Homeschool Entrepreneur Ideas & Examples: The College Alternative
After finishing high school, many of us only seriously consider tertiary study (college, university or traineeships) as the pathway to a good, high-paying job. After all, if you have no tertiary education, how can you be skilled? Herein lies a huge assumption – that is, that a person can’t make money – let alone a good amount of money – without a piece of paper with a degree. And this is also why homeschool entrepreneurs are at an advantage to others; that is because they are encouraged to think sideways about how to make money at home. And the opportunities are endless if homeschoolers are willing to put some time into it.
Before we dive in, I’d like to thank one of my readers who asked the following questions as a result of reading my article called, “10 Reasons to Not Go to University or College: Why I Don’t Want My Children Going There“.
I just finished reading your article about not sending children to University, but I’m confused as to what kind of job will they qualify for with no skills, or a degree in a field? There aren’t many high paying jobs without higher education. Even if they wanted to take up a trade, how will they learn if they aren’t taught in high school? Exactly what is out there that will pay them proper wages?
Let’s begin by answering a few questions from this question, namely:
- What kind of job will homeschool graduates qualify for with no skills or a degree in a field?
- Answering the objection that there aren’t many high paying jobs without higher education,
- What is out there that will pay proper wages.
- Even if they wanted to take up a trade, how will they learn if they aren’t taught in high school?
We’ll look at these separately below. Keep in mind that most of the examples I’ve mentioned below are homeschool entrepreneurs I’ve heard of personally who’ve made good money (that is, equal and often exceeding the average income) with no degree. Many have made excellent money which makes me think entrepreneurship is often a vastly superior pathway for homeschool graduates. I’m so convinced of this, this is the pathway I’ll be encouraging my homeschoolers to pursue!
What kind of job will homeschool graduates qualify for with no skills or a degree in a field?
It’s hard to get a job if you have absolutely no skills. However, I’m assuming this question means ‘no skills learned in a textbook or through a degree’. There are so many ways you can make very good money using skills you haven’t learned in a textbook. You may have learned them from your parents, by tinkering with old computers or experimenting so much you’ve finally stumbled on a skill that will make you money. Some examples of homeschool entrepreneurship like this include:
- lawn mowing businesses
- gardening or farming and selling produce
- buying rare animals and breeding them
- buying locked phones and unlocking them
- baking cookies for resale in cafes or restaurants
- buying defective products and fixing them to sell for a profit
- purchasing items overseas that aren’t available locally and making them available locally
- researching popular things in other countries and trialing if they would be popular in your own country and
- starting a niche blog website (yours truly).
There are so many ideas around and if you search the market for a niche, you’ll probably find one. Of course, like anything, a lot of the money is made in niches that people haven’t exploited before. A homeschool is the perfect environment for entrepreneurship as you have plenty of time to trial ideas and see them fail or succeed. On average, one in ten business ideas will succeed, so a homeschool will give you many chances to test ideas.
Below are some homeschool entrepreneur examples I’ve heard of in person.
Homeschool Entrepreneur Examples (What’s out there that will pay proper wages)
While listening to a Kevin Swanson Generations radio broadcast from 2009 (I would love to link it but I can’t find it anywhere – if you know of it, please link it in the comments!), I was astounded to hear a 21-year-old homeschool entrepreneur who worked 90 hours a week who was almost making a 6 figure income out of selling bullion (investment gold or silver in bulk). He was living with his parents and, after a few failed business ventures (including one where he bought an expensive dog to breed and subsequently found it was sterile), he hit upon the bullion business. His ‘long-term’ goals were to be making a six-figure income by age 23 and to have bought a house debt-free. He was well on his way to achieving his goal at 21.
My personal friend, Seamus, had a roaring business in selling reptiles. At age 14, he was able to make a $1,000 selling snakes, geckos and rare reptiles in his business which he creatively named Gollums Gecko’s. (You can see his interview here).
Another personal homeschool entrepreneur friend bought broken motorcycles people were selling cheap and learned how to fix them by spending a long time in the garage tinkering. He sold them for a good profit. This was a business he operated when he was only a young teenager.
One good homeschooler mate of mine fixes old planes for a big prestigious history museum using skills he learned in the backyard. He is paid handsomely for his work.
And just last week I talked to a parent whose 15-year-old son was running a roaringly successful lawnmower business (“plus growing veggies to keep even his neighbors in stock”) while he was living at home.
Of course, we haven’t even touched on the more famous homeschoolers like Richard Lorenzen who started his business in 10th Grade and grew it into a multi-million dollar business, Tim Tebow, the American baseball player, or Thomas Edison who, before his mother homeschooled him, was said to be ‘addled’ by his teacher.
These examples are not people who have just managed to scrape by. Rather, they are examples of people who have done very well out of alternative pathways to traditional tertiary education. One could only wonder how much good money could be made if we encouraged our kids to keep going on these business pathways instead of giving them up for ‘proper jobs’ with degrees that don’t always seem to pay as much as we think they will.
What If We Took Simpler Pathways?
