So you want to be an entrepreneur; join the growing list of hundreds of millions of entrepreneurs throughout the world. Now, before we go any further, I don’t say this to discourage you to follow your dreams. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. I want you to achieve your dreams and to excel in your entrepreneurial endeavors. However, I just want to set the picture and be honest. There’s a lot of competition out there, so you’ll need to be serious, want it more and outthink your competition (or potentially work with them).
With that in mind, what’s your first step? College, right? Absolutely. While there are some exceptions, most entrepreneurs have some sort of college degree or higher education background. But, there are certain skills that entrepreneurship requires that you can’t necessarily learn in a classroom. You’re either born with these skills or you learn them through experience.
So, what skills am I referring to?
This is probably the most obvious skill you’ll need when starting your entrepreneurial journey. When you’re an entrepreneur, you’re a leader, plain and simple. In order to get your idea/product/business off of the ground, you’ll need a certain amount of teamwork. And what does teamwork require in order to work? Leadership. You’ll need to be able to bring different people together, delegate duties, and collaborate with others to achieve your goals. Another important quality of leadership is being able to lay out a vision for something when everyone else feels lost. The best way to acquire this skill is by simply learning from a talented leader.
Being an entrepreneur means your a master problem solver. You’ve been handed a puzzle (And sometimes some pieces are missing) and you’ve got to put those pieces together to form an image. Entrepreneurs must be skilled at thinking creatively in order to find results. If your company needs a push on marketing, but you don’t have it in the budget, you’ve got to come up with a way to earn that marketing while staying within your limits; if your top financial analyst is clashing with your top salesperson because of professional differences and their individual workstyles, you need to come up with a creative solution to both of their needs. Think outside of the box and you’ll achieve success.
School does offer discipline, yes, but not the kind you need in the real world. When you’re an entrepreneur, you’re going to be dealing with other people’s money at some point, and it’s up to you to make that money back. Not delivering on that is a real world consequence. You need to be disciplined in your daily routine and responsibilities. Handle your finances diligently, make sure to keep up with your health, make sure to be on time to your meetings, conferences, etc. These kinds of disciplines can genuinely affect your success. This will take time to master.
Finally, one of the most important skills for entrepreneurship and any other occupation in the world, is resilience. You will absolutely fail, be told “no,” and generally have your hopes dashed at some point. That does NOT mean that you give up. You continue and your persist. Never give up. Some of the world’s greatest entrepreneurs have failed at some point in their lives. There’s no way to learn this skill than simply going through it and failing.
Anyone can be an entrepreneur. But not everyone can be a successful entrepreneur. College is absolutely useful. There are a multitude of skills that you can and will learn at an accredited institution. But there are other skills that college likely won’t give you. If you’re serious about being an entrepreneur, work your hardest to gain some of these skills.