Advice worth hearing before starting a student initiative.



During high school I immersed myself in creating/attending various events, campaigns, conferences and while the journey improved my confidence, leadership, public speaking skills and so on it also provided me with a lot of lessons. I hope sharing my insights gives a confused student confidence and reassurance in their own venture.



Dream Big Start Small

When planning a project it can be very easy to get overhyped and to dream BIG - it feels as if you are planning to build a whole universe !. And that is perfectly alright, in fact I encourage it. Thinking about the possibilities can make you both excited and committed to pursuing your idea no matter how many obstacles you face. But dreaming BIG comes with a risk of wanting those dreams come about unrealistically quick or having them occur *just* as planned. For that big dream to happen you need to plan how to set a strong foundation and put in the work in building it - which takes time.


Time: the indefinite continued progress of existence


So dream BIG but don’t act on these BIG dreams just yet. Note them down and keep them aside. Whether you like it or not you have to set the foundation. Instead of planning an event for thousands of people, plan for 30. Instead of launching your event, create a tester event. And so on.. Starting small prevents one from feeling overwhelmed, bogged down and allows you to have better control over your visions. Now don’t get me wrong, I am not saying there won’t be hiccups - we are humans after all - but having a practice/ small event allows you to rectify your mistakes for the next launch of your event.



Plan + Set A Goal


Plan, Plan, Plan and read those three words again. Planning seems time consuming and a delayed start to the beginning of your great venture. However, planning is vital to the success of almost everything and it allows you to clearly lay out the work needed to be done to achieve goals. I unfortunately don’t have any out of the world advice on how to plan but I suggest mind mapping your ideas/goals/tasks then order them via importance chronologically. Once you have laid that out on paper or google docs or Notion then create a timeline and aim to fulfill them within the time frame set. I also suggest asking someone to be your check buddy. But don’t feel like you are a failure or losing sight of things if you don’t accomplish your goals in a certain time frame. It’s okay ! Just regroup and pull yourself together haha.


Check buddy: someone who checks up on your progress and makes sure you are achieving your set goals.



Team

Anytime a project has ended I’m just filled with gratitude for my teammates who helped me because a huge part of my success was attributed to them. It's great having your friends on your team but be warned sometimes it works in your favour and sometimes you lose a friendship. I have been in both those situations. To omit the risk of tensions or conflict I have a few recommendations when choosing your team.


  1. Make sure they have the qualities/skills/attitudes/passions that are needed for the project you are hoping to launch.

  2. Be able to be professional with them and make sure they can do the same. You will find yourself having to say no to some of their ideas. You might have to alert them if they are slacking. You might see them goofing around and not listening to you cause you are their friend not a ‘leader’. The uncomfortable situations are endless but you can’t overthink and worry about being assertive and a leader.

  3. Don’t be a dictator. Be mindful of other people's ideas/opinions and make sure to check how people are feeling and if they feel included.

  4. Delegate ! Learning how to delegate tasks in my opinion is a skill of its own. It involves you trusting other people to replicate the visions in your mind and sometimes it doesn’t happen exactly how you want it and that’s okay. Just breathe, problem solve or adapt. Delegating is also a great way to help you focus on your tasks rather than have yourself stressed and spread thin. Additionally it gives your teammates a sense of ownership and can raise morale + commitment to the project.

  5. During the course of creating an event I also suggest setting up meetings and follow ups periodically to reflect on the groups progress.

  6. Create and sign a contract. So IMPORTANT. Detailing yours and your teammates responsibilities, duties and attitudes (such as being open to constructive criticism) allows you to mitigate any conflicts as you can refer to this contract. It gets rid of any confusion and allows for constructive conversations to occur.


I also advise having a great mentor. Whether you are receiving advice from youtube, a podcast or a teacher. It's great to have someone to check in, give advice, help and encourage you. I for sure am eternally grateful for my teacher for all his help in guiding, cheering and aiding me in my ventures. Lastly, I have seen a lot of films/books/people shed a negative life on having yes-people around you and as much as that’s true. Make sure to not get rid of all of them, having a few around in your team is the optimism you will desperately need.


Yes people: people who just say yes to your ideas they do not entertain the potential worries related to the idea.



Just do it


Honestly, starting any type of initiative at any age is or time is intimidating. But with being young, you think you are not old enough, not knowledgeable enough and haven’t dealt with making as many failures/mistakes. It is so damn important to not let those fears hold you back. If you don’t start now, when will you start? Life really is short so please do everything you want because quite frankly after you die you won’t get the chance to. So start now rather than when you are older. Also, no one knows everything and you do not need a college degree to start your dreams. Simply google or ask what you do not know, learn and go for it. Lastly, making mistakes and failing is what life is all about - what you do after and how you handle failure/mistakes is what truly matters.



Approval


Oh my god the amount of times I have heard that word when discussing creating/launching an event. Well let’s just say I could be a millionaire. If you are a student you will need to get an approval and it seems like an obvious thing to do but many forget. So make sure you know who to go to to get things approved, actively follow up with them and establish good relations with them. I also suggest during your planning stage to pen down the approval timing and task so you do not forget about it. Because if you have not approved an event location etc then the stress could be large enough to host your event.



Advertise

We are blessed (and some say cursed) with social media. So make sure to use the free and accessible resources available to you. Join free webinars, lessons on editing/photoshopping/photography etc, binge youtube videos to learn how to advertise your idea on instagram, twitter, linked in….. Socialising with your community helps build your brand image and establish strong connections with people interested in your business idea. Don’t be afraid to use your voice after all we go to school to learn how to construct our opinions and share it. Be proud of it and advertise your idea as if you were a mom sharing baby pictures with the world - there’s no shame in that :)



Review


No matter what you do there is ALWAYS room to improve and you should be open to receiving constructive criticism. I am not saying it won’t hurt your ego but acknowledging and choosing to work on mistakes will only make the next event better and reduce the number of complaints/mistakes/failures. So, after each session or event make a point to sit with your team or yourself and review what went wrong, what went well, what could have been improved. It is kind of like doing SIR or the self assessed assignment you need to do after every exam in school but for your project. But make sure that you act on those improvements !



Be proud and happy when others say so so for yourself


I know this sounds like the most random advice ever and it certainly is not restricted to planning a venture - it’s general life advice I feel like many of us are afraid to feel. But I want you to know being proud and happy for yourself is not a narcissistic trait nor does it make you big headed. Got a high mark on your test? Finally started becoming productive after days of procrastination? Worked out longer than last week? Be proud and happy for yourself ! Our self worth is constantly based on other people’s opinion and personally I still worry about people’s views so much to the point I get frightened to show the joy I feel after my successes. And It shouldn’t be that way. I am proud and happy for myself and you should too. In fact, comment down below what you are proud and happy about yourself !



The Middle is a platform which encourages a community of readers and writers to share their perspectives and voices. This means we want to hear from YOU. What advice do you have for someone starting their business idea? Do you agree/disagree with the insights given? Do you have questions regarding starting a business? Comment down below!


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