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

6 Replies to “Guest Post: Education – a curse or a cushion?”

  1. Here’s a question I haven’t seen addressed in any of the “entrepenurialism rocks!” posts floating around the pfblogging community: What about all the people out there who have no good ideas? I mean, I know that sounds lke a stupid, crazy question, but I’m serous. I’m talking about people who work hard and are reasonably competent, but just don’t have a knack for spotting opportunities. Any advice for that crowd?

  2. @MoneyDummy
    Give it time. Too many people think things come over night and when they wake up in the morning without what they wanted, they give up.
    Persistence even when the going gets tough is an absolute necessity.
    If you have no good ideas, the ask someone else to make them. Or look online for business ideas. Go to a McDonald’s and order something and think, how could I have made that better? It’s tough, it isn’t easy. We live in the 21st century where everyone is instantly connected to one another. So if you think that all the ideas have been thought of, your not entirely correct. As many have, but that doesn’t matter because look at all the fast food joints. Burger King, McDonald’s, Wendy’s all serve generally the same thing. But each is a little different from the other and thats what sets it apart.

    Look for those little differences and think how you can set yourself apart from anyone else because those are the things people will remember from you.

    IMO :).

  3. I recently read a guide to creating computer games (yes, that’s what I do during my free time ^_^). The first step to creating a game wasn’t coming up with one “good idea.” It was to brainstorm a bunch of random, not so good ideas and then do research on only a select few (e.g., come up with 100 ideas and then only keep 3).

    The guide only spent a few pages on the topic of ideas before moving on to character development, plot, etc. I’ve concluded that it’s not necessarily coming up with a good idea that’s important, but how well the idea is implemented. Also, many of the most successful entrepreneurs didn’t make it big the first time; they tried several different things and finally succeeded with one. Of course, it all takes money and risk…

  4. @Aura
    I will disagree with your final phrase. Money and risk don’t have to be involved as usually the risk is associated with the money and if you find out a way to create a business without spending money (consultation, and yes it’s not common but businesses without any investments do exist).
    My first website was on a free host so I paid absolutly nothing, yet I still made money on it and it was at no risk to me.

Comments are closed.