Starting when you’re just a kid, people tell you that you need to go to college if you want to be successful. Then, when you get through college, they tell you that you need a master’s degree if you want to really open up doors for your career. Here’s the thing, though: you don’t. I’m not going to belittle the value of a college education, but you really don’t need a specific degree to be a successful entrepreneur.
As you probably know, Daymond didn’t go to college. He got his work ethic and his entrepreneurial spirit from his mom and from a work-study program he did in high school. Daymond couldn’t afford to go to college, but he knew from a very young age that he was going places with his life and that he had what it took to be successful. Between that confidence and a few really great contacts, he was on his way. Those contacts and connections meant more for his career than any degree ever could.
YOU CAN ONLY LEARN SO MUCH IN A CLASSROOM
Consider this: even if you go to the most prestigious university in the country, when you come out, you’re going to be in direct competition with everyone else in your class, along with the people who graduated in the years before you, too. All of you will have impressive degrees, but some of your competition will have a leg up because they already have industry connections.
Between two students with the same degree, competing for the same job, who do you think will get it? Would you bet on the one with the higher grades or the one who has a connection and a recommendation within the company?
Now, you’re probably thinking, “But I’m not applying for a job. I’m trying to start my own business. Don’t I need the skills I’d get from a business school degree to do that?” Honestly, while you’ll learn a lot on your way to a degree in business, networking and making the right connections will still matter a lot more for your success.
REFERENCES MEAN MORE THAN GRADES TO INVESTORS
Unlike someone interviewing you for a job, your investors aren’t necessarily going to look at your résumé and call your references after you leave. However, having a quality relationship with someone who knows investors interested in your kind of work will get you in the door a lot faster than high grades and a degree. Furthermore, when you talk about the work you’ve done thus far, you can showcase the people you’ve worked with, as well.
A BUSINESS MENTOR CAN HELP YOU LEARN AS YOU GO
When you work on building relationships with people in your industry, you’ll find a few mentors along the way who’ve been where you are now. They’ll have the real-world experience you need to get started and learn while you work instead of putting yourself in a massive amount of debt while you wait to get your own business up and running.
PEOPLE WANT TO WORK WITH PEOPLE THEY KNOW AND LIKE
Finally, whether you’re looking for investment money or you’re hiring employees for your business, your connections are going to help you out. Investors want to put their money into projects and businesses that they’re sure will be successful, but they also want to partner with entrepreneurs whom they know they can trust and with whom they like working. Keep in mind that you can find the best employees through people you know and trust in your industry. The more you build and nurture relationships in your business, the more success you’re going to have.