After reading this post, I got the urge to write a reply of some sorts, with my thoughts about dropping out to build a startup.
My advice: Don’t do it, there is always time, but it’s harder to get back to studying once you’ve dropped out.
What set me going was this last paragraph of the post
As a result, my advice to anyone thinking of dropping out is to keep studying, and use every opportunity to build projects and startups on the side. When something starts to work, you’ll have that same feeling that many others have, and you’ll know that it’s your duty to keep building it and bring it to the world. Until that happens, keep studying and keep building. When it happens, drop out slowly.
There is no such thing as “drop out slowly”. You either drop out or you don’t. Once you’ve got your own startup, you are “supposed” to put all your energy and time into it. People take Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, and Zuckerberg as examples, and generally don’t go back to studying, because “there is no time for it”.
As the article says, you go through a very fast, compressed, learning stage when you have your own startup. You learn so many things that it kind of feels irrelevant to go back to studying.
I’m not a dropout, but I’ve still found my way to building startups, making money, and following my dreams.
I’ve worked since I was 17, whilst still in high school. I started off working as a developer and photographer at a jewellery factory. I started university, and joined a software development firm. I chose a university that would adapt to my work hours. Sometimes I would go to uni at night, other times I would take online courses, etc. My bosses knew that schools comes first, so when I had to take a mid-day course for a few months, they would allow me to leave the office for 2 hours at lunch time.
At the same time, I was working on starting my own business, developing CMS and CRM systems. So, how can you handle two jobs and uni at the same time? Trust me, it’s possible. It’s all about time management and good communication. As long as you know how to prioritise, organise, communicate, schedule, and perform well, then you can master anything in life.
So, fast-forward a few years, and I’m in Scotland doing a master degree in Artificial Intelligence, whilst working part-time for a financial software company, and freelancing as a web designer in my spare time.
I managed to get through the course, fly back home, and carry on with my start-up. Right now I’ve got over twenty clients, whom I do web systems, websites, and other custom projects for.
You don’t need to drop out to get your own projects going. You just need to know how to organise your life, find a flexible course or university, communicate well with your clients, co-founders and university staff to let them know what you are doing, organise your time adequately to cater for all your needs, and get to work.
The number one thing I learned
I took away from this experience that what you learn at uni, you apply in your start-up and other jobs, and vice-versa. It is a constructive symbiosis that will help you grow intellectually, as well as economically. Furthermore, when you finally graduate, you will be much better prepared to manage your start-up than you would have been if you would have dropped out.
Now, my experience and words might not work for everyone, but it certainly worked for me. So think first, analyse, compare experiences, do research, and then decide. Because when you drop out, it might be the last time you ever go back to the classroom.