There's More to Life Than a College Education

4min read

College has a long list of pros, especially for an academically-based profession. But for many of America's youth, choosing to go to college is quite a complex decision. With the expansion of online businesses, there are more opportunities than ever to make your own path in the business world—one that may or may not include a typical college education.

For starters, those four years of commitment mean that college graduates aren't entering the workforce until about 22 years old. This takes years away from hands-on learning in your desired field and can be viewed as a significant opportunity cost. Having four years of experience in a particular field may be even more valuable than a degree.

And speaking of value... The average bachelor's degree in the United States costs $127,000—a sum very few have lying around. As a result, about 70% of students take out loans to help pay for school. So often, we hear from graduates that college felt like a waste of money and that paying off student loans is a struggle not worth the reward. How many people do you know who are in a career that is actually attached to the degree they earned? Meanwhile, there are thousands of entrepreneurs who didn't go to or finish college who are already making multi-millions a year from their businesses.

The good news here is, you don't have to wait for a degree to begin your journey as an entrepreneur.

Turning to industry insider business coaches like myself is fast becoming the road more traveled, as this is a one-on-one learning experience that most do not get in a room full of other students. An expert business coach guides you through a deep dive into your core passions and can pull your greatest strengths to the surface without the huge payout and time investment.

As a business coach for entrepreneurs, I serve as the fearless front runner of the boss babe revolution, helping female business-builders start making money now by turning their greatest passion into healthy profits. As an experienced entrepreneur, I learned a great deal from my own professional history. And now, I use that knowledge to teach others through virtual coaching—a platform that is both convenient and inexpensive.

So, before going into hundreds of thousands of dollars of debt, I urge you to investigate alternative education opportunities to help prepare you to enter a career or start a business you love. With the internet, there are so many opportunities to start a business.

It is easier than ever to learn extremely valuable skills, apply them, and start a business without needing to go to college.

Thanks to the Internet, college is no longer the only way to broaden your horizons. Instead of hitting the books at university, look for people leading a creative project or business that inspires you. We can't create what we haven't seen evidenced before us in some way, so seeking mentors and people that have blazed the trail ahead of you is incredibly valuable.

The point is, before you go into hundreds of thousands of dollars of debt, investigate alternative education options. The education system may make it seem like college is the only option, but there is more to the world than a degree that you may or may not ever use. There are so many other avenues, aside from college, that may better prepare you for a career or business you truly love. These days, the vast amount of online resources available make it nearly effortless to expand your knowledge and gain insight you may otherwise miss… Going the traditional route may end up costing you a lot more in the long run.

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From $0 to $3Billion In Sales: Serial Inventor Joy Mangano Shares Her Entrepreneurial Secrets

How many times have you looked at something and thought: I wish this did more? And how many times have you thought long and hard about what else you could make it do, if you had the resources, time, and a factory-load of people working for you?

We've all certainly been there. Whether we were 5 and inventing a flying Barbie, or futuristic football, or 35 and looking at the kitchen imagining a self-taught robot that would help with the nightly dinners. We've all come up with what we thought were million dollar ideas - but almost none of us follow through because we're already too busy, and somebody else has probably invented it already.

For one woman, this very sequence of events took place when she was just a teenager. Unimpressed with her dog's collar, she created a new one with florescent sides (making them more visible to cars at night) that would fit more comfortably on a dog or cat's neck. But because of her relative youth, the collar was never produced, and a year later was released and patented by another company.

The girl, Joy Mangano, vowed this would never happen again.

Fast forward to 1990. Single mother-of-three, Mangano has a bigger, bolder idea. This time, the Miracle Mop is born, launching her career as an entrepreneur and setting her up for a life in the spotlight with her product launch on QVC. Between then and now, Mangano has accrued 100 patents (for products like the Huggable Hanger and My Little Steamer) and her company, Ingenious Designs is worth over $50million.

This story was told in Hollywood by David O.Russell in 2015 with his Golden Globe winning movie, Joy. Jennifer Lawrence's portrayal of Mangano served to highlight the difficulty of entrepreneurship and instruct on the minefield of patent disputes.

Mangano's latest product is one she says she's been working on for her entire life: a journal, a manual and a self-help for entrepreneurs wrapped up in her book, Inventing Joy: Dare to Build a Brave and Creative Life.

SWAAY spoke with Mangano about the necessity for this kind of book in this age of entrepreneurship, and how it will resonate with aspiring female inventors and change-makers.

Drawing on her success and the pains it took to get there, Mangano has penned a book that will no doubt be a bible for those looking to take their flying Barbies or futuristic footballs to market. "I️ believe it will be a resource for people they can keep coming back to," she remarks. "This book truly is a lesson for anybody - in their careers, no matter what age."

Her family have been crucial to the whole process of building her brand and expanding Ingenious Designs, for the last 17 years, and have informed many of the chapters in the book. "I️ am fortunate enough to work with my children, family and friends and they were completely integral (to the books production)," says Mangano. Her daughter Christie serves as SVP Brand Development, Merchandising & Marketing Strategy having worked with her mom for thirteen years. “She's my left brain," laughs Mangano. Both her son Bobby and other daughter Jackie have worked elsewhere before also coming under their mother's umbrella. Bobby currently serves as Executive Vice President of the company and Jackie is involved with the fashion side of the business, which is certainly no mean feat, as she is also involved in styling for the upcoming reboot of The Murder on the Orient Express.

"When you can do things in life - work and follow your passion with people you love - it makes it all that much more meaningful and pure happiness."

The launch of her book signals new territory for the serial inventor, who has her first opportunity to tour the country and speak to those whose homes she has appeared in for the past 15 years on QVC and HSN.

"This is really one of my dreams," she comments. "I️'ve always wanted to go around the country and meet all of my customers and this is one way to do that. It couldn't be better."

"95% of my customers are women so I️ can't help but be an advocate always."

While on tour, Mangano is destined to meet a host of people that will tell her of their inventions or start-up ideas, but none more so than the millennials, who are completely reinventing the notion of entrepreneurship. Mangano hopes that through the book aspiring female entrepreneurs will be able to take solace in the fact they don't have to do it all. "I️ truly believe - this is a generation I️ watch, a lot of them work for me and with me - today, more than ever, they think they have to do it all."

"Dressed beautifully and in a meeting, they'll say 'I've been up since 5. Dressed the kids. Fed the kids.' And then (after work) they'll come home, have quality time, bath time. And I️ say - you can miss a game." If there's one thing she would invent for millennial women, it's this very advice, she says.

Rather than a product, or an item, it's this advice that, contrary to the millennial mindset, you don't have to be five places at one time or working 20-hour days to get where you want to be. Instead, Mangano has sections of the book that will inform on how better to manage your time and your ideas - to employ her methods - so you can become successful with (a little) less stress.

When asked how social media and the digital age has influenced her real-world inventions (like mops, hangers, steamers and pillows), Mangano chuckles. Technology, rather than impairing the invention of real world application actually opens up a 'wider range' tells the inventor. “It opens up a direct - to - consumer feedback and enhances your platform."

"With Instagram and Facebook my customers communicate with me. That's critical for looking at what you do and for the future of what you do."

Out of the dozens of things she's invented, Mangano won't say what her favorite is. "What am I️ most proud of? That's hard to say - that's like asking what child do you love the most and I️ don't think I️ could be prouder of any of them."