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10 Things You Should Know Before Graduation

10 Things You Should Know Before Graduation

If you know these things before you graduate:

  • You may either decide not to graduate at all
  • Or you may graduate making more money than you thought you would by age 40.

1. You Will Likely Need To Unlearn A Lot Of Your Schooling

“The current (educational) structure, which seeks low-cost uniformity that meets minimum standards, is killing our economy, our culture, and us.”―Seth Godin

In the late 1800’s, schools were designed and intended to teach obedience. During the rise of our industrial age, big corporations needed workers for their factories.

The purpose of the academic system was the creation of obedient and compliant workers who never asked meaningful questions. The system was not created to produce scholars and thinkers for tomorrow. There were already tons of scholars at the time.

No. The big businesses needed laborers who would submissively do whatever they needed.

Thus, the creation of the standardized test. Our academic system itself becomes a factory to standardize all of the rising students to ensure they fit the desired mold. If the student failed the tests, they would be held back another year to try again.

Thus, the most frequently asked question in school: Will this be on the test?

Despite the fact that our world has dramatically changed since the late 1800’s, our school systems are structured the same way.

Despite the fact that we can all connect on the internet, there are 10,000 teachers giving the same lecture on a given day across the country. There’s something disturbingly wrong about this. Why don’t they all connect to the same lecture online performed by the best teacher on the subject?

The internet has changed the world. If you want to learn something, you don’t need to get an encyclopedia anymore. You can go to Wikipedia, or Youtube, or a million other places online. There are tons of programs that teach people how to learn things effectively at optimal speeds.

Not only does our model of education not make sense, but the structure of business has changed since the 1800’s as well.

The world is moving to an entrepreneurial and innovation driven economy. It is projected that by 2020, over one billion people will be working from their homes. In the future of work, less people will work for one company as generalists and instead will work for multiple companies as specialists.

The world doesn’t need obedient and compliant factory workers anymore. The world needs artists, creatives, hackers, and innovators. The world needs more emotion and relevance. We desire deeper connection. We’re done with apathetically living out our lives in school and at our 9-5 jobs. We’re sick of it. We’re done with it.

And the best part—the new economy wants it as well.

2. College Degrees Are Becoming Increasingly Irrelevant

“Five years from now, on the Web —for free—you’ll be able to find the best lectures in the world. It will be better than any single university.”Bill Gates (in 2010)

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Far too many kids go to college because they don’t want to let their parents down. The parents have the 9-5 worldview and have perpetuated it to their children. The parents don’t realize the stark changes in the world and future of work. The parents don’t realize they are doing their children a huge disservice.

Whatever it is you want to learn, just know that college isn’t the only option. There are loads of online courses available—many for free.

The goal should be learning, not names on pieces of paper. If college is where you’re going to get the right education you need, then go there. If you can get it better, faster, and cheaper somewhere else, think twice.

The market doesn’t care if you have a degree or not. The market just wants your best work.

3. You Should Know If College Will Get You Where You Want To Go

“Cat: Where are you going? Alice: Which way should I go? Cat: That depends on where you are going. Alice: I don’t know. Cat: Then it doesn’t matter which way you go.”―Lewis Carroll

And that’s the problem. So many people have no clue where their ideal destination in life is.

Do you know where you want to go?

Success is an intrinsic concept. It should be self-generated and not based on societal or cultural norms. You decide what you want in life, what makes you happy, and go for that.

In today’s world, college is probably not the most effective way to get where you want to go. All of the tools are in place to start doing what you want to do now. You just need to know what you want to do and have the courage to start.

With that said, college is absolutely the right place to be for many people. And the people that know this generally flourish while they are there. They are purposeful and focused. They are moving toward their ideal destination in life. College is the correct means for their desired ends.

You must ask yourself as Peter Thiel does—“How can you achieve your 10 year plan in the next 6 months?”

There is always a better and faster path to your ideal than the one you’re taking. If you realize college isn’t for you, don’t stay in just because you’ve already put a lot of time and resources into it.

