Should I Start a Business or Go Back to School? Here’s what I’d do…


You’re at one of those interesting crossroads in life. You’ve graduated with a degree, and now you’re wondering if you should open your own business or go back to school and work on your next degree. Both have their advantages and disadvantages, so how do you choose?

Whether you should start a business or go back to school depends on your career goals. You don’t need a degree to open a business, even though it helps. If you know for sure that your future career path (outside of owning a business) does require higher education, then you should earn a degree.

If you’re still not sure how you should choose, this article will be your guide. We’ll go over the pros and cons of both avenues, going back to school and starting your own business. By the time you’re done reading, you’ll know which path is better suited to you!

Teaching-at-the-white-board

The Pros of Starting Your Own Business

Let’s begin by assessing the advantages of operating your very own business.

You Don’t Need a College Degree

Does a college degree help if you want to be a business owner? Most definitely, especially if you studied areas such as business and finance.

That said, a college degree is not a must. You can learn the ins and outs of business through seminars and online classes. Later, as your business gets underway, the greatest teacher of all will be experience.

You Get to Be Your Own Boss

Most people who work nine-to-five jobs loathe having to work for a boss or manager. They wish they could be in that lofty position themselves, but for many of them, it’s simply not attainable.

As a business owner, you would indeed be your own boss. The power and freedom that comes with that is something that many long for, and you get to live that life every single day. You’re in quite a fortunate position, and you recognize that!

The Personal Satisfaction You’ll Feel is Immense

Being personally satisfied with the work you do is important, as that’s what will spark a fire and keep you passionate and motivated for a long time to come.

Seeing your own dreams of opening a business come to fruition and the power that comes from being your own boss means you’ll be brimming with personal satisfaction. Even though running a business has its hardships, you’ll be willing to do what it takes for your business.

You Have the Freedom to Dictate Your Own Schedule

Do you have to work today? You’re the boss; that’s up to you.

While you do still have to get things done, as a business owner, you completely have the liberty to determine when you’ll work and when you won’t. That’s also true of the rest of your staff, although it applies to you most.

The Cons of Starting Your Own Business

To examine the flip side of the coin, we’ll take this section and go over the downsides of owning a business.

You Will Work a Lot in the Beginning

All those perks about reduced work hours and freedom are not guaranteed to you right off the bat as a business owner. You have to establish your business and generate a comfortable level of revenue before you’ll begin getting to enjoy those perks.

Until you get to that point, you’re going to have to put your nose to the grindstone. You’ll work hard, possibly harder than you ever have in your life. You’ll be the first person there in the morning and the last one there at night.

You have to be the one getting the work done in the beginning. It’s your business, and no one will fight for it as hard as you will, especially when it’s not yet a money-making machine.

Starting Your Own Business Is Expensive

How much will you have to shell out to start your own business?

For the first year, between $30,000 and $40,000, according to Small Biz Trends. That’s not over the lifetime of your business; we want to make that clear. That’s what you’ll spend for year one.

After a while, your company will hopefully begin making money, so paying for expenses and payroll and everything else won’t come directly out of your pocket.

In that first year, though, it will. Well, either your pocket or that of an angel investor. You might also need a loan.

Five figures is a lot of money for the average person to shell out on something that isn’t a car or a house. You’ll have to determine if you can afford to start a business.

Many Businesses Fail

Proud-new-business-owner

If you look around your neighborhood, how many new businesses have you seen that have shuttered their doors in months or years? It happens all the time in every city and town across the country as well as in other countries around the world.

Entrepreneur, in a 2021 article, states that the failure rate for a business within the first year is 20 percent. Within five years, it’s 50 percent.

Even if you get over the first-year hump, that doesn’t necessarily mean your business is going to be around for year two or year three.

If your business does indeed fail, then you will have poured all that time, money, and effort in and have nothing to show for it. You can add the business experience to your resume, but that’s it.  

Being the Boss Is Hard Work

Working as your own boss does indeed have its perks, as we’ve established. Yet it also comes with a lot of hard parts that most people don’t think about.

