And I say this assuming that you have already examined yourself, and you KNOW that you want to be an entrepreneur…and perhaps you already have a project in the works.
If you’ve already answered that question, and now your dilemma is “should I leave school early to work full-time on my business”…
The answer is yes, yes, yes……………….AND YES.
“But what about earning a degree in marketing, accounting, or finishing my MBA? Won’t that help me be a better entrepreneur?”
Honestly, it won’t.
It’s a waste of time in this day and age.
Not only is it a waste of time, it’s a waste of money.
Instead of going into debt “investing” in your degree, you would be better off going into debt investing in and growing your business.
Instead of completing hypothetical homework for letters on a piece of paper, you would be better off learning about business by ACTUALLY DOING IT in the real world, gaining actual experience. Your “homework” at this point is actually applying the knowledge you gain to a real world situation.
I legitimately don’t understand the mindset behind “I want to be an entrepreneur, so I’m going to spend the next four years earning my MBA and then start my business”.
It’s like saying you want to be a professional football player, but before you play your first real life game, you want to spend next four years learning about the physics and theory behind football,watching historical games and plays, a playing Madden on Xbox…
Is that not crazy?
If you want to play football, you need to ACTUALLY play football. You can learn about the physics and theory as you go! You just need to get out there and do it!
There is no substitute for experience. Not even knowledge. Instead, knowledge just complements experience.
Similarly, if you have already started your business while in school, you are definitely ahead of the game…especially if you are already making sales…that’s proof of concept! If you are in this situation, you are in a great position to drop out. It’s a waste of your time to try and grow your business AND finish your degree at the same time. You will end up spreading yourself too thin, and sooner or later your schooling or your business will suffer because of it.
Let’s take a quick detour because I want to explain why this whole philosophy doesn’t apply to other careers, why it is specific to entrepreneurship and maybe just a couple other paths.
If you are going to be a nurse, a doctor, an engineer, a pilot, a lawyer (etc), these are all carriers that definitely require more extensive schooling before you get into the real world for a couple reasons:
- Simply put, more people than just yourself are at risk if you mess up. Again, think about a doctor, a pilot, or an accountant for a large company. If they didn’t complete specific schooling before practicing in the real world, the results could be scary for a lot of people.
- The second reason is many careers like this are knowledge intensive, meaning they do require a “book smarts” kind of knowledge base in order to be successful. Think about a lawyer who never studied past cases, an engineer who doesn’t know how to do math, or actually, a history teacher!
- Bonus reason: Many companies and industries are still more biased towards hiring someone with their degree, and for good reason! Compare someone with a college degree to someone without and nine times out of ten the person with a degree will be a better employee. So if you want to work a good 9-5, stay in school! However, I will say that some companies (Google) are starting to ignore the presence or lack of a degree and instead hire purely based on character, past accomplishments and ability to fit into the organization’s culture.
The beauty about failing during your entrepreneurial journey is that at least in the beginning stages (which is where you fail the most), it will only effect you. And at that point, yes, failure sucks, but it is the path to success.
Entrepreneurship doesn’t require “book smarts” before you get started either. You can learn and acquire the knowledge you need as you go. You already know the basics!
Don’t believe me?
Did you ever make a few bucks from a lemonade stand as a kid?
If you didn’t, do you think you could make $5 from a lemonade stand today….without studying first?
Of course you could.
Go make some lemonade, wait for the hottest part of the day, go find people who look thirsty, and sell 10 cups at $0.50 each. You are now an entreprener.
Without any prior experience, you would have figured that out right away. Children figure that out.
Want to scale your lemonade stand now?
Well…keep the businesses going…but now go read the right books, learn from the right people and apply your new found knowledge to your growing business!
I have said it before and I will say it again.
Starting a business is easier now than it ever has been!
Resources are everywhere, the world is incredibly connected, you can learn anything, anytime, anywhere…but best of all…YOU ARE YOUNG.
Before you have a family, while you can still live in a basement with five other people sharing rent and living off of Top Ramen and Skittles…get out there and grind! Do it, and make your dreams come true.
Don’t make me get all Shia LaBeouf on you.