I staunchly believe that for the vast majority, university is completely pointless. I think that three years of “further education” fails to educate the masses about real life and the ways of the world. It’s counter-productive and robs people of learning how the real world works, rendering them brain-dead system surfers.
The media circuit is ablaze with discussion about the alarming level of jobless graduates and the true value of university. Tuition fees are set to rise at an exorbitant rate and students are leaving with huge financial debts to repay. Yet we are hearing unprecedented accounts of graduate unemployment: one in five graduates, having been told a degree would make them irresistible to employers, are currently unable to find work.
The fact is, small and medium-sized businesses account for 99 per cent of all companies in the UK. This is where the jobs are, and most employers hire according to skills and experience. Nine out ten businesses have explicitly stated this. I implore young school leavers to reconsider the hand-holding education system, to take the bull by the horns and perhaps look beyond the mindset of job dependency. There is a gaping budget deficit in the UK and I firmly believe that this can be remedied by addressing the country’s shortfall of entrepreneurship and initiative.
I was thrown out of school at 16 with virtually no qualifications, limited prospects and fewer ideas. Selling cheese and eggs on a market stool for a period of time taught me the gift-of-the-gab, commitment to hard graft and strong arithmetic. I capitalised on my penchant for numbers and started a simple business handling accounts and tax returns for small, local businesses. One initial investment of £10 for an advertisement of my services and 17 years later, at the age of 41, I now own a number of companies which are making over £6m a year in net profit.
I’ve just published an autobiographical guide called “How to make millions without a degree”, and hope to impart to others the confidence, techniques and ideas necessary in turning any idea into a great business. By learning these techniques and by practicing and improving over time, you can be 100 per cent, 200 per cent or even 300 per cent better than you are now.
There are some assertions in my book that I’d really like all enterprising individuals and aspiring entrepreneurs out there to stay attuned to.
Resilience and self-belief are an entrepreneur’s most precious commodities. With conviction in your idea, intense engagement, passionate drive and by giving yourself time, you can start your own business and get rich without the regressive three-year stint at university.
Moreover, do not stigmatise the concept of “selling”, which has almost become a dirty word these days. Selling is exactly what business is all about, even if your business isn’t about selling. Without it, you won’t have a business. You have to sell your service to customers if you want them to take action, you’ll need to sell your business if you wish to hire great staff and you’ll need to do some serious selling if you’re negotiating the best rates with suppliers. Selling is essential.
I currently own SJD Accountancy, Easy Accountancy and Contractor Umbrella and spearhead a business empire spanning financial services, aviation, publishing and motor racing. I’m living proof that with a sizeable amount of tenacity, relentless commitment, and a big idea, we all have the power to create the tomorrow we want and run a successful business. If you want to live in one of Britain’s richest areas, own a fleet of planes and earn a placement in The Sunday Times Rich List, get back to where the real action is and start running a business!
Simon Dolan is a “Twitter Dragon”, owner and founder of SJD Accountancy, and author of “How to make millions without a degree?”