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How to Decide Between Going to College and Opening a Business
March 23, 2018
College-Vs-Business-Owner

How to Decide Between Going to College and Opening a Business

Whether you’re a recent high school graduate,  a working parent, or simply don’t know what your next move will be, deciding whether you should pursue a college degree can be difficult. Plus, if you have dreams of opening a small business, you might wonder if a college education could make you a better entrepreneur.

Ultimately, not all industries require a college education. After all, some of the wealthiest people in business, such as Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg, didn’t receive a degree and still became successful.

In comparison, there are also founders of big-name companies who credit their college education for inspiring their passions and preparing them for the tumultuous challenges that come with being a business owner. In this post, we’ll help you decide if you should go to college, or open your business without a degree.

Compare the Costs

Before you do anything with that college acceptance letter, you’ll need to consider a few crucial factors, such as your personal finances.

Attending college and opening a business both require considerable financial investments. To start, research different universities and find out programs they offer and how much tuition costs. In addition, you should see how much money you’d save if you took online classes, or applied for financial assistance.

Next, conduct research on your potential business’s industry. Reach out to industry veterans, and find out how much money they think you’ll need to start a successful business. Keep track of how much you’d need to spend on a business location, inventory, payroll, business licensing, and other typical startup costs.

By calculating the costs, you can determine if starting a business or attending college exceeds your personal budget at this time. Of course, there are other factors to consider aside from finances, which we’ll discuss further in this post.

Consider the Connections

When young entrepreneurs decide to attend college prior to starting a business, it is often because of the connections that they’ll make. As a college student, you could have the opportunity to join student business organizations, attend networking events, and meet alumni who can provide valuable insights. This experience could prepare you for starting a business, and equip you with connections that you wouldn’t otherwise have access to.

If you decide to forgo a college education, it doesn’t mean that you can’t make connections; it just might require more effort. You’ll need to join professional groups, reach out to local entrepreneurs, and find other ways to expand your network.

Determine if Both Options are Possible

Even if you think you’re ready to start a small business, it’s important to consider the importance of a college education. College degrees are beneficial because classes are designed to give students the necessary skills to excel in business and other endeavors. Still, if you have an incredible business idea and don’t pursue it, someone else might.

Due to both reasons, why not try to pursue a degree while opening your business? It might sound crazy, but it’s certainly possible! You could take classes part-time, and open your business on a smaller scale to start. This way, you’ll be on the path to earning a degree, while also being able to start your business.

Keep Learning

A successful business owner should strive to pursue further knowledge throughout their career. Even if they aren’t in a classroom, they should be hungry for new information that will enhance their business.

If you decide to enroll in college courses, take advantage of every opportunity. Utilize the university’s resources, and work hard to attain as much knowledge as possible. Alternatively, if you can’t afford college or don’t want to wait to start a business, you can still be a student! Take courses on websites like Lynda.com, enroll in free webinars, visit your local library, and learn from the people around you. Even if without a formal education, there are cost-effective ways to learn about running a small business.

Next Steps

College may not be for everyone, but the advantages of going to school can’t be denied. Although many entrepreneurs have operated successful businesses without a degree, there are also many business tycoons that do. If you want to open a business and go to college, that is possible too. Hopefully, after reading this post, you can decide which path is right for you!

Fora Financial

Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author's alone, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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Amethyst Tagney is a freelance writer and illustrator. She spends her time writing on a variety of topics and is an avid learner. When Amethyst’s not drawing, she loves to share what she discovers. You can find her on Twitter @AmTagWrites.
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