Aimee Elizabeth was kicked out of her home at 15 years old. Luckily, she was born an entrepreneur, babysitting at age 8, starting a lawn mowing business at 9, tutoring at 12 and landing her first real job at 14 at the local library, shelving books. So, when she was forced out by her mother, she used her savings to get her first apartment, lying about her age in order to get her own place.
While finishing high school, she supported herself by starting a cleaning business, helping disabled ladies in the neighborhood with chores they couldn’t handle and taking on a newspaper route. When it came time for college, she could only handle two semesters because, as Aimee says, “it was both a waste of my time and money.”
She explains that she realized she could never earn what she felt she was worth by working for others, so at age 20, she started her first successful startup business, which she kept for 9 years. She started up 3 more businesses, and retired at age 38 after selling them off. Now, she works a total of 12 hours per week, explaining, “I like to say that I’m a very lazy person, which is why I had to work so hard in the beginning so that I could do very little later on. That’s the beauty of residual income.”
To sum it up, she is now a retired business owner, multi-millionaire, successful real estate investor, guest speaker, business consultant and best-selling author of “Poverty Sucks! How to Become a Self-Made Millionaire.” She also does work to promote StreetTeens.org, a Nevada charity for homeless teens. “This is a charity near and dear to my heart, as I was once a homeless teen myself.
What does she have to say about college?
“I believe college teaches you how to be an employee, not an entrepreneur. I have many friends and acquaintances who are doctors and lawyers – careers which require college educations – and they look at me and all say the same thing: ‘I should have done what you did.’ They are now saddled with student loans, they worked round the clock while young and never got to enjoy their youth. And they are still struggling today with retirement nowhere in sight,” said Aimee.
She also points out that job security just doesn’t exist because it’s hard to find company loyalty to employees anymore. “Entrepreneurship is the only job security today,” said Aimee. Everyone needs a service so service will always be a viable business. I can’t tell you how surprised I was by how easy it can be in a life without college. You get a head start on starting your business because you’re not stuck in class taking unrelated liberal arts classes for years.”
As for the skills you don’t know or at least you don’t know well, she said, “That’s what Google, Amazon and Barnes & Noble are for. And, once you grow your business, you’ll have the funds to sub-out work you dislike or aren’t strong handling.”
She acknowledges at least one downside to quitting college, saying “I missed out on the lifelong friendships that come out of the college experience.”
And, she offers this checklist for aspiring women entrepreneurs who are considering college loans versus quitting to launch their businesses.
“You have to have the following qualities, I believe, to not go to college and still be a successful business owner: frugal, ornery, unshakably confident, big thinker (not necessarily stuck on the details), planner of the worse and hopeful of the best and extremely organized.”
Aimee also says that many of her successful peers have also experienced extreme poverty and work hard to never experience that again. It drives her to succeed, and in her mind, Aimee said, “In my heart, I’m always that 15 year old, broke little girl.”