Following an academic path has its value. You’ll receive recognition for your three- or five-year educational journey, and you’ll probably have a better chance of landing a job in your chosen field compared to non-graduates.
However, if you’re in college, and you want to become an entrepreneur, it can be quite daunting to break out of the socially expected academic norm for young adults and venture into the competitive world of business.
Firstly, you’ll probably have a lot of questions to answer from family, friends and teachers. Secondly, you’ll probably feel like you’re not ready or capable of becoming an entrepreneur at such a young age. The latter is just not true, and if you want to become an entrepreneur while you’re still in college, there are some important things to remember:
As you venture into business, you have to be sure that you want to do it wholeheartedly. If you’re unsure or still dilly-dallying with the idea of becoming a business owner, then it would be wise to seek out your academic achievement first. But if you’re certain that you want to run your own business, then you should pursue your passion.
Start by reading books on successful businesspeople for extra motivation. When I was in my early 20s, I read a lot about Warren Buffet and discovered a wealth of valuable information. I remember that at the age of 20 or 21, Buffet was in the same position as I am in terms of his fortune and social status. I remember feeling empowered by that, thinking, “If he can do it, then so can I.”
I began comparing myself to my idols rather than my peers. And if you want to succeed like those who have succeeded before you, you need to compare and surround yourself with extraordinary achievers rather than average achievers. Just remember, some of the most successful people have dropped out of college to pursue business success like:
He dropped out of Harvard in 1975 to concentrate on Microsoft, full time. He went on to become the richest man in the world.
Dell left the University of Texas as a pre-med student to pursue his blossoming computer business. According to Forbes, Dell was selling around $80,000 a month and then decided to drop out at the age of 19.
Whole Foods founder, Mackey, dropped out of college several times but still went on to build an international supermarket chain with over $14 billion in annual revenue.
I, too, dropped out of college in 2009 when I was in Perth, Australia and got into internet marketing. I learned a lot of new skills along the way, and fast forward a few years later; MOBE has become a successful marketing company that has paid out multi-million dollar commissions.
Take on Different Jobs
I had always determined to be financially free and therefore decided to take on a lot of different jobs while still studying. Since attending a university would often deny you the time to gain actual industry experience, I worked part-time in as many jobs as I could.
If you’re still in college but want to become an entrepreneur, the best thing you can do is to just work as much as you can part-time to gain different skills. This will give you a lot of confidence and experience when you’re ready to start your own business.
For example, I worked in a lot of industries including being a chef at a restaurant so that I can gain a specific set of skills at a franchise and see how the system works. I also worked as a telemarketer on a commission-based system, and it improved my selling skills.
Not only can you learn a lot of new things as you take on different jobs, but you may just discover a certain niche that you would like to eventually get into.
Don’t Wait for Graduation
If you’re itching to become an entrepreneur, then you needn’t wait until you graduate to start a business. You could start small, so you can juxtapose these two important life choices and know which one feels right for you. Additionally, starting a business while you’re in college can prepare you for the time you’re ready to commit to it full time. Your “side business” may just turn out to be your ultimate!
While I was still studying, I started a few businesses to not only make money but also to gain experience running my own company. I started a part-time gardening business and handed out flyers in my local area as part of my marketing efforts. It contained simple information about my services and had a clear call-to-action.
I reinvested the money I earned from my small companies into my first online venture in 2009. It’s important to remember that even if you don’t succeed as an entrepreneur at first, you can still save a lot of money from your trial businesses enough to help you until graduation! That’s a silver lining you don’t necessarily want, but a good consolation never the less.
Be Sure before You Slack
This may be a rather controversial statement to make, but when you’re studying, and you know that you want to be nothing else but an entrepreneur, then your academic results really shouldn’t matter.
You’ll have to adopt an “at any cost” mentality, and reach your goals! That’s not to say you should perform poorly deliberately, but you shouldn’t let the pressure of academic achievement compromise your passion for entrepreneurship.
Studying in college definitely has its perks—networking, making new friends and learning life skills to name a few. However, when it comes to actual working experience, there’s not a lot you can learn from college. I learned more in 6 months from my business than I did at an educational institution.
If being an entrepreneur is your ambition, then I wouldn’t worry too much about “dropping out;” you’ll be just fine so long as you put in the effort to build your business.