Psychologists have a term called sunk cost fallacy, which explains that people often make horrible decisions because they’ve already invested into a certain choice. Walk away. The further you continue the wrong direction, the longer it will take you to get back on your ideal path.

4. You Are Your Only Competition

“When everybody zigs, zag”—Marty Neumeier

If art, passion, authenticity, and innovation are the needed ingredients of the future, than you need to step away from comparing and competing with other people.

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Innovators stop competing and delve into uncharted territory. You are an innovator. You simply need to tap into your own unique identity, and dive into what makes you happy. You can create art and do work that no one else can do. You see the world in your own unique way—now show us that world.

Don’t get caught living other people’s dreams. Don’t lose yourself in the propaganda and agenda of society. Be you and everyone will be the benefactor—not the least of which is you.

Never forget these words from Oscar Wilde—“Everything popular is wrong.” Don’t follow the masses. It’s a long slow slog that won’t get you very far.

5. The Choices You Make Now Will Impact The Rest Of Your Life

“’…Your twenties: the decade of decision.’ Amen.”—David Archuleta

Your twenties are your decade of decision. These years in large measure dictate the rest of your life.

Who do you want to be?

What kind of work do you want to do?

What kind of lifestyle do you want to have?

What kind of people do you want to spend time with?

When life gets more complicated, and you have more responsibilities, you won’t have the same flexibility you have now. It will be harder to adjust your path. Right now, you can go whichever direction you want.

6. You Shouldn’t Wait Until After College To Do All You Want To Do

“Professor Harold Hill: You pile up enough tomorrows, and you’ll find you are left with nothing but a lot of empty yesterdays. I don’t know about you, but I’d like to make today worth remembering.”―Meredith Willson

In his book, The 4-Hour Workweek, Tim Ferriss teaches what he terms, the deferred-life plan. The essence of this idea is waiting to live. It is best expressed in the concept of retirement. So many people defer the life of their dreams until retirement. They defer happiness. They consciously live a life they despise.

You don’t have to do this.

You don’t need permission to start living your dreams. You don’t need a college degree to give you permission either. You are the gatekeeper to living your own life to the fullest.

Gary Vaynerchuck has said that in your 20’s and 30’s, you should be taking huge risks in your career. Maybe, when you hit age 40, you should start getting more conservative. At that point, you will likely have more responsibilities and need to think differently.

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But right now, while you’re in college, there is zero risk. Not only is there no risk, but you have tons of time! College does not require 40 hours per week. Chances are, you have 20-30 hours per week you could put into your dreams if you want.

Actually, college is the best time to become an entrepreneur. If you play your cards right, you could become successful enough that you can quit school. Or, by the time you graduate, you could be earning more money doing your own thing than you could have at an entry level job.

It doesn’t take that much time to build a lucrative online business anymore. If you put a solid year or two in, you could be wildly successful doing exactly what you want.

7. There Are Two Worlds Of Work

Dan Sullivan of Strategic coach has explained this far more beautifully than I ever could. For this reason, I will provide a long quote of his.

“At the turn of the last century, factories revolutionized the way goods were produced and delivered to the public. With factory work came a different attitude toward workers. They were parts in a machine and could be replaced. While they were working, it was necessary to ensure that things ran as uniformly and predictably as possible. Every day’s work was the same, and compensation was given in exchange for the length of time worked. Working long hours was a sign of loyalty. In sum, theirs was a bureaucratic time system. I call it “The Time-and-Effort Economy.”

Today, bureaucratic systems are breaking down. Advances in technology have radically shifted our thinking, emphasizing the limitless creative potential of the individual. Entrepreneurs are on the leading edge of this trend, stepping free from old structures to innovate and create value with greater speed and adaptability than lumbering institutions, which are focused on perpetuating themselves rather than serving their markets. Entrepreneurs live in what I call “The Results Economy.”

