Tuesday, August 15, 2017
Researchers Make Excellent Entrepreneurs
It's true. Research has a huge overlap with the skills needed to run a small business. Independence, organization, long and short-term goal setting and time management, the networking and self-promotion skills, ability to turn coffee into massive unending piles of hard work etc.
There are many things that are just perfect about being a researcher and starting a tutor business at the same time. But the most important is that many researchers and grad students, with just a few key pointers, would be truly excellent at it. Another thing is (shhhh, it's kind of a secret but), it's quite easy to succeed at. There are really just two main show stoppers for researchers starting small businesses while in grad school. Firstly, you didn't know you could do it, or simply never considered it. Secondly, you didn't know how to start or simply haven't found a spare moment to start out.
Both of these can be solved, so let's instantly do so.
Firstly, I did it and found it very rewarding, so I really think you can too. In this blog, I'm going to tell the tale of how I got started and grew to having over 10 clients at a time and more than doubling my stipend income while balancing all my other grad school demands. I went on to get my Ph.D. in good time, and won the award from my university for best in cohort with a Ph.D. in quantum computing (now I work at Princeton as a researcher). So, I assure you, it can be done. But only if you are up for it!
Secondly, how to get started. This is trickier as many grad students and researchers haven't spent much time thinking about the details of how to go about such a thing. It's about choosing a niche that really works for you, and then promoting really effectively. This will really involve finding your feet for a few weeks while you venture out! A-B testing is critical, just another way in which many researchers make great entrepreneurs, they know how to test a hypothesis and how to maximize a function! Learning to get your business out there effectively, and how to develop a really personal system of helping your clients is something I'll discuss in detail soon. I learned a lot by trial and error.
-- It's great to learn from mistakes, it's just better when they're other people's mistakes!
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