You’re Not Mark Zuckerberg: 5 Reasons Entrepreneurs Should Stay In College
Going to college — despite what you may think — is not a complete waste of time, even if your dream is to become a successful entrepreneur.
College comes around during a time in our lives when we are still doing our best to find ourselves, to find our purpose in life and to find, in a sense, ourselves.
Many will argue that if they wouldn’t have to go to college, they could spend that time making money and starting their business.
And that may very well be true. But don’t expect not going to college to equal your immediate success. Sure, you could get lucky and hit a success your first time at bat, but that rarely ever happens.
Being a successful entrepreneur takes many circulations of attempts and failures. The real question is whether you are better off hopping right on the horse, or going to college first to be better prepared.
The decision is yours, but I’ll share a few benefits that I found college does have for aspiring entrepreneurs:
Depending on where you go to college, you may have access to the rubbing of elbows with some important people or people worth knowing. Many successful entrepreneurs, advisors, consultants or friends of important people either teach at or lecture at colleges.
College can put you in close proximity to the people that you want to know — your only job then is to get some face time with them.
Luckily, this is pretty easy. Most people won’t say no to you picking their brains for a few minutes over coffee — as long as you’re buying.
Networking in the real world with no connections to begin with is more difficult than coming up to Elon Musk after he gives a speech at your school.
Writing emails is usually a miss rather than a hit unless you can add that you already heard them speak or spoke to them when they were visiting your school.
Networking is all about getting access to the people you want to talk to and then having the balls to go talk to them. School gives you access; the rest is up to you.
2. Finding What Your Made Of
Too many people are in a hurry to start a business. Being an entrepreneur is one of the most stressful, difficult and depressing careers out there.
It’s filled with uncertainties, stressful/dire situations and requires an extreme amount of focus and dedication. If you plan on being an entrepreneur, then you better be damn sure you know your own colors.
Too many get picked up off their feet by the prospect of starting a successful multi-million or billion dollar company. That cloud you are floating on won’t hold you up for too long. Once the going gets tough — which is almost instantly — will you be able to keep going?
You have to know yourself, know what you like and don’t like, know your limits and resilience, before getting into entrepreneurship because it could literally mean costing your life. College allows us time to find ourselves.
We can spend time trying different electives, learning about the history of the world and of man, the psychology of humans and even business strategies that can come in handy.
Sure, most of what you will learn in college can be learned in less than half the time by reading a few books, but during those four years, you will be able to learn a whole lot about yourself and what makes you tick.
Maybe you’re not fit to be an entrepreneur — not everyone is mentally capable of handling all the stress and anxiety. If you don’t believe me, then look at all those entrepreneurs who cracked and ended up taking their own lives.
3. Learning About Your Peers
College is a great place to mingle with your peers. Chances are that you came from a smaller town — college will give you access to a larger sample of your demographic.
This is important for entrepreneurs because, more often than not, they direct their efforts towards their own demographic, their peers. If you want to know what any demographic wants then it’s best to talk to them first hand.
This is how you can pinpoint problems that need to be fixed. If you don’t have a problem that needs fixing then you don’t have a service or product worth providing — hence no business worth starting.
College is a great way to interact with your future customers before you even have something to sell them. Plus… you get to party, have fun and meet some men/women.
4. Learning How To Think More Efficiently
Growing up, I was always against going to college. I thought it was a waste of time, yet I decided to go to placate my parents. I’m glad I went because if I didn’t go then I wouldn’t be the person that I am today.
The one thing that college taught me that I would likely never have learned on my own is how to think logically and efficiently.
For this, I have to give full credit to the philosophy department. If you have never taken a philosophy class or a class in logic, then do yourself a favor and take a handful.
They will open your eyes to a more organized, efficient way of thinking and viewing the world. You will learn how to best address problems and how to best and most efficiently come up with solutions.
These classes and a handful of others made me change my entire worldview — which is no small feat. I also recommend taking a few literature classes and an history class that covers the Bible.
5. Getting A Fancy Piece Of Paper
I know that you don’t ever plan on using your college degree and you may be right: you may never actually use it. But, there is something to say about having a safety net. Being an entrepreneur is full of uncertainty; you don’t know whether your business will be a success or a miss.
Usually you are not even certain if you will be able to pay your overhead costs for the month. Failure is the shadow that constantly follows you around, reminding you that your world may come to an end at any given moment.
A college degree will give you comfort — if things won’t work out then you will always have the degree to fall back on. This may not seem like it is worth four years of your life, but it may one day save your life.
When things seems to be all going down the sh*tter, having that piece of paper and knowing that you could use it to find a job and get back on your feet is great for the psyche.
The less you worry, the better your productivity. And if worst comes to worst, you’ll save a couple bucks on toilet paper.