They get paid only for the results they produce, based on the value these results create for their clients and customers. Theirs is an entrepreneurial time system. Why, then, do so many entrepreneurs still operate as if it mattered how long or how hard they work? An unhealthy notion of virtue has become attached to burnout, regardless of whether the long hours have produced any results. This thinking completely misses the point of being an entrepreneur, which is freedom. One world of work is the industrial factory model that the academic system funnels people into. Be incredibly weary of this world of work. You will lose your soul. This is the 9-5 model. You will spend your time doing someone else’s agenda. You will be the slave to your boss. You will not have a lot of freedom or flexibility in your schedule.”

Which world of work will you choose? The Time-and-Effort Economy or The Results Economy?

8. You Might Be Pursuing A Shadow Dream—Which Would Be Bad

“We tend to pursue “shadow careers” – jobs that are similar to our dreams, but not quite our dreams.”—Ben Arment

People do this all the time. They dream of being a novelist but instead become an English professor. They dream of owning a gym but instead become a gym teacher. They dream of becoming a race car driver but instead become a mechanic.

“Shadow dreams” reflect your dream but are a far less risky version. This reflects a lack of belief that you can do it. That you can really make it doing what you love.

I believe the mass population is pursuing shadow dreams. They say they’re doing what they love. But they really don’t. They wish they were doing something different. They’ve settled for far less than they could’ve had.

Don’t settle for a shadow dream.

9. You’re Probably Thinking Too Small For Yourself

“Those who believe they can move mountains, do. Those who believe they can’t, cannot. Belief triggers the power to do.”―David J. Schwartz

You’ve probably had your dreams beaten into submission. You’ve been told to be realistic. To fit-in. This is all horrible advice.

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As Napoleon Hill has said—“Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve.”

It really comes down to being creative and imaginative, then believing you can actually do it. If you don’t believe it, it won’t happen. But if you can think it and believe it, you can do it. No matter how big. No matter how unrealistic.

The world needs bigger thinking. Tim Ferriss recently interviewed Peter Diamandis and both agreed that most startups are only providing incremental improvement to what already exists. The world needs more exponential improvements. The world needs people to pursue “moonshot” goals. Go big and be bold.

If abundance is where we’re going, bold is the pathway. The world progresses because of big thinkers who are bold enough to try. Be one of those big thinkers. You’re in college. There’s no risk. Change the world.

There has never been a time like this in the history of the world. A large majority of the world’s most successful people are in their 20’s and 30’s. We live in a time when you can create something that quickly becomes a billion dollar company.

“Want to become a billionaire? Then help a billion people. The world’s biggest problems are the world’s biggest business opportunities.”—Peter Diamandis

10. Freedom And Security Are Not The Same Thing

“He who sacrifices freedom for security deserves neither.”—Benjamin Franklin

The desire for security is rooted in the emotion of fear. People who are seeking security perceive a scarcity of jobs and resources. Consequently, they want to put themselves in the safest position—devoid of as much risk as possible.

Unfortunately, this mindset often leads people into jobs they hate but will never quit (“golden handcuffs”).

It has been said that, “freedom is the heavy cost of security.” People would rather feel safe and secure than free. They have become a slave to their jobs and they lack the courage to take the leap. The risks are perceived as too great to live the life of their dreams.

This whole notion of security is completely misconstrued. There can be no security in external things—only slavery and dependence. The only true form of security a person can have is internal. If they are secure in themselves, than they are free. Otherwise, they are slaves.

Conclusion

Right now is the best time in the world to be a student or recent graduate. Our global economy yields infinite opportunities to create a life of freedom doing what you love. There are little to no risks at this time in your life.

Crush it.

Featured photo credit: Girl Reading Magazine In Hotel Bed/ Ed Gregory via stokpic.com

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Last Updated on June 1, 2020

How to Start an Online Business That Will Grow and Succeed

How to Start an Online Business That Will Grow and Succeed

There are thousands of free guides available online on how to start an online business. However, the most valuable lesson they never discuss is that starting a new business online is probably going to fail.

