Let me begin by saying that starting your own business, project or whatever you want to call it, while studying at a college is a different reality than you see in the movies. It does not happen overnight and you do not become a millionaire after you graduate. Most likely you will be poorer than you were before you enrolled. It is not easy to work and study, especially in today’s fast-paced times. Moreover it really tests your patience and perseverance to the point you want to give up every other week.
Despite all of the above, it is probably the best time to try something like that. No matter if it is a success or a failure. Starting your own business is definitely one of the most rewarding and biggest learning experiences you will ever encounter.
This is the first chapter of the series I call “Struggling Entrepreneur” in which I will tell you the story of binqit. It began while I was a part-time student at a small private college in Toronto.
Working While Studying
The beginning of binqit goes back to 2017. At the end of March I arrived in Toronto ready for my next adventure. Ever since my first trip to England to study English when I was in elementary school, I have always had this travelling bug in me. This urge to explore different countries, meet new people, and learn different habits and cultures brought me to Canada. I arrived in Canada on a student visa to study programming and analysis at a small local private college for one year. Therefore I was also able to legally work part-time while studying. This was great as I could support myself and did not have to burn through all my savings.
The Struggles Looking For a Job
Looking for a job was far from what I imagined it would be. My job experience from back home was two years at a renowned international consultancy company. And so I naively assumed it will help me to land my next job in a few days. My naivety was preposterous as I applied to full-time jobs thinking the companies would hire me anyway, even though I was only able to work part-time. I thought my experience together with my education would be good enough nail those interviews. I could not be more wrong! Unfortunately I overlooked something really important when you come to a new place, especially a place like Toronto. With no Canadian working experience of any sort, no one really pays any attention to you. It was a hard wake up call from me. It took me over a month to realize it and even longer to get over it. After I finally made peace in my mind I started looking for a traditional part-time students jobs in hospitality and retail industries. Little did I know that the struggles from looking for a part-time student job will be even more severe than looking for a professional full time one.
Birth of binqit
You have to understand, I never really had the experience with looking for a part time job. Jobs I had while doing my undergrad back in the Czech Republic, if I had any, just came to me. That happened mostly because I knew someone or someone needed help with something so they would ask me. But here in Toronto, it was quite different. I asked my friends if they knew about any openings or positions but competition is high since there are so many people looking at once. By the time I was able to meet with the hiring manager, the position had already been filled. What mattered here was how fast or/and how qualified the next hire was.
As a job seeker I faced this environment for the first time. I could not believe that after sending out 60 resumes I did not get a single response. What a messy process for a student. To not even get a response was disheartening. I resorted to traditional methods: actually walking into every place and handing out a hard copy of my resume, hoping to be selected from the huge pile of papers already there. Btw., these “walkins” are still the majority source of new hires in downtown Toronto. It might work well for the businesses but the job seeker is in the dark for the entire time. Eventually, I landed a job with a local restaurant but I couldn’t help but think, there must be a better way to structure this process students (job seekers) as well as for the businesses. I mean, businesses are facing such high turnover rates in these industries that the “invisible” costs from hiring a job seeker who leaves after a month of work pile up quickly.
I felt like there was room for improvement on both sides. For seekers, to create a process in which they are notified in a timely fashion whether they made the cut or not. At the same time for businesses to outsource their hiring needs to a platform that does the job for them, quicker and with better results. My biggest motivation was that I wanted the future seekers who will be faced with the same situation that I was when I arrived in March of 2017. Young and naive, to have slightly better time searching for their part-time job. After some time of thinking about it and doing some research I thought why not starting my own business – a project – at school. I mean, I saw it in the movies, it must be simple…. you have an idea, you start working on it during the night and weekends and before you know it you are famous and rich. Ha, if only that was true 🙂