Article 17 of 52
I’ve notoriously pissed people off when it comes to my thoughts and philosophies about college. For the most part, I believe most of us don’t need college; instead what we need is actual experience. Experience can come in many different forms: trade apprenticeships, internships, or my personal favorite — going out and directly failing in business and using that experience to grow and doing it again until you’re successful.
Our mom and pop’s economy is gone. We no longer graduate from school making a competitive salary with a company we’re going to spend the next 30 years working for. It just doesn’t work like this anymore. Why? Simple economics!
If you’re currently a college student, you have a prime opportunity this summer to really create some traction for yourself before you graduate. If you’ve just graduated, even better, you have your whole life in front of you to keep creating opportunities that make sense for YOU. Odds are, if you just graduated, you’re probably stressing out about finding a job because your parents just dropped $50,000 into your communication degree! Not the best predicament to be in at a time when you’re supposed to finding yourself and your true passions.
Let me give you some ideas and advice you probably haven’t heard as a student. This will most likely upset a few people, and that’s okay. I’m here to give you the EXACT roadmap I would follow if I were in your shoes as a young and ambitious student.
Find A Company That Will Let You Work For Free
I hate when companies tell me, “We will just find free help from interns.” It doesn’t work like that, and more so, I think companies that have this kind of mentality are probably morally flawed. When you actively look for free or cheap help, this never works. As I’ve discussed in previous posts, this kind of thinking is a poor mindset.
But what if we flipped this around to the actual person needing an opportunity? What if you found a quality company that might not be hiring or have “said position” available and offered to spend an entire summer with them working for free. Yes, I said it, FREE.
Here’s my reasoning: I’m an asshole with my time. So much so, I have a specific post about how you SHOULDN’T give away your time for free. When you’re young, fresh out of school, you have to have a “earn my stripes” mentality. Find a killer company and offer to help them with no strings attached. If you actually get an opportunity with this company, they should value what you’re trying to do for them. In return, they’ll most likely offer you something, whether it be money, a potential ACTUAL opportunity or experience. Win-win!
Working for free sucks, I know. The point here is to build connections and do everything you can to create opportunity. Understand, this is only temporary. The best thing I ever did while I was in school (which I never completed), was work as a free intern. I busted my hump as free intern at multiple places in a six-month time frame until I found a company that gave me a shot. Though trading hard work for no money wasn’t exactly the most magical time in my life, I gained valuable experience. To this day I still have connections in my network from those internships.
If you don't want to take my word for how important this time is for new college grads, well then, maybe you will take Gary Vaynerchk's - The video below is great.
It’s All About Meeting People & Your Skillset Doesn't Really Matter
You know the old saying, “It’s not about what you know, it’s about who you know?” Well, that’s 100% true. If you’re in college, you’d be wise to use the summer as a chance to meet top performing people in your industry. Start building connections NOW.
I was young and dumb, but luckily I always kept a strong connection base. This was mostly in part thanks to LinkedIn, but none of it was intentional. If I met you, I connected with you via LinkedIn and actually kept in contact. Years later, this has paid dividends for my business.
This summer, go out there and truly network with professionals who are currently smarter than you are. Surround yourself with professional winners.
You might hate to hear this, but great companies don’t rank “skillset” early on very high. They hire for the person, as opposed to their skills. You can teach skill, but you can’t teach integrity. But to even get to that phase, you have to know the right people. Your skillset, unless it involves a very niche industry, doesn’t actually matter. It’s all about who you know.
Here are some things you should do to build your network over the next 90 days:
Attend a few entrepreneur meetups. Start meeting people everywhere you go.
Have a simple website about YOU. Focus on personal brand.
Reachout to 10 different CEOs/business owners and see if you can come in and see what they do for a few hours. One will say yes, guaranteed, especially if it’s a small business. Network!
Start reaching out to people on LinkedIn and offer to buy them coffee. Have coffee with two new people a month.
Here’s a kickass app I’ve met other great entrepreneurs and business owners on:
If You Want To Own A Business Someday, START TODAY!
I hear many young college students who have dreams of owning their own business. Great, I love it and believe starting a business can be the GREATEST investment you ever make. The problem is that most people falsely believe they have to have the right amount of experience before they start a business. This couldn’t be further from the truth.
Let’s be perfectly clear here: You don’t need a college degree to be a great business owner. You don’t need prior job experience. The last thing you need is debt and lost time. If you believe the only path to entrepreneurship is school and job experience, you’re dead wrong. What you really need is REAL BUSINESS EXPERIENCE, and the only way to truly get that is by starting your OWN business.
I’m lucky. I dropped out of school with only $5,000 of student loan debt, which is now paid off. I couldn’t imagine how crippling having $50,000+ of student debt would be!
If you really want to BE BOLD with your career, I’d take out student loans and use that money to start a business. Plain and simple. Use that as your initial capital and understand it’s a long-term loan that you will have decades to pay back at rather low interest rates compared to other loans. You’ve never heard that advice anywhere else, but when you think of it, this makes a TON of sense.
If you want to start a business, don’t let school hold you up. Start today and get the actual real world experience you need. Business can’t be taught in a classroom!
Join The Community Your Teachers Warn You About
I know, cheesiest subhead you’ve read in awhile, right? But if you’re a college student, or a new graduate, the best investment you can make is in yourself. If you’re serious about growth, then I highly encourage you to join our 100% Earned community today.
This community is made up of people who are 100% self-sustaining or on the road to being 100% self made. It’s a very engaged group of entrepreneurs, investors, business owners and top performers.
I send ONE email out a month that has exclusive content about sales, investing, productivity and entrepreneurship. I don’t believe in bullshit content, and frankly, neither should you. That’s why I do my best to deliver 100% actionable content for our 100% Earned Community.