Successful professionals that excel at some point with a venture never gave up, had a passion for creating a meaningful service or product idea, and never stopped trying.

Starting a business is a great opportunity for anyone with a passion to work on something you never get tired of. If people like coming to you for advice or to help them with work-related tasks, then you have the necessary skills and experience to start a business.

In addition, if you have a curiosity about services and products, maybe you have the capacity and capabilities to create something more innovative.

In the next section, we will comprehensively examine the core elements in starting a business. They will not necessarily catapult you to create Google, Facebook, or Apple, but they will guide you on how to start an online business.

1. Remember That the Likelihood of Your Business Failing Is High

Building a product or service is a process that takes a lot of time, so do not think that successful CEOs did it with the snap of their fingers.

According to the Small Business Association (SBA), only 30 percent of businesses will fail in the first two years and 50 percent will probably stay open in the first five years.[1] It is something to think about when launching your online business.

However, this does not mean you should be discouraged, and it’s actually a valuable lesson to fail since it will give you clues on what to do right the next time.

2. Focus on Your Audience and Targeted Niche Market

One of the most difficult things is figuring out who your customers are and tailoring your product or service for them. Depending on your available resources and the size of your network, the scale of your venture will be contingent on this. Knowing your targeted niche is important in knowing how to start an online business.

If you are launching a business, will you go the retail route or create an online store? Will your service satisfy the needs of a startup, small business, enterprise, or corporation? There is no right or wrong answer.

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Think about your audience and what the size of your customer base will be. Without knowing your customers, you cannot start a business.

3. Conduct a Lot of Research and Examine the Segment of Your Potential Market

Depending on the sort of business, you will have to do hours of research and ask a lot of questions. It helps a lot to look at specific companies or businesses to get an idea of how they started.

This may be a daunting task for some, and there are other avenues to explore to assist you with building a business. The web has tons of resources and you can check out Fundera’s list of 50 tools to help grow your business.[2]

In addition, you must tap into a reliable business networking list of people to guide you on how to start an online business.

4. Tap Into the Reach of Social Media and Expand Your Message

Gone are the days of paying expensive advertising budgets. Thanks to social channels like Twitter, YouTube, and Facebook, businesses can advertise for free. On the other hand, you can spend and create marketing campaigns on those different platforms.

Figure out which one is best suited to your needs and where that audience is active. When your online business has figured out where its message has the most impact and when your customers are responding to your message, then you know you are in the right place.

5. Network With Influencers and Brand Your Company on an Optimized Blog

Depending on the size of the organization and the number of employees, you may need to consider networking in the initial phases. If you want to know how to start an online business, then you should also learn how to network with influencers.

Social media is a valuable tool, and you can reach out to brand influencers depending on the line of products or services you wish to promote. Gone are the days of just putting an advertisement campaign and expecting a big return. Instead, you now have to create partnerships and blog about your branded efforts.

Make sure you have an optimized blog with search engine optimization (SEO) tools built-in, so you can focus on attracting customers and followers.

6. Create a Monetization Plan Tailored to Your Products and Services

Whether you are a startup, small business, enterprise, or a large company, you have to be strategic with your company efforts. Do you have an omni-channel strategy in place to attract clients and potential business?

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In other words, you must have the integration with your site and selected social media channels to generate revenue from products or services.

Believe it or not, not having a clear investment plan on how you will generate business is one factor often overlooked by starting businesses. The technology is there and depending on your institutional resources, you will have to look at a couple of vendors to see which one gets you the best value for your company.

7. Monitor Your Progress and Schedule Meetings Weekly

When your business is live online, you need to monitor progress. You must look at your data, key performance indicators (KPIs), and financials to see how your company is progressing over time.

This is a very different mindset when you are in a large company, but an average-sized online business has to do housekeeping procedures. The products or services advertised online are just one part of the equation.

Are you attracting customers? Are your interactions with clients translating to transactions or conversion?

