Get All Access for $5/mo

How to Balance an Overwhelming Course Load With Starting Up College entrepreneur Eric Muli shares how he managed to get the most out of his classes while still growing his business.

By Eric Muli Edited by Dan Bova

The Karate Kid (1984 film) / Columbia Pictures

College life is crazy. Classes, homework and a healthy social life would keep any student busy enough, but when I threw in running a business, I was really struggling to balance all of my commitments.

I was only a second semester freshman when I began work on Ratifye, my consumer-product rating website. I was so unorganized that I was finding it difficult to accomplish basic tasks like eating lunch and going to the gym. My grades were suffering, and worse, I was making very slow progress on my startup.

Related: How to Insert the "Real World' into Your College Courses

I knew it was time to reevaluate my priorities and bring more passion, energy and focus to all of my activities. Here are four tips I learned for balancing a startup and schoolwork:

1. Choose classes that are good for business. I realized that registering for easy classes just to maintain a high grade point average wasn't doing me any good. Sure, GPA is important, but for an entrepreneur it could end up meaning close to nothing if you really didn't learn anything. Plus, you might be surprised how much better you perform academically when you have a genuine interest in the course material. Nothing's worse than a class that's an easy-pass, but leaves no mark on your future

Related: How to Start Up from Your Dorm Room

2. Prioritize obligations, daily. If you don't properly plan to do something, chances are it won't get done. Keep daily to-do lists and make sure you clearly illustrate what tasks are most important and what tasks can wait. I was finding myself finishing projects and assignments way before they were due, while missing crucial deadlines at the same time. Once I started writing down my daily tasks and discovered sticky notes, I was much more productive and organized.

3. Find a strong support group. Whether it's your business partners or just a group of friends, it's important to surround yourself with people who keep you motivated. It's much easier to avoid the distractions that come with being a college student when you have a team to push your head in the right direction. My co-founders and I insist on extreme accountability, and we're not afraid to check one another if we fall out of line.

Related: 3 Tips for Taking Your College Startup Global

4. Stay focused. Entrepreneurship is nothing without focus. You need to remain loyal to all of your goals and everything that needs to be done to achieve those goals. Remember, nothing comes easy and some sacrifices will have to be made for the good of your startup.

How have you been able to best manage going to school and starting up? Leave a comment and let us know.

Eric Muli is a senior at Babson College majoring in Economics and Marketing. As a Kenyan entrepreneur, Muli has developed a strong passion for community development and impact investing and participates in a variety of community uplifting projects in both Kenya and the United States. He is currently the president of Africa's first rating and review platform, Zabamba. He is hoping to launch a similar platform for college students in the United States.

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

Editor's Pick

Side Hustle

Top Secrets to Starting a 6-Figure Etsy Side Hustle That Earns Passive Income, According to 3 People Who Did It

Etsy remains a popular ecommerce platfrom for sellers — and can be incredibly lucrative for those who know how to use it.

Thought Leaders

10 Simple, Productive Activities You Can Do When You Aren't Motivated to Work

Quick note: This article is birthed out of the urge to do something productive when I am not in a working mood. It can also inspire you on simple yet productive things to do when you're not motivated to work.

Business Ideas

63 Small Business Ideas to Start in 2024

We put together a list of the best, most profitable small business ideas for entrepreneurs to pursue in 2024.

Leadership

Stop Sabotaging Your Own Success — Kick Unproductive Thinking to the Curb With These Tips

Want to streamline your business and take it to new heights? You need to learn to stop the negative thought processes that lead to unproductive thinking. Here's how.

Business News

Amazon Is Thinking About Charging Extra for AI Alexa

"Hey Alexa, how much are you going to cost?"

Business News

SoftBank CEO Says AI 10x Smarter Than Humans Could Be Here in a Matter of Years

SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son spoke to shareholders during the company's general meeting on Friday.