I’ve had personal experience here too and I wish I hadn’t followed the crowd to university. When I was 18-years-old, I was angling to buy my first property as I’d built up enough money and the market was good. However, everyone seemed to be going to university as that was the thing to do. After being talked out of it (after the pest inspection wasn’t overly positive), I decided to go to University. Looking back, I would have made so much more money if I’d stayed with my (one year) nursing trade and bought up property as I could afford it when I was a teenager.
My parents are a good example of this. Without any experience, they bought and sold houses and units and made money off these ventures.
Of course, if you had no skills but started working at Macdonald’s when you were 15, you could also make a very handsome wage either by buying properties or by putting your money into shares to garner compound interest from long term share investments. This is a very simple, but lucrative method that will make you handsome profits with no skills. Learn about how this simple plan works by reading this compound interest article on the Barefoot Investor.
Family businesses are also a great way to acquire skills. You won’t have a degree which shows you have these skills, but you’ll have the expertise that can make you money into the future if you want to start up your own company (or take over your dad’s company). Some examples of family businesses where children have learned from their parents include:
- property development
- pest control businesses and
- running a cafe or restaurant.
Of course, there are a plethora of options and many parents have useful skills they can teach their kids that they haven’t even thought about yet.
Answering the objection that there aren’t many high paying jobs without higher education
The payment of jobs depends more on the effort and time people are willing to put in to make money. For example, if you’re willing to dedicate your life to medicine or law, you will probably make a decent amount of money through your degree. But, if you pursue this pathway, you’ll also find you’re forced to put in 90 hour weeks. In doing so, you learn a lot and acquire many skills.
However, consider spending the same (huge) amount of time developing business and business ideas. You’ll probably make good money as you’ve learned what makes money and what does not through many trial and error ventures. If you can do this when you are young and in a homeschooling environment, you’ve got a fantastic headstart on your peers in school who have to wait until they finish high school and college before they can start their business or career.
Even if they wanted to take up a trade, how will they learn if they aren’t taught in high school?
I’m not suggesting children shouldn’t have a high school education (I propose they do this through home education). High school education is, of course, very important. My objection is with sending so many young adults to college or university for a great many reasons as outlined in the article (i.e. a glut due to oversupply, biased ideology of colleges, delayed earning potentials which hamstring students, exorbitant college fees which put them at an economic disadvantage for many years to come and so on).
I agree that we need basic education to learn how to read, write and do arithmetic if we want to enter a trade. For many, it may not be necessary to do the last two years of high school. Many trade schools only want a Year 10 education which they can get by correspondence education easily enough.
Why Homeschool is the Perfect Environment for an Entrepreneur
Home is a great environment to self-educate yourself about business. It allows you to work on formal education for part of the week while focusing on entrepreneurial pursuits during other parts of the week. Compared to schoolchildren, homeschoolers have much more time where they can work on and perfect ideas that have piqued their interest.
Given most businessmen try and fail at 10 business ideas before they stumble on one that works, home education gives children a great environment where they can try several ideas and not be crippled by failure as an older person with more responsibilities.
Zachary Slayback, author of The End of School: Reclaiming Education from the Classroom, claims there are many similarities between people who homeschool and people who become entrepreneurs. He makes some interesting points saying home educated students are like entrepreneurs because they:
- don’t settle for something that isn’t meeting their needs but try to create new alternatives
- take action to put their ideas into business plans and careers
- are happy to go against the grain
- can change to suit the needs of their customer base or demand pool
- treat it (education or entrepreneurship) as a lifestyle which isn’t over when the school bell rings at the end of the day.
If parents have the vision of entrepreneurship, they can assist their children by letting them follow ideas through and letting the children learn from their mistakes. Home educating parents make great sounding boards for young homeschool entrepreneurs when the’re gentle and (this is really important) don’t dismiss their fledgling ideas. You never know if their ‘not-so-good’ idea will morph into a great idea.
How to Start Being a Homeschool Entrepreneur
How do you begin your entrepreneur journey?
There are many habits you can form that will help you be a successful entrepreneur. Homeschool entrepreneur, Richard Lorenzen, talked about several things he did which helped him form good habits, crucial to his success in business including:
- starting the day early – Richard got up at 4:30 every morning
- build a routine
- dress for the status you hope to achieve- Richard wore a suit every day at home when doing the business
- read, read, read – start self-educating your mind in business ways – this way you’ll go beyond the curriculum and find new ways to do things
Once you’ve read up on the topic thoroughly, give it a go!
Lorenzen said that although he had business mentors and ‘dabbled’ in a year of college education, most of his success came through the habits he learned in his formative homeschool years (outlined above). Indeed, many successful homeschool entrepreneurs partake in mentorship. They seek out and find successful business owners who can be their mentor. This way they’re not in complete darkness about the ideas they have and they’re given tips which will help them with their many trial and error ventures.
For those willing to think outside the box, some of the best opportunities to make money are available online in areas no one has thought to look. Conversely, a lot of money can be made by homeschool entrepreneurs who work hard at simple ventures – perhaps obvious – and spend many hours figuring out the best business plan for their situation. Fortunately, homeschoolers have a great opportunity to read ravenously and self-educate themselves about things that work in business and things that will not. They can also find a mentor (and great supportive parents) to help them in these discoveries. However, the best way to find a successful business is to just begin and start your adventures through trial and error – and homeschoolers have time in spades to do this.