Do You Really Even Need a Degree to Start Your Own Business?


Since at least the end of World War II, conventional wisdom has held that a college degree is the ticket to getting ahead. Over the years, the post-secondary education industry has exploded in size and scope. Unfortunately, a college degree has lost some of its luster as the value proposition has become less attractive. The question many youngsters are asking themselves is whether a college degree is necessary to start a business. Here are five compelling reasons why it’s not.

Degrees Aren’t About Knowledge

One of the biggest misconceptions regarding college is that it’s about learning new things. What college really demonstrates to potential employers is that you’ve got the drive and commitment to see a project through to the end. It proves that you can at least meet deadlines and work with others to accomplish a goal. You don’t need to attend college and rack up thousands in debt to learn how to stick to a schedule.

Businesses Require Risk-Taking

If you plan on being an employee for the rest of your life, college is probably a good idea. After all, you’ll need to get that piece of paper to get your foot in the door at your first real job. However, academia doesn’t really teach or encourage a risk-taking attitude, which is a critical attribute of any successful entrepreneur. Getting a college degree won’t show you how to be proactive or make hard decisions.

Making B2B Contacts Is Vital

One of the most important skills to acquire if you plan on starting your own business is the ability to effectively network. Specifically, successful entrepreneurs need to make connections with other business owners. While college can be a great way to make professional contacts, you’re missing out on four years of making contacts with actual business owners. By starting a business right out of high school, you’re getting a head-start on professional networking.

The Web Is a Free College

If you need to acquire a particular skill or flesh out your knowledge of a specific topic, you don’t have to sign up for a college course. Rather than taking out a loan to get a degree, you can use topnotch online resources like Khan Academy or MIT OpenCourseWare to educate yourself for free. With the sum total of human knowledge available on the web, traditional undergraduate studies are rapidly becoming obsolete.

Entrepreneurship Doesn’t Have a Manual

The most powerful reason to skip college if want to start a business is that it promotes a mindset that’s toxic to entrepreneurship. Simply put, graduates are inculcated with the idea that there’s a “right” or a “wrong” way to do things. In other words, they’re used to following a prescribed track. For most business owners, there is no road map for success. You need to roll with the punches and improvise as you go.

The Toughest Nut to Crack

A college degree has never been a prerequisite of entrepreneurial success. Many of the biggest companies in recent history were launched by college dropouts. The hardest thing about starting a successful business is letting go of your fear of failure. Mitigating the risks of failure when starting a business is clutch. The key is to make sure that you’re able to get back up when inevitable failures occur on the path to success.

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