Entrepreneurship is becoming more and more of the norm as people are getting dissatisfied with the 9 to 5 lifestyle. Having your own business gives you so much flexibility in life including the ability to make your own schedule and do work you love.
Some people may think getting a degree in entrepreneurship is what they need to create a successful business. Luckily, most of the time that isn’t the case. It’s so secret that college is expensive, and an MBA degree can easily run you $40,000 – $80,000 on average depending on which school you attend. How would I know? I contemplated going to business school right after I earned my bachelor’s degree.
I’m so glad I didn’t make that decision because I saved a ton of money and was still able to launch my own business 2 years after undergrad.
Entrepreneurship degrees can be helpful, but if you’re looking to work for yourself here’s why I believe it’s not really a requirement.
Expertise Could Serve You Better
Having expertise in a given field is helpful – whether that’s accounting, biology, writing or graphic design. Your special skills could serve you better than being a generalist business major.
Take, for example, Pat Flynn. He studied architecture in college and worked in this industry before becoming an entrepreneur. His first business venture that eventually led to many other successful projects was Green Exam Academy. He produced content that taught people how to pass the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design exam.
Expertise sets you apart from other people and immediately positions you as an authority and as someone who can help others. A degree in entrepreneurship doesn’t really establish expertise in anything.
I got my undergraduate degree in journalism with a minor in communications. While some may consider this a generalist field of study, I beg to differ. My writing and communications expertise sounds general, but it’s flexible enough that it will serve well in helping others craft their messages to get people to take action – whether that be joining an email list, buying a product, or signing up for a service.
Entrepreneurship Experience Is Super Valuable
One of the first ways many kids learn about entrepreneurship is by manning a lemonade stand. They learn a lot of aspects of business like:
- Quality product keeps people coming back
- Experiment with your price point
- Businesses can be started with minimal upfront cost
- Marketing matters
Another way many kids learn about entrepreneurship is by selling Girl Scout cookies which is something I did when growing up. They learn important things like:
- Not all products sell equally; you’ll likely have one or two bestselling products
- People like to support a worthy cause
- Word of mouth is a great referral source
- These are just two examples from childhood. The list of experiences that teach you entrepreneurial skills is endless.
To be fair, entrepreneurship studies go more in-depth and teach you the specifics of things like securing venture capital, personnel management, and conducting market research. I argue that with the right experience, you can learn these skills as well.
Many Entrepreneurs Have Shared Valuable Advice and Tips
If you are sure you want to study entrepreneurship, another way to go about it rather than choosing it as your major is to read books written by entrepreneurs or listen to podcast interviews on your own time. Many entrepreneurs have written books about their experience starting businesses. They also may have websites or other digital content that includes multiple case studies of successful business. In fact, there are even books available on how to test your own business idea.
Here are a few of my favorites:
These books will give you plenty of insight on what it’s like to start a business, what makes businesses successful, and how to start your own business.
You’ll Never Be Completely Ready
Whether or not you study entrepreneurship in school, you’ll never be completely ready to start a business. Things will go wrong. And just when you think nothing’s going as planned, things could fall into place.
Entrepreneurs persevere. They work hard. They innovate. They make informed decisions and take calculated risks. They make changes as they go along based on what’s working. The best way to prepare to be an entrepreneur is to have the mindset that you’ll need to put in the hours necessary to make things happen. You’ll need to be constantly learning and adapting.
When I took the leap to self-employment, I wasn’t completely ready. But I’m prepared to do all things I mentioned and more in order to continue to succeed.
In short, you don’t need a degree in entrepreneurship to be an entrepreneur. Having expertise in a different subject area could serve you better. Entrepreneurship can be learned by experience. You can also learn from the many entrepreneurs who have written books on how to create a successful business. Lastly, you’ll never be completely ready whether or not you study entrepreneurship in school. You just have to do it.