Dream Smarter Podcast Ep24 - You don’t need college to become an entrepreneur


Dream Smarter Podcast Ep24 – You don’t need college to become an entrepreneur

Below are the show notes/summary for this episode. Please listen on Apple Podcasts or Spotify for the full show! Xo, Alex


Today is an interesting day in the podcast world because we will be talking about college and becoming an entrepreneur. Some of the things I’m going to talk about may not be a popular opinion, but this is my opinion. You can have yours. 

I have a graduate degree. I have an undergrad degree, and I have an art degree.  I went to a lot of schooling to get where I’m at, and I didn’t even really need it.

I have a very strong opinion about college. I have a very strong opinion on just what society deems we should be doing with our lives. Like you’re taught growing up to go to high school, get good grades, and then get put in a great college. 

And by the way, if you don’t get really good grades, or if you don’t get into a good college, then you’re shamed for it. And then, when you do get into college, you need to get really good grades that hopefully, you can get a really good job outside of college. And then, if you don’t get a job right away, it sucks. And then if you go to grad school, you have to pay so much money to go to grad school, to get a further degree, and then maybe not get a job after grad school.

I’m not talking about doctors or lawyers like that. You need to go to school for that. I am speaking about entrepreneurship. When you go to school, I did not learn about how to be an entrepreneur, not one bit. 

This podcast is really for people who are considering being an entrepreneur and wondering if they should go to college or not. 

According to a recent Nielsen study, about 54% of Gen Zs indicated they wanted to start their own company. What does that tell me? That tells me that we are going to be moving into a small business revolution. We’re moving into a small business revolution. We’re kind of already there, especially digitally.

These are all my opinions. Of course, as I mentioned, I feel good. Always have to preface that because I don’t want anyone to be like, well, I went to school, and it was great. That’s wonderful. I think that school is great for some people, but I don’t think everybody needs to go to school. 

We’re going to get into all of the tips and the reasons why I’m telling you to skip school if you want to be an entrepreneur.

#1: You don’t need a degree to become an entrepreneur. 

Whenever I’m hiring people, I rarely ever look at their resumes.  I might like quickly glance over it, but I don’t care about that. I care about:

Who are you as a person? 

What programs do you know?

What are you good at? 

What do you want to do? 

That’s what I want to know. I don’t care about the school they went to. I don’t care about the grades they got. I care about who they are as a person and what type of worker they are. 

#2: They don’t teach you much about actual entrepreneurship in college.

In school, they teach you how to work for other people. You’re going to school, and you’re learning how to be an employee instead of how to be a boss. If you want to be a boss, you need to learn from a program that teaches you how to be a boss. 

#3: The internet is teeming with info. 

You don’t need to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars going to college to learn things that you’re going to have to research on Google yourself outside of school anyway. There are programs like designer training, which is super great for people who don’t want to go to school but want to become designers. It gives you all the tools to set yourself up for success. 

You can find a mentor or another entrepreneur who does exactly what you want to do and take courses from them. You can take courses from people who specialize in exactly what you’re trying to do. 

You’re not beating around the bush in college, taking English classes when you want to be a designer. That makes no sense. Do you need to take five English courses throughout a four-year program to learn how to write? I don’t think so. Maybe instead of doing that, you could take a copywriting course to support your design skills. It doesn’t mean you need to be a copywriter, but I guarantee you that the program will be a lot less money than going to school. 

#4: You can use the money that you were going to invest in college to invest in your business 

When you’re investing it correctly, you can either throw it at a college that isn’t going to do anything for the career you want to pursue, which is entrepreneurship.

Or you can use that money to invest in your business instead of going to school and see what happens. If you’re very serious about it, I guarantee you that you will start making a lot of money, way faster than your friends who are going to school. 

#5: You can work as an intern

If you want to be an entrepreneur, you can build your business and intern for a mentor or another entrepreneur as you’re building your business to make money. 

It’s slow ramping up. And then once you get to a point where you’re like, okay, it’s like happening. It’s a snowball effect if you’re doing it correctly and growing it correctly. I worked for another designer. She would freelance for agencies, and I would support her in creating some stuff for different companies like a designer underneath her. So that was wonderful because I learned a lot about different designs. I learned from her as I was working with her because she was more experienced than me.

I was still getting income and work from somebody else that I didn’t have to search for the clients. I could focus on searching for clients in my business while making money on the side, working for her. So that’s something that you can do as well. You’re getting, one-on-one time with a mentor who is somewhat of a teacher, basically showing you the ropes on how to run your own business, which is super, super great. 

#6: I want the college experience, which I agree with. 

The college experience is super fun. I wouldn’t want to miss it myself. Skip the actual college part but move into a house with your friends on campus and go to the parties. Do the whole college life and then grow your business during the day. And then you can party with them on the weekends. You don’t need to miss the college experience because you’re growing your business. We can have our cake and eat it too. 

#7:  You can try doing a gap year. 

You don’t need to give up college forever. But if you’re scared of throwing it completely out the window, take a gap year, try and start your business in that year. And if it doesn’t work out, then you can go to school. 

I think about my first job out of college.  I spent all this money and four years of my life to go to school to get a degree. I got a job as a marketing person at a pool company. I was making like $45,000 a year. In my first year in business at High-moon Studio, I made $85K.  If you can make $40,000, whatever it would be as your first job salary in your first year, without even going to school, that’s going to give you so much confidence to continue. And if it doesn’t work out, if you’re like, wait a second, I tried it during this gap year. 

I realized I don’t want to be an entrepreneur because everybody’s meant to be an entrepreneur. You’re going to realize if you’re meant to be an entrepreneur or if you’re not meant to be an entrepreneur, then you can be like, my gap year is done. I decided against this. I’m going to school to become something else. That’s exactly what you want to happen. At least and you’re not like, Hmm. I wonder if I would have done this. What would have happened? There are no second guesses. It’s like, I tried it. I went after it. I didn’t enjoy it. So now I’m going to school, and I’m going to fully enjoy that process as well.

#8: You’re going to find so much purpose by doing something yourself and creating something from scratch that will impact the world. 

Becoming an entrepreneur gives me so much purpose and every single little thing that I do. And whenever I see somebody, whether it’s a brand-new website design client or it’s a student, succeed and make more money in their business and build this dream life of theirs that they’ve always dreamed of. It’s the most amazing feeling in the world. Just achieving things on my own too, and I like going at it and just pursuing the things that I want to in my life and being able to do whatever I want every day.

There’s nothing like it. There’s absolutely nothing like it. You’re going to find so much purpose in it. 

I hope all of these tips helped you. I hope that you feel comfortable reaching out to me in DMs if you are still questioning it because I’m so down to talk to you about it.  I think it is such a hard decision. And I think we feel so much pressure from society to do what society tells us we should do, like going to school.

It’s just what society has told us. Don’t feel bad. Pursue what you want to in your gut. Like go after something that you can’t stop thinking about, and you’re going to have such a fulfilling life.


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