Not all entrepreneurs are dropouts, and we shouldn't think that dropping out is necessarily the most suitable avenue for entrepreneurial minds.
When I graduated high school last year, I knew that I wanted to pursue tertiary education - specialising in business and entrepreneurship - and also develop my entrepreneurial acumen, at the same time. Although a number of people didn't think this was very wise, I persisted with this ambition, and in hindsight, it has been extremely beneficial.
There are a number of conflated ideas that surround education and entrepreneurship. The sad truth is that a fair number of people don't have the confidence in focusing in both areas. After I graduated high school, I spent the first three months developing my professional speaking and advisory skills, additionally also launching TR Suiting. Coming straight out of high school - where students are continually pushed and encouraged on an academic level - what lacked in the first three months for me was the programmed routine that students follow. Not having a routine was a very vulnerable part of those starting months because as students, the majority of us base our behaviour around routines and agendas. Once I understood the true value of maintaining a routine, this helped shape the management of my time and of my businesses. I can safely say that having a routine is a very valuable tool that students and entrepreneurs should abide by if you are pursuing accountability, productivity, or both.
After launching TR Suiting, and having the other businesses to manage at the time, my schedule started to fill up quite quickly. To add to my already full timetable of meetings and appointments, I was determined to continue in a client-facing role for all of my ventures, as well as all of the administrative work that needed to be completed. Being someone who has to be working or otherwise I feel unfulfilled, I found no real concern with this and I enjoyed the diversification of what I was doing. However with all diversified work, you start to lose focus on specific projects, and task management often lacks attention. Having a routine was a useful pillar, however going deeper into the processes of managing my tasks, as well as my time was critical - especially as the work needed a lot of attention. It was clear that I needed to either modify the processes involved in what I was doing, by time or volume, or I could employ additional individuals to assist grow the business while also easing the load for me. Although this is a difficult move to make on a financial level within an early stage startup, it was definitely the right move to make when it came to the work I was doing and the circumstances I was in at the time.
As the university semester started earlier this year I had been extremely busy with my work- I had been speaking around Sydney, mentoring and advising young entrepreneurs and business owners, consulting clients for TR Suiting, publishing an e-book on social media marketing strategy, and I had been working with government bodies in advocating for youth entrepreneurship. As you can probably tell, university studies seemed like an unfortunate use of my time at this stage (and I hadn't even started).
Truth be told, I loved it - studying at Macquarie University was a fantastic choice that I made, and I still remain happy that I made that choice last year. Going to university seemed like something that only chief executives and managers followed through with - not entrepreneurs. I truly think that this is an unfortunate perception of the opportunities which are derived in tertiary education environments. What I have found at Macquarie Univeristy is that, as a student, I have access to academics who can provide me value not only to do with my coursework, but practical knowledge that they have garnered within their own careers. As someone who takes initiative to connect with my academic advisers and staff, I have been extremely grateful and continually impressed with how much value I receive along with my studies.
Going to university hasn't all been faultless though. The main concern that I have had has been around time management, and how I have managed my time between work and my studies. My solution to this has been proximity; just as they say proximity is power, I believe that in a literal sense, you can undermine this theory with your geographical location. If you are able to grasp the opportunity to fabricate your academic studies and workload in the same location, you will therefore be advantageous with your ability to manage your tasks and time more conveniently. This is the case in corporate roles as well- if you are able to work in the same business district as your university, you will be better placed with your studies and work.
I am now halfway through my second semester of university, and although I am studying the highest level undergraduate business degree offered by Macquarie University, I believe that entrepreneurs have a real opportunity to enhance their professional acumen by attending tertiary education. Simply perceiving that dropping out is the key to entrepreneurialism, is - in my opinion - what I have mentioned; an unfortunate truth, which should be redefined as an opportunity for those who have the initiative. Further, I would agree that tertiary education is not for all individuals, but at the same time I think those specific individuals should be open to developing and learning in alternative environments, which will most definitely enhance themselves and their businesses.