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Why is it one or the other? Go to University and run your business. It is called "working your way through school."
Back in my day the hot technology was dBASE. I was a freelance dBASE programmer and was a fulltime student at UCLA. It is definitely fun to be in school and be the envy of everyone else because you always have money and they are always poor and going back to their parents for hand outs.
By the time I graduated I had a real business going and making (after expenses) three times as much as any of my friends' job offers. Never looked back.
You have your whole life to work. University is a once in a lifetime experience. It is not the same experience if you wait until you are 30. Go to school now and get educated, you can still make money.
It does if you are a journalist :)
I would have liked to get a degree, but due to family circumstances I couldn't at that age. Do I regret this? At the time yes, looking back most certainly not. I soon had the equivalent in real world experience.
I'd say go to university only if there is something there you absolutely have to learn. If there isn't then don't - someone who really wants it can have your place. Travel instead. When you date someone read their entire bookshelf. Never be afraid to ask a stupid question. Hang out with people smarter than you.
Too many people 'finish' their education and then their brains seize up, possibly because all the information was stuffed inside it too fast for proper comprehension and they have intellectual indigestion!
If that happens they become 'employee fodder'.
So personally I'd say unless you have a burning desire for a particular vocation requiring a degree, get off the treadmill while you still have your wits about you (and diversify because you can never trust Google).
So even if my websites stop making money, I will still able to get a job..
Also what I learn in college is very helpful for my website coding/design. For example we learnt SQL this semester, I did it pretty well and now I can easily modify/extend the functionality of the cms's out there. I dont have to rely on someone to make a mod or pay someone to do it. I can do it exactly the way I want it to be :)
Also we learn programming languages like C++/C# which are definitely helpful as many languages follow the same conventions.
Also the process of getting a degree helps you in other ways, like learning to handle stress, facing the oral/practical exams, time scheduling, playing multiplayer games over bluetooth with your friends during class :D etc.. Especially in India with so much competition one has to be very good to stand out from the crowd.
I know a number of people who went back to school as adults to finish their degrees. I also have friends who went to college right out of high school and still have low paying jobs in their forties. A degree generally helps get a better job for most people, but it isn't a guarantee of anything, especially if it is not in high demand field.
- I thought I'd miss the social life too much. Going to university can be boring sometimes but with a couple of friends it can be very amusing ;)
- To learn a bit more about economics, accounting, law, ...
- Because most people go to college/university (It's a lame reason I know.. but I got the feeling that I wasn't ready yet to leave school.)
Anyway I believe I will need to work much more for school if I want to pass this year. But it's hard because I know each hour I work for school is one hour less that I can spend on my websites.
Possibly I could make a lot more if I quit university but I don't really feel comfortable yet. I'm earning much more than both my parents together but I fear it could drop back to only <$1000 or $2000 a month after a nasty Google Update or another 'disaster'.
I'm still way to dependant on search engine traffic and that's one of the reasons I'm now trying some PPC campaigns with AdWords to diversify my income. But so far I haven't had any luck with AdWords. I'm also interested in starting a few niche online stores but I fear shipping and warranty issues would ask take away too much of my time.
But going to school as an adult is much less fun. =(
I went to a language school a few years ago and loved it, though it did feel a bit odd when a couple of college-age girls asked if I wanted to go clubbing with them (never mind that I was almost old enough to be their sugar grandaddy). :-)
$200 a day is NOT a decent income.
You aren't in the real world. And, I'm talking about the USA - not China.
What? I don't know about the US, or China but I'm in the UK. $200 a day would equate to about £115 a day (approx). Considering that the cost of living in the UK is about double that of the US, I would be **VERY** happy if I earnt $200 a day. I'd be shouting "I earn $200 a day!" from the rooftops! Ok, maybe not ;), but you get the idea.
Whether £115 per day is "a decent income" is a subjective judgement
With intelligent adjustments, it's a decent income.
Just think on necessary and unnecessary expenses,
where is it possible to spend less for unusefull expenses.
One of my clients which went bancrupt had a big office in the center of Munich. High rent, no parking places, a complete unnecessary expens for the type of business, he was running.
Considering that the cost of living in the UK is about double that of the US
Good grief...tell me where you live and I'll avoid it faster than avian flu...
Without getting into a huge UK v USA argument I do not know of many like-for-like products that I can purchase substantially any cheaper in the USA.
If I could I would do so on my regular business travels.
average income in the UK is just over £400 per week
I find that averages never give the true story. I am often thinking show me a 'average' person who earns the 'average' wage. As the begining of this thread was talking about, averages are completely off the marks as 20% of people earn 80% of the money.
In terms of living expenses you don't need to have a plush London pad to be expensive. Very generally, something that costs say $100 in the US will cost £100 (or more) in the UK. Combine these costs with high general living costs and your hard earned cash doesn't go that far. Consequently any earnings from adsense are effectively halved.
As this thread as proved, different people in different locations have different ideas as to what a 'decent' income is. At the moment adsense is providing me with $20-$30 a day. This is good, as it suplements my income of my normal job. The $200 a day mark I feel is well out of my reach, I am aiming for $50 a day, maybe $75 a day if I am very lucky. Sadly I am in a low paying area so more work is required to get targets. Yes, I could probably set up 2,5 or even 10 sites about another subject, I wouldn't know this subject and thus would just be going over old content with the site turning into an MFA.
I've been with CJ since 2002 and Adsense since 2003. AdSense is very good but I make about as much or a bit more with CJ. CJ was harder work to make pay though.
Very generally, something that costs say $100 in the US will cost £100 (or more) in the UK. Combine these costs with high general living costs and your hard earned cash doesn't go that far.
From just where do some of you people get your generalisations?
I'm sure I'm not the only one around here who has lived and worked in many different countries and still visits them regularly...my UK living expenses equate very favourably with the USA, in fact, ask my sister-in-law in Phoenix and she thinks the UK is much lower in cost!
So few Brits live in London because it is full of tax exiles and...I'd better not continue with this if I don't want another posting deleted...
I applaud you for your initiative - very impressive to already be running a business at your tender age... with your headstart, why not think BIG?
Not to be arrogant, but $200 a day is not what I would consider inspiring, maybe okay to get by on, as a single person, but someday you may have a new family, with a wife and kids you love to pieces, and then you will have aspirations of theirs you will want to support, which might include medical school or on the other hand medical bills.
In most major cities, living expenses dicatate that both spouses work full-time... wouldn't it be nice if you could support your family so that your wife could stay home with the kids or vice versa? And that's just the beginning - what if you want to change the world - nothing wrong with aspirations to make tons of money - lots of great causes out there needing the sponsorship of a smart entrepreneur, such as yourself.
As for university - even if you are rich, it is foolish to miss the opportunity of a lifetime to learn something you can't learn on your own, to make good friends (connections), perhaps even your life partner, and to experience a piece of life that usually only comes around once. Good idea though to give yourself a year or two to establish/diversify/automate your business first so that it can nicely support your university years. Later, you can hire other students to write for you as well: they win - you WIN!
Yes, we signed up to the Kyoto treaty, so the government put up tax on fuel to encourage us not to use our cars. It's a small price to pay to save the planet. However, not everyone in the world agrees with Kyoto, apparently.
Personally, I'd have no problem keeping adsense going if we had to migrate to the moon, because I'm sure they will have good broadband links there by then. I do worry, though, who on earth will be left to click my ads.
On a general note, thank you everyone for your feedback as this decision will influence the rest of my life.