Have you ever heard a person utter the phrase, “If I could just go back to school” or “If I just had a degree” I could be successful? I’ve heard people speak variations of those same statements countless times and each time I hear someone speak those words, it makes me want to lose my mind! Why, you ask? As an entrepreneur, you’re a different breed, a different kind. You are a creative, you appreciate freedom and if you are anything like most entrepreneurs, you simply make a bad employee.
Here are five reasons that will challenge your thinking about the pursuit of success through a college degree.
1. The Broken Higher Education System
Welcome to the “The New Economy,” where private sector employment has transitioned from skilled manufacturing to technology-based jobs. The manufacturing-based jobs that were once the backbone of our country, are now being outsourced overseas. The era of skilled trades have diminished; wages are stagnant, and employers have clearly expressed that the college graduates that American universities are producing lack practical skills that are needed for today’s workforce.
American colleges and universities need to wake up and smell the coffee. Gone are the days that you go to college, get a good job and retire from the same company 30 years later. You can’t continue to try to put square pegs in round holes and charge a small fortune while doing so and continue to stay relevant.
The university system as we know it needs to adapt or it will die, just like newspapers, electronic retailers and movie stores of the past decade did. As an aspiring entrepreneur, really think about the value that a college degree will add to your entrepreneurial journey. Is it for you?
2. The Student Loan Vacuum
Have you ever thought about what drives up the average cost of a four year degree in the United States to $100,000? It’s not the quality of academics, it’s not the facilities and it’s definitely not the amount of money that colleges and universities are spending to ensure their graduates are provided good job opportunities.
It’s plain and simply the willingness of student loan lenders to hand over large amounts of money to young, eager and ignorant students. The cost of tuition will continue to increase and be fueled by an unregulated, broken system. The system as we know it continues to send young unsuspecting students into the world riddled with debt. By doing this, it forces them to take on employment out of their area of study, just to fulfill their loan obligations.
As entrepreneurs, we set out on a journey to start a business doing something we are passionate about. Through hard work and determination, we are provided with the fruits of our labor (time, freedom, income). If your end goal is to become an entrepreneur, are you making your journey much more difficult by adding student loan debt to your plate?
3. College Won’t Teach You How To Be An Entrepreneur
You hear the stories of how famous, successful entrepreneurs got their start: Mark Cuban started his entrepreneurial journey by selling trash bags to his neighbors. Steve Jobs had to recycle Coke bottles to be able to feed himself while starting Apple and the famous story of Mark Zuckerberg, who dropped out of college to be able to create his Facebook empire.
Do you think college taught them how to become entrepreneurs? I think college can teach you a lot of skills, but teaching one how to become an entrepreneur is something that is learned through the process. If you want to learn, do. Fail forward, experience the blood, sweat and tears that it takes to create something from nothing.
The school of Entrepreneurship isn’t something you can learn in a textbook or lecture hall. No amount of formal education can create a successful entrepreneur, it all comes from that deep down burning desire to succeed at your own thing.
4. College Doesn’t Teach You How To Sell
If you want to be an entrepreneur, you better be a salesman. Businesses live and die by sales. Does college teach you how to sell? Absolutely not! What teaches you how to sell is getting in front of potential clients and pitching your product or service. Like anything, sales takes skill and skill takes practice.
For many, “Sales” is a dirty word. As an aspiring Entrepreneur, if you cringe at the thought of selling something, you either better have a large budget to hire a sales professional or find a new career path. Whether you choose to go down the path of a four-year degree or not, realize that learning how to sell at the collegiate level just does not happen.
Take it upon yourself to invest in sales training that will cost you a fraction of what you pay for a four-year degree, but will teach you a skill that will pay for itself handsomely over the lifetime of your career.
5. A Degree Alone Will Not Make You Rich
I am sorry, it’s what you’ve been told. Go to school, get a good job and you are on your way to financial prosperity. That’s what I was told. I learned the hard way. I also know a lot of broke people with four-year degrees, Masters and PHD’s.
That couldn’t be the furthest from the truth these days. It’s been said that Millennials are the poorest generation to come up through the ranks in years. There is a variety of factors that go into that equation such as high unemployment rates, stagnant wages and the financial burden of crippling student loan debt.
You need to be creative; you need to apply those skills you learned in college, and you need to learn to make money. It isn’t a coincidence that entrepreneurship is at an all-time high. People young and old are realizing the system is broken and that it is up to them to create a lifestyle that provides both good income and time to enjoy their lives to the fullest.
Photo: Flickr/ York College of PA