Once you're in the "real world" with an income etc. You have more options as to how you approach things.
For example I happen to work inside of a old media industry that my company is going to bring into this century. I have access a support network, industry contacts and advice from people who will be my future users and supporters.
I can't express enough how valuable it can be to sit down and speak with people who have been working in the field for 20, 30 or 40 years over a cup of coffee. it gives you a different perspective and it helps to get paid while getting the experience that will be helpful in growing your business.
Everyone has a different path to get to where they want to be I think the most important thing is that you commit yourself to the journey.