Updated: Apr 20
In my experience as a teacher, I realize that there are many different types of people in this world.
I feel like through my students. I was able to meet these different types of people.
I had about 75 students each year; out of all these, I had maybe 15 who knew they were going to college.
They were on the path to getting a scholarship or already came to peace with the student loans they would have to pay.
At the same time, they were still not quite sure what they wanted to do and if it would make them successful or not.
Now, what about the other 60 kids in my class……well, yeah, they didn’t see themselves in college, had no desire to go, and felt that because of this teachers and counselors ignored them.
Here’s the thing, in school, every teacher would tell you that you had to go to college to be successful, but what they don’t tell you is that this couldn’t be farther from the truth.
It depends on the field you’re going into, which determines whether college is a choice that leads to a successful life or not.
If you're not going into Corporate America, becoming a Doctor, Lawyer, Teacher, Nurse, or any of those professions, you don’t need a college degree.
You need hard work, and you need a plan.
Most of the kids not going to college were some of the most hard-working, creative people I’ve ever met. Sure they were class clowns and got into trouble, but if you didn't think there was a place for you in the world, wouldn't you?
They just didn’t know all the options out there.
Fortunately, things are so different now, in school, they still push the narrative that you have to have a college degree to do any kind of valuable work, but I learned this is all a myth.
In fact, there are countless successful individuals doing things they didn't get a degree for, they will even tell you, that if they could do it all again they would not have gone.
So if traditional college is not for you, how do you prepare yourself to still be a successful individual?
Market a natural skill you possess, in other words, start a business. And no, you don't need a college degree to run a business, you will need education though, and college is not the only place to get it.
Also, you need a plan.
So let's get you started with these 3 things to think about if traditional college is not right for you at the moment.
Ask Yourself, “What am I good at?”
This question is so cliche, but you need to ask yourself, “What am I good at?”
You could ask your friends, your parents, or your teachers. They may see something in you that you didn’t see in yourself.
Start writing down the things you're good at, no matter how ordinary you think they are.
Write down the crazy ideas you’ve ever had; you could be sitting on a business and don’t even know it.
Another thing to remember, the thing you love to do may not be the thing that’s going to generate income.
No worries, because the thing you’re good at will save the day. Just make sure you don’t confuse the two.
Save the thing you love as a side hustle and focus on what you’re good at to make your money.
Related Stories: 20 Cools Ways to Earn Money from Home
Plan to Act, Then Activate the Plan
Now that you've figured out what you’re good at, make a plan of action by learning as much as possible about that skill.
Where can you go to learn about the skill? Um, YouTube. Find one or two YouTubers who have succeeded in the skill you want to make a legit career. As reach out to people you know that are doing what you want to do.
You would be surprised at how much you can learn from the experience of others.
Remember, you don’t have to go to college to be successful, but you still need to get educated about your business venture.
Watch all of their videos from start to finish, and learn about their journey and the obstacles they faced.
Take notes in your journal of ideas. These are the things that will replace your college courses.
You are a hard worker, have a vision, and watch YouTube most of the time anyway.
Why not make YouTube work for you by using it to take lessons from real people who have done things in your field of interest?
Ok, so you know the good, the bad, the ugly, and everything in between; you can start to activate the plan by making the business legit.
Make it Legit
decided what you’re good at,
researched and learned from someone doing what you want to do and
made a plan of action,
you can move forward and set up your business.
Start with a business name and research if it’s available.
If the name you had your heart set on is taken, don't get discouraged. You are not the only great thinker around. But you are you so pick another cool name you had stored way in your mind.
Next, you need to think about the structure of your business or the type of business you're going to run. Do your research, but most likely it will be an LLC.
Now that you have a name and a business type, register your business.
The requirements you need to register your business depend on your state. If it becomes overwhelming you can go with a registered agent to register your business for you.
These companies will help you register your business according to your state's requirements.
Next, apply for an EIN with the IRS; this is like a social security number for your business. This number tells everyone else that you will be operating a real business.
It will also come in handy if you need funding for your business down the line.
You will also need a D-U-N-S number.
It feels good to have your own business, right?
Now take a minute to bask in it, you're the kid that no one thought was going to make it.
Now you’re a legit business owner. But what if I'm broke, can I still start my business?
Short answer, yes.
What’s this gonna cost me, because I’m Broke?
Great question because everything costs money these days, and people will tell you, “you don’t need money to make money,” but that’s a lie.
So here are your options; you’re most likely to start with an LLC, so to do this properly, you have to follow the guidelines for the state where you live. As I stated before.
One of the things I did that made life so much easier for me was registering my business with a Registered Agent.
You can use a company like Northwest Registered Agent to start your business according to your state’s requirements.
It costs only $39 to get started. That’s not bad when you’re trying to build broke. I personally use this service to start and maintain my business and love it.
Major Take Away
Making the decision not to go to college at the moment or ever, does not make you a failure.
You have so many skills that you can turn into profitable business ventures that will make you enough money to support yourself and your family.
Don't let anyone trap you into thinking you have no place in business or this world because college is not for you.
You have so much to offer, and getting you on the right path to realize that is what I want to help you figure out.
Disclaimer: I am a retired middle school math teacher, and I wrote this with my former students in mind or any young person who was treated less than others because a traditional college setting was not suitable for them.
But by no means am I telling anyone or anyone's child not to attend college.