No College, No Problem: Three Tips for Starting a Business as a College Dropout


Should I stick out college? Is it even worth it anymore?”

Such a question runs through the minds of many degree-seekers in an increasingly competitive economy. While everyone’s situation is different, there are indeed plenty of good reasons to leave academia behind in pursuit of being your own boss. Consider, for example:

  • The rising costs of tuition: for many, that money could be better spent elsewhere (think: in a savings account or as a startup capital) versus on a degree with little or no career trajectory
  • The sheer amount of time it takes to finish any given degree: that time could likewise be better spent learning a trade or essential marketing skills
  • Boredom and burnout: if the concept of college makes you miserable, there’s no need to subject yourself to four years of torture if there’s a better path out there for you

Although there’s certainly no degree requirement for starting a business, the fact remains that becoming an entrepreneur as a college dropout can be somewhat daunting.

Sure, stories of dropouts such as Steve Jobs or Mark Zuckerberg may be encouraging, but such tales of success are one-in-a-billion. Many wannabe entrepreneurs are filled with doubt: after all, how can we ensure our business’ success if we couldn’t cut it in college?

Fear not. If you’re concerned about your ability to make it as an entrepreneur without a degree, simply keep the following tips in mind.

Do Your Homework

While businesses generally don’t require degrees, you do need to do your homework regarding what it takes to effectively found a company. For starters, you’re going to learn to understand…

  • The legal requirements of starting a business from entity formation to taxes and beyond, which often goes over the head of new entrepreneurs
  • The in’s and out’s of Internet marketing: you can sew the seeds of your business online for next-to-nothing with a bit of creativity
  • The budget required to start your company: although many businesses can be started for little capital, the fact remains that you’re going to need some funds to get yourself off the ground

Find Your Motivation

Just because you dropped out of college doesn’t necessarily mean that you lack the motivation to run your own business.

But being an entrepreneur means not having an “off” switch as you’re putting the entire weight of your financial future on your own shoulders. Motivation isn’t an option: it’s an absolute must for keeping your business afloat.

Finding motivation often requires finding a field of work that interests you versus settling for something that feels too much like a grind. Ideally, you can start a business that’s relevant to your passions to keep you interested and motivated. Either way, understand that entrepreneurship is a commitment that you can’t afford to simply lost interest in.

Budget Wisely

If you don’t have a lot of cash on hand to start your business, you’re going to be fighting somewhat of an uphill battle.

However, you can take a book out of the pages of today’s growth hacking entrepreneurs when it comes to running your business to keep more cash in your pocket. For example, rely on free traffic and marketing channels such as blogging and social media to make your message heard. Likewise, only spend on marketing when it’s absolutely necessary.

The first few months of your business might require some serious all-nighters of blog-writing, cold emailing and grinding via social media. That being said, doing so today can pay off in the long-run and keep your business’ budget under control.

Just because you’re a college dropout doesn’t mean you’re doomed to a life of career mediocrity. Instead, find your own source of motivation and maintain realistic expectations as you get your business off the ground.