I’m a college dropout with a seven-figure writing business, and in ten years of running a writing agency, our college graduate hiring percentage is dropping every year. Instead, we find that the freelancer often has more skills to offer to our online writing team than candidates with all the college accolades.
These four tips offer a path on how anyone can reinvent themselves and go from passion to profit without unnecessary debt.
Each year, the average college student in the state spends $ 25,615 for two semesters of education. Are you putting that money to good use? I am not convinced.
More important than a college degree is knowing how to develop a real skill set. After all, talent and skills are what will get you a successful job.
To build a strong, profitable, skills-based career, follow these four steps.
1. love what you do
The first step on your path to success is discovering your passion. What motivates you to get up every day?
For you to be truly successful in your career, you have to love what you do and be excited to do it every day. Passion is an incredible motivator. It helps you achieve your goals, achieve a higher level of productivity, and make your work enjoyable.
When you are passionate about your career, you maintain a level of enthusiasm that keeps you striving for excellence, developing new ideas, and solving more problems. Finding your passionate purpose is the key to laying the foundation for a successful career.
2. Learn all you can
Once you have identified your purpose, you must map it to a real skill and become an expert. Take advantage of all the learning opportunities that come your way. By developing your knowledge, you can become a leading authority in your field and differentiate yourself from the competition. People will recognize you as someone of value and trust you as a trusted resource for information.
There are two main ways to learn: the unconventional way and the conventional way. Unconventional learning is accomplished by learning from other experts in your field. The people who have already been in the trenches and discovered the information they need to succeed. These real-life skills teachers are mentors who value relationship building, connect with their followers, and share real guidance that makes a difference.
Conventional learning comes from local universities, community colleges, and libraries that can provide free or low-cost resources for community enrichment. Workshops, courses, and seminars are a great way to learn about your field.
Research instructors and courses in advance. You want to learn from qualified experts with proven success in what they teach.
3. Work in practice
Building a sustainable business takes a lot of work, but it also takes a lot of courage. Creating a career you love involves risk, sacrifice, and a great leap of faith.
You often wake up early and work late into the night. You’re saving every penny you make, leaving the security of an unsatisfying job, and jumping in without a safety net. The good news is that it is a labor of love, and the rewards you will surely get will make all the hard work worth it in the end.
One of the best things you can do to prepare for your career is to gain experience. The more you practice, the more opportunities you have to learn and grow, both from successes and failures. Rather than spending your time and money pursuing a college degree, consider spending those resources to gain more real-life experience.
Take the leap and work to develop your expertise with these tactics:
- Get Involved: Consider offering discounted services for more hands-on opportunities.
- Practice: You don’t need real clients to practice your skills. Create what-if scenarios and develop solutions for those needs.
- Build: record and take advantage of your experience by creating a portfolio to show off your skills. Develop materials to start promoting your services.
- Overcome: dissolve the doubts and fears that may be holding you back. Trust your instincts and take the leap.
It is inevitable that you will get some victories and not make some mistakes along the way. Do not be discouraged. Just keep going. Everything you learn along the way will only make you stronger.
4. Level up to be on top of your game
With a solid foundation built, it’s time for you to continue to grow and charge more for your skills as you hone them. Own your skills and take pride in what you have accomplished.
Do this by accepting your role. Print those business cards, put your name on the door, and make it official on Facebook. Let the world know that you are open for business. Your confidence will encourage people to hire you and help you build your following.
Stand up for yourself by offering advice and sharing guidance on your experience. You have done the work and you know what you are doing. Now position yourself as the expert that you are.
It is common for people to experience imposter syndrome when they feel they have found their success simply by sheer luck and are just pretending to be experts. If you can, try to reframe your thoughts and take a positive approach to any feelings of inadequacy you may have.
Set goals and deadlines to be responsible. Celebrate small victories. Every achievement, no matter how small, is a step towards achieving your ultimate goal.
College is not the only path to success
College can offer many benefits and can be an effective path for some people. But a higher education does not automatically equate to success and it is not the only path to a lucrative career.
From courses to workshops, free or low-cost online educational opportunities are changing the way college education is perceived by students and employers.
Some companies, like Tesla, question the value of a college degree and instead place more emphasis on skills and talent. Whether you decide to pursue a college education or get real-world experience training, the most important thing is to never stop learning.