There’s this guy I know who’s in his early 20s, going to college, and has his own athletic apparel company he’s starting up. The guy is definitely an entrepreneur at heart, and he has huge visions of things he wants to accomplish in the future.
He’s absolutely convinced he’s going to be rich, and I truly hope everything works out for him.
There’s just one slight problem. He’s so eager to pursue his entrepreneurial efforts that he wants to drop out of school. He mentions it every time I see him, and I know it’s only a matter of time before he yields to his temptation.
Now, don’t get me wrong. College really isn’t for everyone. Like Michael Scott said when downplaying his lack of education in an episode of The Office, You know who else didn’t go to business school? LeBron James, Tracy McGrady, Kobe Bryant.â€ Of course, this is a joke, but there are young entrepreneurs who will cite dropout success stories, like Michael Dell, David Geffen (owner of Geffen Records), Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook founder), and Bill Gates, to name just a few.
While there are plenty of inspirational stories of college dropouts who went on to become famous, rich entrepreneurs, there are plenty more stories you don’t hear ¦Stories of would-be entrepreneurs who dropped out, failed in their entrepreneurial efforts, and never recovered. Heck, for every one success story, you can probably bet there are 100 cautionary tales.
Personally, I think my friend should stick it out and complete his college education. It’s the advice I’d give to all entrepreneurs considering dropping out.
1. You need skills to fall back on. Let’s be realistic. The odds of your business being successful are pretty slim. Most new businesses fail. Ther’s nothing wrong with that. Failure can make an entrepreneur stronger, and it can serve as a great learning tool to build upon. But we do live in a real world¦a world that requires you make money so you can live. With a college education, you can rest easy knowing that even if your business fails, you have an attractive skill set that allows you to get a job until you’re ready and able to pursue your next startup endeavor.
2. The knowledge you acquire can help you run your business more effectively. This mindset of I’ll learn as I go or My experiences will be my teacher is narrow-minded . Yes, there’s no substitute for actually getting out there and running a business yourself, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t things you can learn in school that will help you be a better entrepreneur. If you enroll in business classes, you’ll be able to learn important tips for marketing, management, finance, accounting, and more. These are skills that can prevent you from making stupid mistakes that kill your business.
3. College is a great place to network. One person only has so much bandwidth. In other words, you’re limited by how much work you’re physically capable of taking on. Growing a successful business could mean you need to get help from others. In college, you rub elbows with a lot of smart people. This a great opportunity for building your network and possibly recruiting entrepreneurs to your cause.
4. You may be able to startup your business on the side now. It’s possible that you could start getting the wheels rolling on your business while you’re still in school. Yes, growing a business takes a lot of time, but it could be smart to start your business on the side. If things gets busy enough and your business really starts to grow, then you can consider allowing it to pull you out of school. Until then, keep getting your education.
What do you think? Should entrepreneurs try to get their education?