3 Golden Rules for College Entrepreneurs

Most college students are worried about what party to attend next, but I was busy thinking of innovative ways to make my first million. I built Tatto Media from my dorm room, sold it a few years later for $60 million, and continued forward with big plans for my future.

It’s a daunting task for a startup business to try to get off the ground amidst the social media boom. Here are the three best pieces of advice I ever received that helped make me a successful entrepreneur:

Self-assess Honestly and Find Supplemental Teammates

Be honest with yourself when evaluating your strengths and weaknesses, and look for team members who will balance you out. While studying at Babson College, I had a lot of major ideas, but not necessarily all of the architectural knowledge behind it to turn these ideas into a lucrative plan. I took the advice of Professor Leonard Green, CEO of Green Group, in asking for help where I needed it. I was realistic that I had holes to fill in my business plan and needed other people to help me work through these areas. I teamed up with fellow classmate Lin Miao, who balanced out my weaknesses and helped me with the company finances.

Don’t Underestimate Information Flow; Value Every Relationship

Being kind and respecting everyone is a must. I was at a board meeting when Baupost Group’s David Drubner told me to look around the table and point to the most important person there. He then pointed to his secretary, who had worked for him for 30 years, and said that she while may not hold the highest status in the room, she knows the right people and everything that is going on. Understanding how the information flow works when building yourself is crucial; you never know which relationships you will need in order to make it, so being respectful to everyone you come into contact with is crucial.

100 Percent of Nothing is Still Nothing

Don’t let greed stand in the way of your ultimate dream. I’ve seen countless numbers of people who have great ideas, but too much aggression too early on. You don’t need to be a one-man show to be successful. An entrepreneur’s career may include 30 or 40 ventures; each one should be a stepping stone and learning experience, so there’s no need to get greedy over one deal. Too many people walk away from great things because they expected too much.

While most think of an entrepreneur as a self-made one-man operation, I credit the help of others for being as important as any one person’s idea creation. With these tips in mind, you can make your vision a reality.



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About the Author: Andrew Bachman is the nationally recognized President of Scambook.com, the web’s leading consumers complaint platform in Los Angeles. He blogs about philanthropy, health, business, and life @ andrewbachman.tv. @andrewbachman



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  • I would also add the importance of finishing school and obtaining a relevant degree that can help fuel your forward. This seems obvious to me now, but as a young entrepreneur, my goal was to finish college as fast as I could so I could have a diploma that said I finished, but I lost track of why I was attending college in the first place (to help my future). I could have taken advantage of my resources (like you say) and taken business classes, but instead I wanted to do it all on my own.

    Also, try not to forget to have a little bit of fun when you can. We all need to relax sometimes!

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  • Andrew – Add to your first point about getting help (which is key) to looking beyond your close circle of friends. A lot of entrepreneurs automatically bring on their friends when they launch. The friend may be excited about the biz, and it’s great to work with people you like, but if the skills you need to get the biz going aren’t there, you’re doing yourself and the biz a disservice. And it will most likely end badly for the friendship. 

    Unless they’re bringing solid skills to the party, let you friends cheer you on from the sidelines. They’ll still be just as happy for your success.