You will never learn anything you won’t regret. I had to do it all over again, here are five pieces of college advice I would tell my college freshman or graduate-self. For those of you starting college, returning back to campus, or starting your first job, I am PUMPED to share my personal truth bombs.
1. It doesn't matter. Don’t snub at those entrepreneurial courses in college.
And that’s a mistake.
No matter your field of study, every college student should discover his or her entrepreneurial potential. Even if it doesn’t happen right away – look at this way – you had some exposure. Woulda, coulda, shoulda.
ME: You know what is even worse? Back in my day these courses were viewed as an easy credit. For the last five years, I am taking the real life course, but I wonder about the nuggets I missed.
2. After crossing the stage at graduation, take a long haul trip to another continent and consider not coming back for months.
The best part?
Travel changes you.
It’s addictive, starting with the beaches (personal fave), food, culture, history, customs, language, and people. There’s a treasure chest of life lessons. You have no responsibilities. Work abroad whether it's for the summer or for a couple of years.
ME: I opted to work work work during my summers instead. Good news is I have traveled to 25 countries so far.
3. If you decide to opt out of #2 and head into the workforce, focus and specialize in one industry whether it’s finance, IT, consumer goods, or social media. Spread your wings and become a warranted subject matter expert (SME).
ME: I became that SME.
So you're risk averse, huh?
I got your back too.
Use up all the training and education money your employer has to offer. Every year, get smarter on someone else’s dime.
ME: Best advice I got from my boss was to turnup on the training dollars and take my sh*t to the next level. He said when I grow up project management will skyrocket and it did. Best advice.
4. After you graduate, DON’T work for anybody.
Sounds ridiculous, right?
Right… But explore your passions now when you have minimal to no responsibilities. Test the waters. Create a company, apply for an LLC, get an accountant to lead and guide you, and sign up for a LinkedIn account.
ME: Wanting personal freedom is my destiny. Working someone's else's passion is no fun. I didn't know how to start. Took me 20 years+ and I dove in head first.
5. Find a mentor, business coach, or network. Use them as a sounding board.
This is a great way to avoid pitfalls everyone has already made. A mentor is impartial looking out for your best interests. A coach is just like your professor. Leading and guiding you, making sure you tracking on the right path and taking you out of your comfort zone. Meetups are great ways of networking with like-minded people.
ME: Be aware of killjoy. Sometimes you can't rely or share everything with your friends and family. This is where your fellow entrepreneurs become your extended family.
Yes, you have no experience. Whether you choose to work for someone or be an entrepreneur, all the more reason to go for high risk/high reward opportunities. Don’t play by other’s rules. Stop being the background noise and make yourself memorable.
Do you have a nugget that you would like to pay forward? If you like this post, I’d love to hear about the best advice you received. Sharing is caring.