Less than nothing: student debt, risk, and small business dreams

Today, we’re releasing BUS305: Small Business Management on our iTunes U channel. And that got us thinking: variations on the word “entrepreneur” show up 137 times.

But entrepreneurship doesn’t come easy, and it doesn’t come cheap.

Back in April, our trustee, Michael Saylor, shared some of his thoughts on getting started in business:

“You could call me a risk-taking entrepreneur, but the truth of the matter is I got incredibly lucky on two fronts….I got this very lucky access to a skill, and I showed up with no debt, and the combination of having a skill and having no debt emboldened me to take a risk and the result is today we have…3500 employees. That building, none of those jobs, nothing we do would exist had I either not gotten extremely lucky or been in debt when I graduated from college.” [Video]

Compare that to this quote from a recent blog post at The New York Times:

As bad as things are, they may get worse….Those concerned about the damage America’s growing divide is doing to our ideals and our moral character should put student debt at the top of any reform agenda.”
— “Student Debt and the Crushing of the American Dream” (NYT “Opinionator”, 12 May 2013)

This goes to the heart of why we do what we do, and why Michael Saylor started the Saylor Foundation. It doesn’t mean that taking on debt is poison to business success, but increasingly no-debt and low-debt options exist, and they’re looking increasingly attractive. Our hope is that we can provide some of those skills that will allow you to take the resources you do have and put them to the greatest possible use.

If you’re a would-be entrepreneur with some time on your hands, you’ve got all the resources you need to learn Small Business Management and build up some of the confidence to blaze your own path in business.