These questions can only be answered by looking at your data and financial statements. When you can compare both, you will have an excellent understanding of the current state of affairs.

8. Once You Have Refined Your Online Product or Service, Officially Launch Your Business

Once you have more or less found the online product or service to serve customers, you are ready for prime time.

As long as your monetization plan lines up carefully with your investment, you can go live with your business. This can be in the form of an official announcement via your site, hosting a live event, or reaching out to media outlets to plug your company launch.

There is no right or wrong way to go about his process. But make sure that the state of the company propels you to launch the online service or product.

9. Once Your Business is Growing, Retain Customers and Attract New Ones

Having customers at the beginning is crucial for an online business. In fact, it is important for any business period.

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For the customers who have decided to adopt or buy your service, make sure you are delivering above and beyond customer service. They will not only continue to buy services, but they will also likely recommend your service to others. So, go the extra mile to thank them for their business.

If possible, develop perks programs and giveaways since customers enjoy the red carpet and celebrity treatment.

10. Use Social Media Networks Ethically and Steer Away From Shady Business Practices

It is tempting to use several social media platforms and buy fake followers. The problem is if the business is a lot bigger than it seems, it will come back to haunt you.

There is nothing more embarrassing or outright unprofessional than having thousands of followers who never interact with the posts you share. Unfortunately, social media has lost credibility when it comes to building fake followers and fake news. So, do not fall in the trap of trying to grow your brand artificially.

Aim for organic followers. This means having real customers following you and engaging your brand in authentic ways.

11. Continue Tracking the Results of the Business

Meetings are essential to tracking the state of affairs and the state of your staff. These meetings should also include tracking the performance as a result of your online business (product or service).

Are the results positive? Are they negative? Are they producing productive results?

Analytics is vital to understanding how the business is performing, so make sure you can get a snapshot of where you are at. Successful businesses cover their tracks and that includes looking at the bottom line performance of their product or service.

12. Utilize Search Engines to Attract Targeted Customers to Your Site

There are advertising systems and price tiers for the different social networks, but search engines like Google and Bing are still important.

Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising is offered in tiers through the Google search engine and Microsoft’s search engine Bing. This remains one of the simplest and most effective ways to generate traffic to a brand new site.

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As reported by Entrepreneur, the PPC offers two advantages. One advantage is that PPC ads show up on the search pages right away. The second one is it allows you as a business to test different keywords including headlines, prices, and selling approaches.[3]

13. Provide Expert Advice and Testimony Through Different Mediums

It can be challenging to get brand visibility when you are a brand business. However, if you have some significant knowledge and expertise in your company product or service, you should offer insight. This means you can publish a blog post with powerful visuals, an infographic, a webinar, a YouTube video, etc.

The idea is to plug your service but make it an interesting testimony that tells a story. It is not enough to tell the story of your product, but you have to connect with popular culture if possible.

Be creative and take risks because that may be the difference between success and failure.

14. An Online Business Cannot Succeed Without Effective Email Marketing Strategies

When you are compiling customer data, one of the most valuable pieces of information is a phone number and particularly an email address.

With an email, you can build an opt-in list. This list allows you to create newsletters or announcements to be sent to their inbox for exclusive offers.

You can set up a provider or a third party to analyze customer interactions with your email offers. What it will provide your business is cost opportunity and it is cheaper than print, TV, or radio.

Final Thoughts

After you have found your calling in building a product or service, start putting the building stones to create your service and product. It needs to solve a problem that no other business offers. If you are about solving problems, an online business is a right venture for you.

Launching an online business is a complicated undertaking, so do not expect instant results. Building a successful online business takes time, investing money, and developing a service that makes a profit.

Finally, make sure you have the available resources and a reliable team that will accompany you throughout your journey. They need to be loyal and have to bring something unique to your big idea.

Take risks and fail early because these experiences are the foundations for launching a successful company.

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Featured photo credit: Olu Eletu via unsplash.com

Reference

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