It’s not the first time I have questioned how much my educational background has actually helped me become an entrepreneur. At times I feel that I may have wasted a lot of time (and money) when I could have just gone out there and done it.
1. You, and you alone, choose your path
At school or university the only choices you make are which courses to take and if you’ll actually go to class. The rest is mapped out. The curriculum, the case studies and the exams.
Now, in the real world, when running your own business, there is no map, no curriculum and certainly no test date. You get tested everyday.
You are on your own. Yes, you may have people to help you in the way of service providers or manufacturers but you have to find your way.
2. You are not taught the skills you need
Can you teach someone to think? Be innovative? Be creative? No.
Either you possess those qualities or you don’t. Education kills those qualities by telling you what to study, how to think and there certainly is not room for innovation if you plan to actually pass the exams.
Studying case studies of the past does not help you with your business.
Hindsight is 20:20 – yes you can see where the company went wrong and what they could have done better. But! When you get thrown a curve ball in your business how will that help you from falling flat on your face? It won’t.
3. The myth that education can only be found in the classroom
Many feel that real education can only be found in an institution.
Experience in business can be learned from many different sources. A Saturday job waitressing in a tea room when I was 16 helped me learn the importance of customer service and basic maths far quicker than I’d ever learn in a classroom.
At the end of the day, all the traditional education in the world cannot replace real life experience and make you an entrepreneur.
4. Most successful entrepreneurs don’t have a college degree
Reinforcing the fact that you either have it or you don’t to becoming an entrepreneur is the long list of incredibly successful dropouts (you may have heard of some of them):
- Richard Branson
- Steve Jobs
- J.K Rowling
- Mark Zuckerberg
- Bill Gates
5. You can’t learn everything
Time and time again I read about how entrepreneurs need to have an understanding of every aspect of their business. This is simply not true.
Being a successful entrepreneur is about playing on your strengths, acknowledging you weaknesses and knowing where to get help.
As an entrepreneur I am not striving to be a “Jack of all trades” – I can’t know everything about every aspect of my business and trying to do that is a waste of time.
I’m not a designer so I hire one, my accounting isn’t great so I hire an accountant and as far as the legal aspects are concerned, well, I consult a lawyer.
Success is subjective and highly individualistic.
However, it’s something you can’t learn. You can’t learn how to create and develop a successful business anywhere except on the ground. YOU have to do it. YOU need the mindset.
A college degree can build credibility with your clients but so can experience.
Would you rather hire someone with a PhD and no life experience or someone with 5 years real life experience with a proven track record?
What do you think?