Dear Dave: I have student loans in deferment from earning a degree in hospitality management. My career goal is to own a mobile food vending company, so I’m putting most of the money I make from eBay and ride-hailing services — around $1,000 a month — aside in savings for that. Should I forego my business idea for the time being, and knock out the student loan debt instead? — Nicholas
Dear Nicholas: You should put this business idea on hold for now, unless you can start it for less than $1,000. The first thing you need to do is go out, and get a real job. I know you have this dream of being self-employed, but right now you’re not doing so well as an entrepreneur.
With a hospitality degree, you can make $30,000 to $50,000 a year within the industry, clean up your mess, and build out the eBay thing on the side. Just think about how quickly you could save up money for a jump into the food truck or mobile food business, then.
Pay your way through it, Nicholas. Don’t sit around scraping by on the kind of money you’re making now and call that winning. You have a real economic engine at your fingertips, because you have the knowledge from the degree you earned. And it’s a valuable degree. If you go in there and bust it, you can escalate yourself upward through that industry in a hurry.
While you’re doing that, you can clean up all your student loans and save up money for your food truck. Boom — you’re self-employed and you learned a lot of stuff you can use in your new business. Go make some real money, then follow your dream, man. — Dave