Sometimes, great ideas can’t wait, and spending four years in college will result in missed opportunities. This was the case for Taso Du Val, founder and CEO of global tech industry network Toptal.
“I wanted to go to MIT, but the thought of waiting for four years before starting my career troubled me,” Du Val said. “So, I started pursuing my passion for entrepreneurship at a young age and, years later, ended up fixing a problem I noticed in the IT outsourcing industry. It’s just something I had to do. I was not going to sit around for years, listening to information I would never need in my life.”
If you wholeheartedly believe that your business idea can’t wait four years to pursue, skipping college may be the right track. Many young entrepreneurs tackle their business ideas as passion projects while they attend college, but it is important to identify at what point your business needs your full attention.
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While college is an investment, so is your business. You’ll need to calculate your expenses, create a budget and plan your timeline accordingly before dedicating your life to the project. “Understanding the total costs is crucial,” said Portesy. “Before you pursue a new business opportunity, map out the total investment – purchase costs, opening inventory and how much working capital you will need before you break even.”
Sometimes, students will go for a degree and work in an industry for a few years, or on the side, to earn money to support their entrepreneurial journey. If you don’t think you can cut it without a sustainable career to leverage your success, then you might want to focus on school first. However, if you’re currently in school and feel strongly about devoting all your time to testing or growing your business, check with your college about its leave-of-absence policy.