5 Things I Wish I Would Have Learned in Business School—But Didn’t

I learned a ton when I went to business school. Don’t get me wrong. I wish that anyone would have been privy to the free education I received from the colleges and universities like Franklin & Marshall, Missouri Valley College and Syracuse University’s Whitman School of Management and now that I have a few years under my belt post grad, I wish I could take some of these lessons and infuse them into my educational system so I wouldn’t have had to learn the hard way as an entrepreneur. Well, who am I kidding? I suspect I would still have to learn the hard way—that’s part of the reason why I’m an entrepreneur in the first place.

1) Everyone will tell you to get a job.

I can’t tell you the number of times I have been told to just get a job. It’s not that I object to working hard and for someone else. I don’t. I think it’s a viable option for tons of people and at certain stages of my life I was perfectly happy to work for someone else. In fact, I enjoyed it and I would be remiss if I didn’t take the opportunity to try to make it on my own because I believe I can do it. People tell me to get a job all the time. If I run into a health insurance problem—which is a huge problem for entrepreneurs—people say, “Why don’t you just get a job?” If I have to contact the government for any sort of information and I can’t make the system work for me, they tell me to just get a job until I make $3,000 off someone else and then get fired. When a client doesn’t pay quickly enough or cash flow is tighter than I’d like it or an unexpected financial hit comes my way, I’ll be sure to hear it: Get a job.

2) A job is no more or less stable than entrepreneurship.

Companies exist to solve problems. It doesn’t matter if you’re working for someone else is working for yourself and starting your own company. As long as that problem exists and you can solve it then you’re in business. But, as an example, big companies are yearning more lean manufacturing so that leads to greater efficiency and less people to solve their problem for their customers. As a second example, the media industry is changing and countless previously employed workers are without wages because they’re not needed and as a third example, the national unemployment rate is at 7 percent for people who are older than 16. These three facts illustrate that there are countless problems that have either reached their demise or have become supremely efficient and unfortunately, job loss occurs which illustrates my point: a job isn’t more or less stable than entrepreneurship.

3) Entrepreneurship is all about solving problems.

Now the fancy explanation of entrepreneurship is: “the process of identifying and starting a business venture, sourcing and organizing the required resources and taking both the risks and rewards associated with the venture.” Dumb it down: solve a problem, collect money for it, repeat for more people with a similar problem who are willing to pay a similar amount or more.

4) Anyone can solve problems.

I know it sounds ridiculous to think that the process of entrepreneurship is this heady adventure fraught with all of these perils and somehow at the end of it you’ll triumph and become the most amazing leader of all times. Well that’s not so. Allow me to illustrate it like this and if you have kids you’ll relate: One night I found my stepson sleeping in the hallway. I picked him up and put him back in bed. A little while later, he came into my room, told me he didn’t feel well and then puked on the bed. I cleaned it up and put him back to bed. There was a problem, so I solved it. Entrepreneurship is that simple. Look around at the mess in the world and go clean it up. If you can clean up puke from a sick child you have proven that you’re capable of solving problems. Making a decision to clean up puke from the carpet is no more or less difficult than filing paperwork with an attorney to start a company. It’s just paperwork. Putting a child back to bed is no more nerve wracking than filing an EIN number and opening up a business bank account. You can solve problems. You do it every single day.

5) People are inherently scared.

You know anyone can solve problems. You know that entrepreneurship is about finding a problem and solving it and you know that entrepreneurship isn’t some daring feat: it’s just a choice. So why do so many people tell you to get a job? Why is that their go to answer for self-fulfillment? I think it’s because of fear. They’re afraid of what will happen for you if you can’t collect money on time, if times become lean or clients don’t pay immediately. They’re afraid of the consequences. They’re afraid of how you’ll judge them because you own a business and they don’t. They’re afraid of how you’ll look at them in times of plenty and want. They’re afraid of the idea of entrepreneurship and they’re afraid when you fail because somehow they might catch the failure too and they’re afraid of your success because if you succeed and they don’t then somehow they have failed, too. But none of these things are true. It’s just fear. And out of the five biggest things I wish I had learned in business school but didn’t, I wish I had learned that fear is riddled with all sorts of falsehoods that stand in the way of solving problems.

About the Author
Named Top 100 Leaders by 2012 Magazine, Jasmine Grimm has been nominated for Central Penn Business Journal’s “Top 40 Under 40,” the Woman of the Year, and The Lancaster Chamber’s ATHENA Award.

Jasmine founded Ruby, Inc. a personal styling business that teaches women how to dress for their body types and became a two-time nominee for Inc. Magazine’s Top 30 Under 30 Top Young Entrepreneurs in America. She won the 2013 SCORE Business Development Award, the won the Central Penn Business Journal’s Top 25 Women of Influence Award in 2013 and the 2013 Leadership Award from the MS Society.

She has been a popular guest lecturer at the Maastricht Institute of Entrepreneurship and has been featured in Under 30 CEO and Productive Magazine, was the cover story for Harrisburg Magazine and her writing has graced National Geographic Television and Film, Harvard University and more.

She’s a 5,3,8,3 on the Kolbe A Index and her strengths include input, relator, learner, responsibility and achievement.

For more info, see her Google+ Profile.