It's not all that easy to look around in the current economic climate and keep a positive outlook. The talk of foreclosure, on homes and businesses, seems just as all-pervasive as it was this time last year, with the sole, non-encouraging difference that the country's foremost business analysts and economists are no longer rushing into making bright-eyed positive forecasts. The outlook does, indeed, seem dire from this side of the fence, especially if you happen to be young, soon-to-be-unemployed and in debt. According to a recent story published by The Daily Telegraph
, Australia's students have racked up the largest amount of money owed to the state in debt – in the history of the loan program for higher education (popularly known as HELP). What is more, $5.2 of the total $23.1 billion owed has been marked "doubtful debt", while the largest tabs are run by students in the allegedly most noble fields of study, medicine and law. So what is one to do, when young, down and out and with a seemingly reduced number of options ahead? Start a business, of course!
First off, before you scoff and frown remember that the average age of the people who started Google, Yahoo and Microsoft was twenty-four at the time they took up the business—and we're not even bringing Facebook mogul Mark Zuckerberg into the equation. Why is that these businesses, started by young, apparently inexperienced people, did not tank, quite the contrary? For one thing, all those people who dared turn their business dreams into (often costly) realities, had no assets. How is that a good thing? Here's the bottom line: when you're young, you can basically live off of nothing. Many students live with their parents, others pay 'student-like' rental prices on their studio flats, and a whole lot of them are used to scarce, poor-quality food. Not that we're encouraging malnourishment; we're simply saying that it's easier to ride out bad times with little money, when you're already used to doing that as a college student.
Which brings us to our second point: driving your already low overhead costs even lower. Believe it or not, you can pay even less for starting a business than you would as a simple college student or graduate. Gone are the days when a business highly depended on its physical presence, it's office, number of employees and other material perks. Bear in mind that we live in the day and age when all you need to start a sound business is online presence, which you can create virtually for free, and some sort of space to conduct business in. Now, your mother's basement, no matter how spic-and-span will still always fall short of being an appropriate business meeting venue. Luckily, a simple Google search will lead you to providers of serviced offices Regus
, which allow clients to rent out meeting space on the very short term.
Last, but certainly not least, college students don't realize that their most valuable commodity has been surrounding them for all those years at school. They've been sharing classes, dorm rooms and parties—their colleagues. University is one major networking and socializing hub and if you play your cards right, you stand every chance at forming strong bonds with your future clients, business partners, or simply some guy in your class born with a silver spoon, who's got the necessary cash to jump-start your brilliant business idea.
Gone are the days when one graduated from college, got a job, and went on with life the good ol' traditional way. In a time of self-made tycoons, you never know when you, too, could become the next one in line to the Forbes list.