College Degree, Is It Really the Remedy for Success?

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Whilst browsing through one of the popular forums online, I came across a question that someone had posed about starting a business as a young person. His question was to ask if people would take him seriously in a boardroom or otherwise because he is only 17.

The writer’s concerns were based around academia versus actually getting out there and doing something. He alluded to his time at college being less focussed on the academic side of life and more on the ‘getting out there and setting up a business’. Much of his time was spent writing up business plans when he should have been studying or listening to lectures.

As soon as I read it, my immediate thoughts were “why are you wasting another day of your life stuck in a classroom?” when you could be out there innovating or at least learning something that is both stimulating, motivating and really makes you want to take immediate action. His studies obviously did not prompt this type of response; to the contrary, it triggered an almost opposing response.

Now I may be completely wrong, but something makes me think that this young man, and he was only 17 is studying at college because the expectations from his parents of another adult were that this is the natural and progressive path to life’s success. So in effect, he is doing it for someone else and not for himself. What a waste of expense as his parents are probably funding his continuing education when he could be using his entrepreneurial flair to do what he really wants to be doing and that is running a business.

Now the answers that came back were of a similar vein to probably those of his parents. They all advised that he stay at college and get an education so they too had not yet come to realise that this is not always the best way for an entrepreneur. One other person suggested he start networking with like minded people at the college and perhaps go into business with a college colleague. This could be an option and if he found the right person and they came up with the right opportunity, then this could be a potential opening.

If any young person is reading this article and considering going to college or university, then my advice would be to look at colleges that have strong entrepreneurial programmes in their business department. I know some colleges where undergraduates work together to form businesses in an incubator then have opportunities to pitch their business ideas to real venture capitalists and receive critiques. Within these type of programmes you will have access to advice and experience of other like minded people, other successful entrepreneurs. Some even offer competitions for the best business pitch and award cash prizes with the best annual prize coming in at around $50K. How cool and beneficial would that be when you’re looking for business partners or getting people to take you seriously?

Many people are still of the opinion that to be successful in business you have to gain a degree and this is just so not true. I know many hugely successful people in both online and offline businesses that are making incredible amounts of money but have no qualifications, academia is no pre-requisite for success. What is a pre-requisite is a positive mindset, determination, absolute belief that anything is possible and the willingness to go chase that dream and make it happen.

If you are reading this and you are already working towards your degree but have this burning entrepreneurial flair to do something, then consider getting a part-time job. I would add, however that if you have entrepreneurial qualities you are probably already doing this. This way, you can start building capital to start up your own business although if this is an online one, the costs will be much less than if it were an offline business. Why not combine both? Do your studies, continue to look out for and network with like minded people, get creative and who knows where it will take you?

You may have a talent you can offer people online and in doing so start making some money. Perhaps you are good at writing, good at graphic design, good at resolving technical IT problems – whatever it is you are good at, there are customers waiting online to avail of your services. Use the search engines to find out where these sites are that allow you to offer your skills and also where your customers may be hanging out – social networking sites immediately spring to mind

Don’t be like one of the other responders in the thread who remarked on their dream at 17 years old being something similar. They went on to say they are now 39 years old and have done nothing about it. It as a male person writing and he said he felt he’s wasted his time not going for the glory of owning his own business; he helped 2 of his brothers set up and run successful businesses but did nothing towards doing it for himself.

There is no end of possibilities out there for budding entrepreneurs, particularly when working online and making lots of money on the internet. You just have to know what you’re doing and there are people there to teach you.

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