Education vs. Experience – by Dusty King, Franchise Owner of BlueGrace Atlanta Northeast

I believe I suffer from a wonderful condition called ADHD… like most entrepreneurs do. Either that or I’m as stubborn as my wife says I am.

I decided from a very early age that school and the classroom were not for me and I couldn’t be convinced otherwise. Not that my parents, teachers, and counselors didn’t try I just was’t hearing it! At the time I couldn’t find any reason why I needed to be sitting in a classroom learning (X-Y+Z = 3) or memorizing the elements on the periodic table.

I felt these formulas and theories did not apply to my quest of owning a business. Whether this was a correct way of thinking is another topic in itself.

I never envisioned myself climbing the corporate ladder. I always planned on building my own ladder and didn’t need to climb someone else’s to get to where I wanted or needed to be. When I get an idea and know the direction I want to go there is no force on this planet that will sway or derail me. It’s just how I’m wired. Not everyone’s path is the same. There is no “right” or “wrong” path to take in my opinion.

In bypassing the college route, I had a much earlier start in the s0-called “real world” than if I had gone to college and partied for 4 years. This is how I envisioned college.

I had done enough partying in high school for a life time and it was time to start working, making money and gaining real world working/business knowledge that would benefit me when the opportunity came to start my own business.

I knew I would benefit more from “real world” experiences over sitting in a classroom for four years being lectured about them. I am a hands-on learner, and the only way for it to stick was to learn from my mistakes.

To me, each job I worked was like earning credits toward earning my “major” in business. The opportunities were about learning the business and thinking of ways to do the job better as if it were my own.

I didn’t work for paycheck, I worked to live the dream… I worked to learn how to become an entrepreneur. The older I get, my thirst for knowledge grows tremendously. There is a part of me that wishes I would have pursued an education at an earlier age and one of my goals is to do so in the future. I am not one who shuns education alltogether. In fact, I have placed education on a very high pedestal and will do everything in my power to put my children on the path to a higher education when their time comes. I guess I was just a unique case.

The biggest thing I lacked from not going to college was building strong organization, time management & processing skills that I ended up having had to learn the hard way. This is an aspect of business that I lacked for some time.

If you’re trying to decide what path you should take to live your dream (whatever that may be), I would say think long and hard about it. Entrepreneurship is hard enough as it is, so don’t set yourself back to the beginning if you don’t need to.

There are VERY valuable skills that one develops at college outside of the classrooms and books. Life has a funny way of showing these things and they become clearer as you get older. To be an entrepreneur, you must realize that you’re going to have to be more driven and self-reliant than ever. Skipping college doesn’t mean that your education is over, it’s really just the beginning. So take every opportunity to learn from your peers and take it upon yourself to self-educate and stay ahead of the curve. Be creative and listen to those around you.

You CAN do it, it’s just gonna take a little more fine tuning on your own. But again everyone is different and no one knows YOU like YOU do. At the end of the day you are accountable for your decisions and no one else.

Dusty King, franchise owner of BlueGrace Atlanta Northeast
Dusty King, franchise owner of BlueGrace Atlanta Northeast