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The Highs & Lows Of Starting A Business From Scratch During College

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UPR chapter.

What is “entrepreneurship”? Apart from being a word I can’t even pronounce, I knew very little about it before this summer. It was a random weeknight in July when my mom burst into my room, telling me about this new program at my university. Reluctantly, I asked her to send me the Google form to see what it was all about. I carefully read it and came up with a business idea on the spot, having yet to learn about the journey I was about to embark on.

A few weeks later, I received a call asking for an interview, which I happily agreed to. The program managers explained to me that this was an incubator program, and we went over the details of what would happen if I were accepted into the cohort. They also asked me some questions about my idea. Let’s just say, I nailed the interview. As soon as I finished, I quickly looked up what an incubator program was and started getting excited about all the possibilities. Throughout the 12-month program, I would be working with a mentor, university professors, and a diversity of staff members who were there to bring my business idea to life. Once I received the email saying I was accepted, I started planning.

My idea has a lot to do with second-hand and vintage clothing. I won’t go into detail until it’s launched, but coming up with the idea was the simplest part. Before this, I had yet to learn how much time went into starting a small business. During the last few months, I’ve had to sign plenty of contracts, count my inventory a few times, and even meet with a law student to help me obtain the necessary licenses. All that while I still had to do homework, attend classes, and go to work as usual. Although it seems stressful, it’s been an amazing experience. Every Friday, we have workshops or lectures where professionals in industries like finance, social media, and marketing talk to the cohort and teach us amazing new things. I’m the worst at math, but throughout the process, I’ve learned how to use programs like Excel to make my life easier.

Sometimes, it does get stressful and I feel like I’m behind or haven’t done enough. In moments like this I always try to remember that it’s okay, and everyone works at their own pace. I would say that the biggest challenge of a budding entrepreneur is time management. Setting due dates and using a planner are the best ways to stay on track with all the tasks. Another hurdle is the feeling of handling everything alone, in the sense that it’s pretty much one person running everything by themselves. Yes, I do have my parents’ support, but I am the one who attends the meetings, creates the business model, and overall knows what to do. It takes a lot of organization and discipline to get the work done, which are two traits that I’m trying my best to perfect.

When I’m in a work slump or feel the need to procrastinate, I always remind myself why I’m doing what I’m doing. Thrifting and creating are things I love, and having an outlet to spread my ideas and inspire others while also putting into practice everything I learn in class is truly fantastic. As a public relations and publicity student, I recognize the importance of brand identity, the connection between a business and its public, and the various ways advertising can help an audience recognize a product.

The process can be overwhelming, and at times, I feel like I don’t know enough or that I’m not good enough. However, this adventure is all about learning and celebrating the little accomplishments. I am very proud of myself for seizing this opportunity and being courageous enough to dive in, even without knowing what’s to come. It’s a journey filled with growth and the satisfaction of pursuing my passion. All in all, I’m excited to see where this endeavor takes me.

Amiari Carpio Rosa is an undergraduate at the University of Puerto Rico Río Piedras Campus. Her love for the entertainment world led her to the Communications faculty, where she is working towards a degree in Public Relations and Publicity. Her journey in the writing world has recently begun and Her Campus UPR is a step in this new endeavor. Amiari's enthusiasm for communication and marketing extends beyond her involvement with Her Campus. Within the university, she plays a role as the Assistant of Professional Development in the Marketing Association. This role allows her to help develop her skills in the marketing world. In addition to extracurricular commitments, Amiari is in the early stages of launching her own thrifting business, where she curates handpicked vintage and second-hand clothing items. Outside of academia and business, Amiari has a diverse range of interests, including going to the movies, reading a good book, and of course, thrifting. Regarding literature, she's drawn to a diverse range of genres, with a particular love for mystery, young adult fiction, thrillers, and historical fiction. She also loves watching TV Shows and has probably watched around 100 series in her lifetime.