I’ll cut to the chase here.
I have a college degree. Two of them, actually. One’s an AA in Elementary Education; the other, a BA in English.
I also own a freelance writing business.
You could assume that my English degree helped get me to where I am today as a freelance writer. Go ahead, ask me if my degree helped me start my business and land me clients.
My answer: Nope. Not at all.
My degree in education absolutely helped me become a preschool teacher, which I was before I started freelancing. When I got my English degree, though, I wasn’t really sure what I wanted to do with it. At the time, I had no intention of writing for a living.
When I did decide to start my freelancing business, I thought, “Hey, this English degree could totally come in handy now that I’m a writer!”.
In a way, it’s been helpful, but only in making me the writer that I am today. However, it hasn’t helped me in any way, shape, or form, get my business off the ground.
So, Wait…I Don’t Need a Freaking Degree?
I’m not completely saying you shouldn’t get a degree. But, should you shell out tens of thousands of dollars for tuition before starting an online business? No. In fact, I urge you not to do that.
I’m super grateful that I did go to college. I studied things I loved and consider it a worthy experience. It also doesn’t hurt to have two degrees that both relate to my business as a writer for parenting and education companies.
Just don’t go off thinking you need to have two degrees in your arsenal and thousands of dollars in debt to do what I did. You definitely don’t.
Here’s What You DO Need to Start Your Business
So, what do you need to start your business? Besides the usual blood, sweat, and tears, you’ll also need a whole lot of the following:
This is the absolute most important thing you can have when you start your business. I’m not even talking about professional experience with the exact type of company you want to start either. You just need experience related to the industry you want to be in.
I’ve always loved writing, but I never had professional experience with it. I never penned a book, wrote for a magazine, or worked as a staff writer before starting my business.
What I did have, instead, was awesome writing skills (okay, I can kind of thank my degree for some of that) and experience. Not experience with writing, but experience in the industries of my target clients. Since I’ve been a parent for many years and had professional experience as a preschool teacher, I made my target clients parenting, education, and EduTech companies and organizations.
I have enough experience in those areas to make clients put their trust in me.
You can leverage everything you’ve ever done to provide the experience you need to become an authority in your industry. Use prior volunteer work, extracurriculars, and even hobbies as proof of your experience.
Liking your business idea isn’t enough. Heck, even loving your business idea isn’t enough. You have to have a passion for your business idea for it to go anywhere. Trust me, no college degree will ever give you the passion needed for your future business. It has to be there first.
Your business will inevitably go through its ups and downs, trials and errors. You’ll hate it now and then. You might even feel like scrapping the whole thing. But you won’t. Your passion keeps it afloat.
There are days I hate writing. I’m cold, my head hurts, my research isn’t coming together like I planned, and life is a distraction. Why do I keep doing it? Because, at the end of the day, I’m passionate about helping family-focused businesses and organizations get their messages out to the public.
Your business isn’t going to start out amazing. Well, it could if you’re lucky. You shouldn’t expect it to though.
Instead, you should expect that you’ll need heaps of dedication to make your business work. If you get bummed out when you don’t see immediate success, then owning a business may not be for you (and you should probably reconsider that bachelor degree in Business).
I know the reason my freelance writing business has been so successful is that I’ve never given up on it or myself. From the moment I thought about starting it, I’ve had a “Let’s DO this!!!” mindset that hasn’t gone away. I’ve worked and worked until I got where I want to be – and I never stop setting new goals for myself.
That, my friends, is dedication.
Ready to Roll (and Rock a Business)?
Starting a business takes guts, especially when you’ve had zero experience in the business world. There’s so much that a degree can’t teach you though. I know; I’ve been there.
If you really want to educate yourself on starting a business, I encourage you to read The $100 Startup or Starting a Business, two books that can help you get into the entrepreneurial mindset to take a business from an idea to the real thing. They’re two I’ve read – interestingly after I already started mine. Still, there’s a wealth of awesome information in each of them.
Have you started a business without a business degree? Or, are you afraid to take the plunge? Either way, I want to hear from you! Let me know your thoughts in a comment below.