We all know the definition: Entrepreneurship involves the activity of setting up a business or businesses and taking on financial risks in the hope of making a profit. However simple that definition may sound, though, the reality of being a successful entrepreneur involves more frustration, motivation and man hours than just the ‘risks’ and ‘hope’ portrayed by the definition.

Starting a business usually requires skills, blood, sweat, and tears. Skills, more so than formal education, are a vital necessity if you plan on becoming a successful entrepreneur or have your sights set on higher achievements.

The Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) estimates that there are more than 27 million entrepreneurs in operation in the United States alone. Statistically, about 14% of the working-age US populations are starting or running businesses.

Success in entrepreneurship can be attributed to a variety of skills ranging from creative thinking to financial management. Skill-sets are continuing to prove itself more valuable than formal education. Acquiring the skills to successfully starting and running a business are often achieved through trial-and-error and qualifications from The University of Life, rather than from studying formal business and entrepreneurial courses.

In an education system where theoretical knowledge is still making out the greatest part of most curriculums, practical skills and experience are usually graduates’ greatest challenges. It’s usually exactly these two things that are reasoned to be the major factors responsible for the staggering 90% failure rate of startups in the first year of operation.

It’s estimated that between 55% and 65% of successful business owners in the US have college degrees. An Amway report published in 2014, based on interviewing more than 5000 successful entrepreneurs, reported that only about 11% of the respondents received a formal college education.

Although the number of entrepreneurship courses offered by colleges and universities, and with it, the number of students enrolled, are expected to rise dramatically in the future, the above-mentioned statistics are a good indication that a college degree are certainly not the only means of achieving entrepreneurial success.

Traveling as a means of education and acquiring life skills as well as entrepreneurial skills are gaining popularity from a wide variety of audiences and with good reason too. Forbes is only one of the major industry publishers who regularly covers the benefits of traveling as a means of developing entrepreneurial skills. Scientific reports and insights from experts regarding the subject are seeing the light one after the other.

Interviews with some of the world’s youngest and most famous entrepreneurs listed a few of their highest-valued skills and assets acquired through traveling to foreign destinations. Co-incidentally, these skills show a high correlation to the skills listed as being most important for reaching success as an entrepreneur.

A short list summarizes the basic skills listed as both being important for entrepreneurial success as well as recognized and researched benefits from traveling to foreign destinations:

  • Adaptability,
  • Communication skills,
  • Creativity,
  • Time management,
  • Financial management,
  • Working with limited resources,
  • Problem-solving,
  • Networking skills,
  • Working with constraints,
  • Leadership,
  • Teamwork, and
  • Interpersonal skills

These are just some of the most mentioned life skills that famous entrepreneurs claim to have gained through traveling to foreign destinations. The practical nature of these skills suggests that even if a student received a formal theoretical education that covered the above skills, they would benefit from practical experience in these areas too.

The wider implication of recognizing traveling as a means of entrepreneurial education: each time you travel to a new or unknown destination, you actually improves your chances of succeeding in the industry.

Are you serious about being successful as an entrepreneur? Next time you experience the urge of taking a break, instead of opting for the usual Las Vegas hotels and other popular holiday destinations, opt for a foreign destination instead. Traveling as a means of education seems to be a promising supplement or alternative to acquiring a formal entrepreneurial education.

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Stephen Marshall is a Press Release Director of LMG Solutions with extensive experience in marketing and financial services. What Marshall enjoys most about his role at Allen is helping organizations implement initiatives that have a real impact on the business. Follow him @stephenmarshal on Twitter.

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