College requires a lot of time and money. Time and money that you could otherwise use to start a business. While getting a degree is the norm in the country, it is not the right choice for some people, especially entrepreneurs.
A degree is not a prerequisite to starting a business, but it definitely helps. Aside from actual subjects that can teach you the hows of starting a business, college can build your soft skills, which are essential in entrepreneurship and being an effective leader. Nevertheless, you don’t have to go to college to be a successful business owner, despite what the majority of society may think.
However, skipping college to start a business can also have its drawbacks. If you’re not sure if starting a business right out of high school is right for you, ask yourself these questions:
Is entrepreneurship what you really want?
Even if you’ve been thinking about being an entrepreneur since you were only taking online middle school classes, it’s important to revisit your goals when deciding if you should go to college or not. Is entrepreneurship an unclear path that you want to “try”? Or is it a burning passion that you want to pursue regardless of the pitfalls that you may come across?
Entrepreneurship is a 24/7 job. You have to want it to make it work. So if the idea of devoting all of your time and effort to a business is not as appealing to you as it may have been before, take a step back and consider pursuing a college degree first.
Are your finances stable enough?
Starting a business and going to college both require a significant amount of financial investment, but one of them is riskier than the other. When you go to college, your investment pays off in the form of a diploma. When you start a business, there is a risk of losing all your money and having to start from scratch.
If you want to start a business straight out of high school, figure out the total investment: working capital, opening inventory, initial purchases. Do you have enough money to keep the business running before you make break-even? If not, consider getting a job first to build capital or get a degree to enter a sustainable career that can leverage your entrepreneurial ventures.
Will a degree be beneficial in your industry?
A college degree is often very beneficial, or sometimes necessary, to start a business in a particular industry or field. This especially true for industries that are technical and complex; so much so that a college degree is necessary to navigate them.
Apart from giving you the necessary skills and knowledge to enter the specific industry you want, going to college will also teach you essential skills of actually running a business. This includes anywhere from preparing tax documents and understanding business contracts to thinking critically and being an effective leader.
If getting some form of higher education, even if it’s not a college degree, will help propel you towards entrepreneurial success, definitely consider going to college before starting a business.
Do you have real-word experience?
Having experience in the real world is often essential before starting a business. There is only so much that theoretical classes and self-studying can teach; getting your hands dirty is the best way to supplement your theoretical knowledge with actual practical experience in the industry.
Even if you don’t go to college, you can attain hands-on experience by taking apprenticeships or internships. Doing this can help you learn more about the industry beyond your books, and it can also help you determine if it really is the right industry for you. Moreover, getting real-life experience will also help you figure out the skills that you need to improve before you start your own business, which is essential in minimizing the number of mistakes you make in the process.
Do you have a business idea that cannot wait?
Going to college takes up four years of your life, and in those four years, opportunities can pass you by and never come back.
If you believe that your business idea cannot wait four years, skipping college may be the right choice for you. This is the case for many entrepreneurs like Stacey Ferreria, who dropped out of NYU to focus on MySocialCloud.com after getting a $1 million investment from Sir Richard Branson.
Should you skip college to start your business? There are a lot of factors that come into play. But the bottom line is: if a college degree isn’t required for your industry; if you are financially stable enough; and if you believe that entrepreneurship is the best path for you right now, then go ahead and start your business right away.