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With college costs skyrocketing and post-college job prospects diminishing, many people have asked the question of whether the expense of four years studying subjects like Shakespeare and calculus are worth the investment.
At the age of 19, Aubrey Janik of Plano, Texas, had no second thoughts about what she wanted to do. As she made her plans to drop out of college and put her life savings into starting her own business, her only fear was what her father would say.
“College isn’t the right thing for everybody,” her father, Hank Janik, told her. He says he wasn’t at all surprised when Aubrey told him her plans. “I knew from a very early age that Aubrey was very bright but terrible at book learning.”
From that day, just over two years ago when she told him she wanted to drop out of college and put her time and money into starting a business, Hank has been by her side cheering and advising in the background.
Hank says he’s had no second thoughts that his daughter is doing exactly what she should be doing: “Aubrey has dreamed of running a business from a very young age. She has the persistence to fill out over 25 bank loan applications all by herself, and has the self-confidence to hire a real estate lawyer and successfully negotiate a commercial lease.”
Aubrey says her father advised her that buying a franchise rather than starting from scratch would be less risky and would come with the support of the franchise organization. She agreed but quickly discovered big brand names like McDonald's, Dunkin' Donuts, and 7-Eleven require financial resources of nearly a million dollars. Aubrey’s first task was to find one that she could afford, and one that would be a simple enough operation that she could master it without much experience.
Aubrey used money she’d saved from her high school jobs, some of which she’d invested in the stock market, along with her college savings. She signed on for Wisconsin-based sandwich concept, “Erbert & Gerbert.” The small size of this franchisor, Aubrey says, allows them to give her a lot of attention and support. “I talk to the president of the company and head of marketing on a regular basis, which would never be possible if I’d gone with a large-name concept,” she told MSNBC.
These days, while her friends are still writing lab reports and cramming for exams, she’s doing payroll, tracking her profit and loss, managing her employees' schedules, and double checking deliveries.
She says you don’t need to be a tech genius to drop out of college and go into business. “There are plenty of normal successful people who shouldn’t waste their time in college when they already know what they need to do to get to the next point in their lives.”