Ask your parents for $1000 as a graduation present and start a company

2 years ago I used Legalzoom to incorporate an LLC. It’s sounds complicated, and it’s not exactly easy, but you can figure it out. It ended up costing about $1000. That is roughly 0.5% of what my parents spent on my college education.

Now I’m not one of those people who thinks that college is completely useless. What is actually pretty useless are 18 year old, recent high school graduates. What are they gonna do besides go to college? Nobody is giving an 18, 19 or 20 year old any responsibility. And kids that young don’t want to work. They want to party and bartend or fold clothes at the Gap so they have enough spending money to go party. College is definitely going to evolve in the coming years but I don’t agree with those that think it’s a fraudulent institution that needs to be completely deconstructed. Kids grow up at college. They learn how to get shit done, even if it means copying notes from an upperclassmen or paying a classmate to write a paper for you. 4 years of not failing at something is valuable.

But it’s true, you don’t really learn anything of any substance. You can take a finance class and learn a bunch of terms but you have no idea how to apply it to the stock market. You can take a management class and write a paper in a case study, but you have no idea how to run a company.

And I don’t even blame college for that either, really. Plenty of classes I took had “simulations” where you write a business model and a mission statement and generate a fictional balance sheet. That’s called playing pretend. Good job, good effort college, but it’s just not real.

What’s real is actually doing it. In the last 2 years I’ve had an official LLC I’ve learned more than I did in 4 years in college and 11 years in corporate America. The funny thing is, I learned how to actually form a company on youtube. I don’t recall any class even offering practical instruction on how to start a company, hopefully they do in fact offer them nowadays.

Now what I learned is not exactly revolutionary. It hasn’t magically made me into an elite entrepreneur. I’m not the next Mark Zuckerberg instantaneously just because I have an EIN number. And I did already have a separate income stream from what would become my new company. A lot of people fresh out of college won’t have that.

But my point is, get started. Give it a shot. I’ve learned about business expenses and tax law, sat with my accountant and figured out what I can and can’t do. Taxes are anywhere from 20–45% of your income just being lopped off before you can even think about it. So, think about it! Like I said before this isn’t a magical fix. You don’t get to just not pay taxes and it is indeed more complicated and takes more effort than just working a normal cubicle job. But get started.

If you have any entrepreneurial aspirations, start sooner rather than later. I started at 31, made things official at 33 and have made a lot of progress now at 35.

I wish someone told me to get started at 22.

Get started.