With youth unemployment still in the double digits, it’s understandable that students looking for summer jobs might feel discouraged. The lack of opportunities creates interesting challenges for students looking to graduate debt free – or at least with minimal debt. The biggest issue is there’s no quick fix to the problem. All too often you see “get rich quick” schemes advertising “Make $100,000 a day from home”, or, if you fill out online surveys you’ll make more money in a month than your parents make all year. The sad reality is that some legitimate opportunities get clumped under this “scam” title. When I recruit for new College Pro franchisees, I often hear a friend whisper under their breath “Oh it’s that College Pro Painters scam”. The idea of student entrepreneurs was pretty uncommon in the past, although most people currently attending school are now aware of the concept.
I believe when people refer to the College Pro Painters scam what they’re really referring to is that some businesses – including College Pro franchise businesses – fail. They use the term “scam” to refer to the risks associated with being your own boss and running your own business. The unfortunate part of this is that promising student entrepreneurs will end up not pursuing this route and, instead, will be cooped up in an office filing papers for the summer, or, worse yet, remain unemployed.
What I try to do with student entrepreneurs is to explain to them that rather than looking at the “College Pro Painters scam” they should look at the risks they’re already taking in their lives. Many at this point have already taken on a significant amount of debt to go to University or College. Many have left home for school as well, leaving friends and family behind. Most of them took on these risks without much consideration to the number of students who don’t complete their degrees, who are unable to find a job upon graduation, who can’t pay their loans and who are terribly homesick and decide to move back home. In all of these cases, it’s hard to say that someone who took the risk for education was involved in some sort of scam. We can all agree that education is an investment, and sometimes investments don’t work out. But, in the end, no one can take your education from you. It is this way that I try to explain how there is no College Pro Painters scam. Regardless of how your business ultimately does, in spite of how much money you may or may not make over the four months, the amount of experience that you will gain will be far greater than what you may already be risking on a degree.
Many people are starting to realize that the amount we are currently paying for education may make it a bad investment. There are thousands of students on the streets of Quebec currently protesting this very point. In their eyes, they no longer perceive these increases in tuition as increasing the value of their education, or they don’t think they’ll be able to recoup these costs upon graduation. A degree alone is not a differentiator for most, and having “something else” will make the difference. I think if you’re willing to invest in yourself then taking the entrepreneurial way is the best option.
So, in terms of there being a College Pro Painters scam, I would have to say that, in my experience, I wouldn’t call it that. There are scams all around us, and we do need to be vigilant in examining any business opportunity, but this isn’t one of them. We’ll be upfront with you: you’ll be working harder than you’re used to, you’re going to push yourself to places you didn’t think you could, and you’ll be challenged beyond belief, and that’s why it’s worth it. Because, in the end, if you aren’t taking chances on yourself, who’s going to take a chance on you?