If you Google “do I need a college degree?” there’s still a decently-large consensus in public opinion that it’s probably the best option. Sure, most articles mention that degree-holders don’t always get better jobs or get paid more, but my viewpoint is that you’ll earn much more, and get much better jobs if you don’t go to college and follow the right steps, than if you do go to college and follow the traditional path.
At the end of the day, a college degree is a way for you to tell people: I was able to follow the rules for four or more years and not quit. That’s good information for a corporate employer or HR person that’s looking for people that can follow orders and won’t quit when they realize they don’t like what they’re doing.
If you want comfort, stability, and you’re okay with following someone else’s plan for the rest of your life, then college is an amazing opportunity. However, if you want to live your own life, then this is the post for you.
So, here are five practical things I did, that will hopefully inspire you and give you ideas to blaze your own trail.
1. Write articles
If you’ve never done content marketing, PR, or just written articles before, this may seem like a daunting task. After all, writing publicly-facing articles is very different from the kind of writing typically taught in schools.
The best way to learn how to write engaging articles is by first reading tons of them. If you’re into business and tech, you can get started with over 80 features I’ve written, that you can find on my profile.
2. Create “authority” posts on social media
Social media is a way for you to communicate your message to people outside your immediate social circle. By putting out valuable, engaging content, you can easily grow to thousands and even tens of thousands of followers on professional networking sites like LinkedIn. As of writing, I have over 20,000 followers on LinkedIn that I can share my voice with as easily as clicking “post.”
These connections, and the associated 2nd-degree and 3rd-degree connections, will help you land new business opportunities.
3. Speak at “authority” events
Public speaking is perhaps the fastest and easiest way to build authority, because most people have such a fear of public speaking that they immediately see those on stage as being in an “authority” position. By simply stepping outside your comfort zone, learning about a topic, crafting an interesting presentation, and talking about it on stage, you can grab this authority.
4. Work on your own projects
You can easily see whether or not someone’s passionate about what they do, and everyone wants to work with someone who’s passionate.
By working on a side-project that you care about, and sharing your learnings with your network, other people will be drawn to that passion.
5. Give free value
Nowadays, it seems like everyone is trying to sell you something. Whether it’s someone approaching you on the street holding a pamphlet, a cold call, a random new message in your inbox, or a cold LinkedIn message. By giving free value to people, you’ll stand out from the masses who are trying to make quick wins and easy sells. Instead, you’ll build lasting, long-term relationships.
This is due to the power of reciprocity – if you help someone for free, they’ll feel a natural inclination to help you back.