How to Actually Start Your Own Business by Brennan Costello

November 4, 2016
Buffalo Bartending logo

I had it all planned out. My senior year was going to be a year all about enjoying my time, really committing to the things I was passionate about and finally starting my own business: Buffalo Bartending.

Buffalo Bartending was an idea that I had been tossing around for some time. I saw that most college students know nothing about bartending and just order the cheapest, terrible tasting drinks at the bar. I was going to create a company that offered quick, fun, cheap classes teaching college kids about different types of alcohol and how to drink it. I had a business model worked up by the time that August rolled around and was ready to start really working on it.

But then things got busy.

First it was just class, but then it was a couple weekly organization meetings, then it was a part time job, then it was an impromptu trip to the movie theater, then it was a few more obligations that I said yes to. And before I knew it, I was back to the regular college-kid schedule of just trying to get to my meeting and wanting the next weekend to get here.

My business idea went nowhere and my senior year flew by very quickly. And many of the college students I talk to now are doing the same thing. Having been through this, my suggestion is to focus more on starting something, instead of just getting involved in a huge number of organizations or wasting your time away. I really wish I would have started my Buffalo Bartending business. Part of me still really wants to - I think it's the 'fire in your belly' that causes the desire to start something of your own. But when we run the regular college-kid schedule and fall into the same bad habits, we never give ourselves a chance to live out a dream of starting our own venture. So I've listed a few resources and philosophies below that could help you avoid this common time trap.

                1. Block your time. Get your calendar in front of you and block off 2 hours everyday. These two hours become your time to think, innovate and get real work done. I've found these are crucial to actually making progress on my business goals. I like using the Pomodoro Technique to manage this time chunk This is hard, and I'm not very good at it yet, but we've got to find a way to fiercely protect our time. If you let other obligations or people control your schedule, you'll always find yourself  working to fulfill their mission, and not your own.

                2. Don't go it alone. This keeps you accountable and motivated. Pick out a group of 2-3 people who want to build this with you, and make sure you are all focused on a similar mission. A goal becomes 50% easier to accomplish when you tackle it with a partner at your side. (Not scientifically proven, but that's what my experience has taught me.)

                3. Pick one big thing. Based upon The One Thing by Gary Keller, pick one big thing that would make everything else you do easier or unnecessary and attack that thing each day. This may seem impossible, but it makes a huge difference for you when you can find that narrow of focus.

Use these tips, and don't repeat my mistakes. If you live your life in college a little differently now, you can live your life much differently later. I'll end with a quote from Seth Godin that sums up what I'm trying to get across.

"The only thing worse than starting something and failing… is not starting something at all."

So get going!

Brennan Costello