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Although many people have succeeded in making their mark in a number of fields without the support of a university education, there are, of course, many more who haven’t. If you have the opportunity of gaining a formal education, go for it by all means, as it will give you a leg up the corporate ladder but if you are intelligent and focused you can soon overcome your initial disadvantage of having limited formal schooling.
It is often said that a person learns a lot more after they finish their formal schooling than they ever learned up to graduation. It all depends on the person, as some people are forever listening, experimenting and learning whereas others are more laid back and have a more ‘don’t care’ attitude to what is going on around them. Education or not, people who want to learn will, and if they are intelligent they will go through their lives in leaps and bounds, but there are some attributes that all successful entrepreneurs have in common disregarding education or finance, these are:
Focus: No entrepreneur anywhere in the world has succeeded without focus no matter what his or her education or finance level. Your focus may be on success or it may be more on the long term which you often hear people call, ‘the big picture.’ Focus stops you becoming sidetracked as you strive to prioritise tasks that lead to your end goal.
Optimism: A pessimist will never achieve greatness in any field and it is no different with entrepreneurs. If you listen to a successful entrepreneur speak you will notice that they never talk about anything being a problem. They think in a world of challenges and solutions. Their glass is never half empty it is always half full and that is the way you must also view the world if you want to become a successful entrepreneur.
Passion: All successful entrepreneurs have a noticeable passion about what they are doing. This passion has to be strong enough to be a driving force. Neither education nor finance is any good to anyone if there is no passion involved.
Persistence: Successful entrepreneurs have struck as many ‘road blocks’ on their way up as any other businessperson but the difference is that they are determined to succeed. This shows through their persistence and determination in forging ahead at all costs. Some fall over in the process but they soon rise again to fight another day.
Flexibility: All the education in the world won’t be of any use to you if you can’t be flexible enough to find another solution if your previous attempt failed. Business plans are a guide and should be stuck to whenever possible but if you can’t be flexible enough to bend it here and there you stand to lose the lot. This can also be sighted as a reason why the entrepreneurs listed here have succeeded, because while schooling can be very rigid ad full of rules, breaking out of formal education gives people a chance to learn and excel their way.
Commitment: Whatever you choose to do, you need to be committed. You still need to be sure that you are running a business that you’re passionate about. Don’t invest your time starting a firm in an industry you don’t understand or are going to learn to resent. Part of this is that you need to get yourself organized and figure out what type of business that would be and where it will be located. For starters knowing how to form an LLC in California is much different than forming a limited liability company in Florida as state regulations on start-ups vary considerably. Being both organized and committed are essential parts to being successful.
Education therefore does not have to be something you get from a professor or teacher, it is something you learn everyday and call it experience. If you learn from experience you are becoming educated. Finance is also a moot point in becoming successful. If you are patient and are willing to build trust in your professional dealing with others you will see your business grow. As its growth demands expansion you can then afford to invest more, but never invest first and then try to catch up by trying to grow.
Entrepreneurs who haven’t had the benefit of a formal education but have gone on to experience amazing success because they had all of the above attributes include the following:
1. Andrew Perlman. Andrew was one of the founders of GreatPoint Energy. He did begin his university education at Washington University but at 19 he dropped out to concentrate on getting his first entrepreneurial endeavour off the ground, Cignal Global Communications an online communication company.
2. Anne Beiler is now a multimillionaire as a result of her partnership in the business Auntie Anne’s Pretzels. Anne was a high school drop out.
3. Ashley Qualls is the person behind the website Whateverlife.com. She left school at 15 years of age to devote more time to her project and by the time she was 17 she was worth more than a million dollars.
4. Barbara Lynch now owns a chain of restaurants valued at more than $10 million in Boston USA. She also didn’t finish high school.
5. Billy Joe McCombs is now a billionaire. He founded Clear Channel media and is also an investor in real estate. He dropped out of law school to sell cars.
6. Barry Diller, the owner of Ask.com is now a Hollywood mogul, founder of Fox Broadcasting Company and chairman of IAC/Interactive Corp. Another person who didn’t complete his formal education.
The experiences of these six people and hundreds, probably even thousands more, goes to show that neither education nor finance is necessary for ultimate success in the business world. If you possess enough belief in yourself and what you are doing you will find that you will eventually achieve your goal.