For example, you’ll have an ultimate say over who gets hired as well as fired. You might have to mediate matters between coworkers, shut down people’s project aspirations, and cause others grief and disappointment with your decisions.

That’s not a fun position to be in, but it’s one that you’d have to occupy semi-regularly. If you’re not ready for that, you might struggle in your role as a boss.

The Pros of Going Back to School

Now it’s time to switch gears and discuss the prospect of going to school instead of starting your own business. Here are the advantages of that decision.

Develop a New Skillset or Strengthen Existing Skills

If you want to collect new skills, going back to school is one of the most reliable ways to do it. You have the chance to branch out into something new if you’ve already been in the working world for a few years, but you’re not satisfied with your career.

For those who do like the field they work in, you can always go back to school to learn more about that field. By strengthening your skills, you could be a more viable candidate at work. Perhaps the next time a promotion opportunity arises, you’ll be considered.

A Better Degree Equals More Career Opportunities

There’s a reason that those with a high school diploma don’t end up making five or six-figure salaries. You need to have a certain degree of higher education to unlock greater career opportunities.

An associate degree is better than just your GED, and a bachelor’s degree is better than an associate degree. A master’s is better than a bachelor’s, and a Ph.D. is better than even a master’s, although most career seekers don’t tend to get that far.

You Can Make More Money

Do you know what else comes with greater career opportunities? That’s right, the chance to make more money.

Whether it’s the aforementioned raise at your current job or a new job that hires you on for quite a significant salary, you’ll have more zeroes at the end of each check, which is always awesome.

Many Schools Are Flexible So You Can Keep Working

What if you don’t want to quit your job but still go back to school? Many colleges and universities have options for working adults such as yourself.

Perhaps you enroll in night classes, or you take online classes. These flexible arrangements make it possible for you to finish your schooling while still continuing to bring in a paycheck every week.

The Cons of Going Back to School

As we did with starting a business, we have to take a closer look at the downsides of going back to school as well.

It’s Hard to Juggle Coursework and Your Job

Even though many colleges afford you the opportunity to both attend classes and keep your full-time job, that doesn’t mean it’s easy to do.

Your boss will probably frown upon you doing your homework on company time. That means you’ll have to save it until you’re home when you’re not taking your classes. This can cause you to work some pretty late nights.

You won’t have much time for hobbies or social obligations during the week, and perhaps even during the weekend, too, depending on how busy you are.

Even though this time isn’t forever, when it’s ongoing, it can be really difficult to get through!

You Will Accumulate More Student Loans

The longer you spend in academia, the more student loans you’ll rack up. You might be able to find some scholarships to offset the cost of your college education, but more than likely, you’ll still be left with at least some loans.

Even though you have a full-time income and might be making more money soon, having one extra loan on top of everything else can be difficult for you financially. You could be paying off those student loans for a long time to come.

A Higher Degree Doesn’t Guarantee a Job

A college education carries with it no guarantees. It all depends on what the job market is like, and that is something that a university has no say over.

You could spend two or four or even more years in college and still find it hard to get a job because the market is poor.

In some cases, you can even be overqualified, which makes it just as hard as few companies are willing to hire you.

As You Get Older, Going Back to School Feels More Awkward

We also have to talk about the social implications of returning back to school.

If you’re still in your 20s or 30s when you go back, then maybe it will be weird for you at first, but in the end, not terrible.

Those in their 40s or 50s, though, stick out like a sore thumb among the much younger student body.

That feeling of weirdness and awkwardness might not go away. These older students don’t blend in no matter what they do, and they might feel like they’re being scrutinized extra hard as a result.

Of course, this wouldn’t apply as much if you were pursuing an online education.

Conclusion    

Determining whether you should go back to school or start your own business is a tough decision that requires a lot of careful consideration. We hope this article helps you think objectively so you can choose a path for you that you’re completely satisfied with. Good luck!

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John Cunningham

John is a writer, classic car and whiskey lover, men's shopping enthusiast and self appointed DIY expert. His greatest passion is repairing in the workshop, making old classics look and run like new again!

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