Guest Post: Education – a curse or a cushion?

The following is a guest post from AJC of He only recently started blogging but he’s already one of my favorite daily reads. If you’re the type who likes RSS, you can subscribe to his blog here.

school kid looking surprised

People often ask me what it takes to be an entrepreneur.

Probably the best book that I can refer you to is the E-Myth Revisited by Michael Gerber … it has changed many business owners’ lives (including my own).

In it, he shakes the myth of the entrepreneur being some sort of ‘knight on a white charger’ – you know the type, like Jack Taylor, the founder of Enterprise Rent-a-Car who was a navy pilot in WWII then went on to launch Enterprise in 1957, taking it to $78 million revenue (it’s now a $7 billion company!) before handing the reins to his son, Andy in 1980.

Here’s how Andy describes his father:

My father was the true entrepreneurial risk taker. He was the guy flying airplanes off carriers. He did not see taking a $25,000 second mortgage to invest in a business as a huge risk, because he saw real risks being taken during World War II.

There’s no doubt that adversity makes for better entrepreneurs … adversity gives you a ‘nothing to lose’ attitude.

Contrast that with the educated middle-to-upper-middle class …

… once you finish college and put in a few years learning the corporate ‘ropes’ it’s very hard to let go of the comfortable $50k – $150k that you are earning (and that your lifestyle has magically jumped up to meet … you know: cars, toys, vacations, etc.) to jump into a business that all the odds point to going broke.

You see, that education that we strive for, to lift us out of the middle-class, actually serves to keep us there.

After 6 years in the corporate world, I was bitten with the ‘entrepreneurial bug’ so badly, I was miserable every day that I was still at work after that little epiphany (I used to LOVE my job until then).

Yet, it still took me 4 years to leave …

If I was still working, no doubt I would be well on my way to saving $1 million or maybe even more by the time I retire at 65.

But, from where I now sit that seems WAY too little WAY too late …

Creative Commons License photo credit: Môsieur J.,  …selected by Steve