for Venture Cups big startup competition is 7 May. See www.venturecup.dk.
NextGen is a big umbrella iniative which most of the startup programmes in Copenhagen are a part of, so its a great place to get an overview of what's happening. see www.nxtgen.dk/en/events/
Copenhagen School of Entrepreneurship (CSE) is located at CBS, but hosts open events for everyone, lots of students from other unis, business people and experienced entrepreneurs attend. On Wednesdays you can learn skills, and on some Fridays you can build your network and talk to like minded people over a casual beer. Facebook.com/csenews
Trust me when I say that the hardest step is the first, we're programmed to be afraid to fail, so just get over that and start something small. Even volunteer or do an internship with an existing startup. After the first step, it all becomes much easier.
- Tine Thygesen
Co-founder of Everplaces.com and Founders House
"Everplaces is a tool to keep track of all the places you dont want to forget about, and those you want to try out in the future. FoundersHouse is a coworking space for tech and mobile startups in the heart of Copenhagen".