When you graduate from college, you may think you have two options: you could get a job or you can wait for a job. When it comes to the former, it may take a while, so you may be forced to wait for your first job out of college.

You do have a third option – you can land an internship that doesn’t pay. This may get your foot in the door or it may leave you in a situation where the company you are interning for begins to take you for granted and never gives you a paycheck or a promotion.

Cropped view of multi-ethnic friends graduating together, in cap and gown. Shallow DOF. focus on girl in middle.

Cropped view of multi-ethnic friends graduating together, in cap and gown. Shallow DOF. focus on girl in middle.

If none of these more traditional routes appeals to you, then you do have another, more radical option.  You can take your degree and start your own business. Should you start your own company? Well, that depends. Before you file your LLC paperwork and design your company website, you want to evaluate a few different things and consider a few factors to see if this is the best route for you.

Review Your Finances and Make a Budget

Before you actually get your business off the ground, you want to look at your finances. Ideally, you will need a little bit of starting capital to get your business off the ground. If you don’t have the money yet, you may want to wait to start a business or try to find some investors (yes, I mean asking friends and family for money).  Without some cash in the bank, you could just be setting yourself up to fail.

Consolidate Your Student Loans

After reviewing your finances, you want to organize your loans and debts and consolidate any if necessary. If you have student loans that you need to pay back after college, you certainly want to pay them back first. It may not be the smartest time to start a business if every penny will just be going to pay off your existing debts. Ideally you should have enough cash left at the end of the month to reinvest in your new start-up. Your best bet, in this case, is to come up with a solid payment plan so that the interest rates aren’t eating your finances alive.

Make a Business Plan

After you have decided that you are on sturdy financial ground, you want to go through your business idea and start laying down a timeline, plan, and strategy for growth. If you don’t have a business idea yet, you may want to spend some time thinking about what you can offer the world that other people will want to buy. Be sure to study the competition and see how your product or service can offer something new, different, or better from what is already out there.

Gather a Team

On top of coming up with a solid business idea, you want to develop a solid team. Ideally, you will need help with sales, IT, marketing, finance and more. Of course, you could start off extremely small and have the same person (maybe just you and your best friend) take on multiple roles. But if you have the money and ambition, you may want to start hiring right away. Whether you went to New England College or another institution, you want to make your degree work for you.