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Top Student Entrepreneurs On What Keeps Them Motivated

These founders have far more than graduating on their minds. Here's how they keep the energy flowing.

Staff Writer

Being an entrepreneur is not an easy task. Add a full academic course load to the mix, and managing your time can suddenly seem like a Herculean feat.

Case in point, during Inc.’s internal 2017 Coolest College Startups judging, Bacon Boxes founders Logan Rae and Kimberly Hruda–students at Florida Atlantic University and Florida State University, respectively–experienced the full thrust of that Greek myth. The company, which makes made-to-order bacon goodies, got slammed by a 13,000 person event, requiring them to scramble to fill orders.

Of course, this is the dream. Building a successful business, in many ways, is what these student entrepreneurs set out to do. Even so, it can be tricky to juggle. After canvassing this year’s College Startup winners, here is what many said helps keep them motivated amid all of the midterms, papers and crowdfunding campaigns.

1. “I am constantly searching for television shows, videos and any type of reading material that highlight founders who are in the startup phase.” –Ryan Diew, co-founder ofTrippie and student at Colgate University

Keeping in touch with entrepreneurial trends helps Diew learn what he needs to drive his own company to success. Additionally, receiving feedback from Trippie’s users helps him revise his product and make any necessary improvements.

2. “I am motivated to create a legacy that stands for something and will one day make my family and the world proud.” –Matthew Rooda, co-founder of SwineTech, student at University of Iowa

Rooda has come to realize that the pursuit of perfection doesn’t excite him, but rather, the everyday actions he takes for SwineTech. By using his own company to inspire his will to succeed, Rooda foresees that his hard work today could pay dividends for generations to come.

3. “I find each person’s willingness to continually share their successes and struggles both inspiring and motivating.” –Brianna Wolin, co-founder of Find Your Ditto, student at University of Michigan

A patient blogger herself, Wolin finds her drive from the everyday interactions she has online, where she finds common footing with those who follow her on social media. Similar to Rooda, Wolin hopes to make a positive difference in the world. She credits her followers with giving her team the strength it needs to continue its efforts for Find Your Ditto.

4. “When I need an extra push of motivation, I talk to my parents.” –Benjamin Taft, co-founder at Mira Labs, student at USC’s Jimmy Iovine and Andre Young Academy

Touching on the sacrifices his parents made to come to the United States, Taft makes sure to return to his roots to push his entrepreneurial journey forward.

“They fled the Soviet Union and left everything behind to start a new life in the States,” he said, adding that the opportunity to manifest his parents’ American Dream kindles his spirit.

5. “I have found that the best way for me to stay motivated is to surround myself with like minded, competitive people.” –Harrison Sheinberg, co-founder of Drone MVP, student at University of Southern California

The thought of constant improvement excites Sheinberg and pushes him to interact with those around him. He’s not alone in believing in the power of like-minded collaborations. Daymond John, at a recent event in New York, emphasized the importance of sharing best practices with others who share similar interests.

6. “Generally, my motivation is driven by my fear of wasting an opportunity.” –Louis Van Hove, co-founder of Drone MVP, student at University of Southern California

Having grown up in seven countries, Hove has experienced costly lessons of not maximizing his chances when the opportunities came. Knowing that his motivation tends to run low after spending hours on projects, Hove turns to rugby and basketball to generate more energy. Although Drone MVP has seen some success so far, Hove reminds himself to take chances whenever possible to further his growth.

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