In today's episode, we're going to talk about the million-dollar question: What can you do instead of going to college?
We'll be exploring the 5 pathways that you can take instead of going to college. We'll discuss different paths such as earning a license/certification, apprenticeships, building a business, and more!
By the end of the episode, you'll have a deep understanding of different alternatives to college so that you can reach your career goals without taking student debt and studying for years.
Enjoy the episode!
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Aloha, folks. And welcome back to Degree Free, where we teach you how to get the work you want without a college degree. We are your hosts, Ryan and Hannah Maruyama. It is great to have you back.
Welcome back. Welcome back, as always to the podcast. We are stoked to have you with us today and very excited about the topic we have today too.
We are very excited about this topic. This is what we've been working on. And this is going to sum up the whole Degree Free method and answer a bunch of questions of what can you do instead of go to college or you're stuck in your career and you don't know what to do, here are all the things that you can do. We teased this a little bit in the episode a couple of weeks ago. We've been working on this for months, but I wanted to make a specific episode about the five degree free pathways.
The reason that Ryan and I came up with this framework was because we were consistently, constantly asked the question or some variation of this question, what can I do? People asked us this who already had college degrees and didn't want to go back and buy more additional paper. There were people who have not gone to college or degree free, and they just don't know what to do other than what they're currently doing. And they don't know how to even figure out what additional options they might have. And there's so many that it's paralytic at this point. And then there's also people that would say, hey, I am looking for what to do, how to help my child, how to help my 16 year old, my 17 year old, what can I do with them? How can I help them down this road? And there are no resources for parents, and that's very intentional because we want parents to take out loans to pay for paper. But basically what we've done is we have encapsulated the five. And this is all of your options. These are the five pathways you can take to become educated, to become skilled, to learn something that you need to know in order to get the work you want. Be that working in your own business. Be that working in a trade be that working in a white collar job, a tech job, it doesn't matter. We have taken this nebulous concept of, well, you can do whatever you want. If you don't go to college, that's useless. That's not helpful to people. And we realize that now because we've been doing this for a long time. But basically what we've done is we've organized it down to five pathways that are easy to remember, that are easy to explain, that you can use to help other people who are also in transition or just feeling lost or feeling really unsure. And we're really excited to walk through these with you because I think that this is going to be life changing for a lot of people.
I did want to hone in on that point that you were talking about. When people would ask us these questions, the answer is anything. They say, what can you do instead of go to college? What can I do instead of go to college? What can I do now that I have some experience in this career, but I want to make a career transition? What can my child do other than these six things that I can think of myself? And our answer is always anything. Do whatever you want. But their eyes would glaze over and they would just be like, that's not really helpful, even though that is the answer. It literally is the answer. And so you and I thought, okay, that's a problem because people just tune us out and they think that we don't know what we're talking about. They don't want to listen to us, which makes sense because it is too overwhelming. And so the five degree free pathways, in a nutshell, it is everything. It is everything and anything, but it's just a framework to help you make a decision and get out of that analysis paralysis. And we think that this resource should be free to everybody. So we made a free course for you to take. Just go to degreefree co pathways, and you can sign up for the free course. This is going to help you if you're struggling in your own job search, if you don't know what you want to do, if somebody else doesn't know what they want to do, please send that link and they can take this free course as well. In this episode, we are going to break down the five degree free pathways and go over each point, but the course is going to go even more into depth than what we're talking about today. So without any further ado, I wanted to introduce the five degree free pathways, which we've already teased out a couple of weeks ago, if you've listened to that episode. The first degree free pathway is going to be get a job. The second degree free pathway is going to be find an apprenticeship or on the job training. The third degree free pathway is going to be earn a license or certification. Four is going to be build a business and five is going to be learn a skill. And I'm giving it to you all before and we're going to break each one down now. So the first one get a job. That one is going to have a kind of caveat around it or parentheses around it, and that's going to be with the skills that you already have. So that's going to be get a job using your current hard and your current soft skills to land that job.
Yeah, you don't have to go do anything. All you have to do is take what you have now and go apply to jobs that you want. That's it.
You might have to use some of the techniques that we've taught and we talk about ad nauseam on this podcast and create a story around your experience and how that relates to the jobs that you're applying for. And then apply efficiently by doing the volume applying technique, by not self eliminating. You're going to have to do all these things, but you don't have to go out and learn a new skill to get that job.
No. And you don't have to wait four years, which is really five and a half years, to actually just start applying for jobs. The thing I think that's going to shock a lot of people, especially people that are college graduates, if they do these things, what is going to happen is they're going to get job offers for jobs that say they require degrees or master's degrees or advanced degrees, and they actually don't. And they're going to be just shocked. Wait, I could have done this the whole time? Yes, you could have done this the whole time. I'm sorry nobody told you, but we're telling you now. And you can go on our website, you can listen to our podcast, you can use our tactics, and you can absolutely just start applying for these job and you can get the same exact jobs.
The first degree free pathway is going to be the pathway that you are going to come back to the most often. Unless you're taking pathway number four, which is build a business. This is the base skill that you're going to keep coming back to, because even the second one, apprenticeship and on the job training, earning a license, certification number five, learning a skill, it all ends up at getting a job and then using the techniques that we teach to get a job and land that job that you want. One of the big problems that we have in today's market is that people are not taught how to be job seekers, right or wrong. That's just how it is. What I mean by that is whether or not people should have to be good job seekers, whether that's right or wrong, that's not the discussion that we're having. It's just the way that it is today. You have to know how to search for jobs. If you want to land jobs, it's.
A job to get a job.
If you want help getting hired and you want help on the job search and learning how to become a more effective job seeker, you can go to thegriefree Co Pathways, sign up for the free course in the degree Free Network, which is going to be the free community that we are starting of degree free people. And in the degree free network, there's going to be a second free course, the seven day Get Hired challenge. You can sign up for that and that's going to teach you the basics of how to be an effective job seeker while you're there. There's also our video course, the Job Change Accelerator, that breaks down everything that you need to know to get hired and get the work that you want so you can check out those resources as well.
One thing that I want to touch on here too, is that, yes, it should not be a job to get a job in this current age with the technology that we have. However, the US hiring system is broken. If you've looked at the back end of it like Ryan and I have, it is a mess. There's a huge disconnect between employers, employees, HR recruiters, the way job descriptions are written. It's just a disaster, honestly. And what's so funny is that you and I both were shocked at the things that we learned. But then you and I forget that people don't live and breathe this stuff like we do. And so that's kind of what we're distilling down into these courses because you have to know what the lay of the land is. It is tough to navigate if you do not know. There's really simple stuff like not using canva when you're applying because it's not going to get read. But a lot of people don't know that and it's stopping them from getting a job. So, so, long story short, sign up for the community because you're going to want to take that Get Hired challenge. Just basic stuff that you need to know. Because like we said, unfortunately, right now, the way it is, the reality of the job market is that it's a job to find a job. So you have to get good at that before you can actually get a job. It doesn't matter how good of an applicant you are if they never see your resume.
Yes, absolutely. And I did want to touch on a couple of things before we move on past get a job. And that's just going to be general things. To get a job, you need to be unique. You need to be memorable, stand out from the crowd, be likable. These are all types of things that like, yeah, no duh. But it is difficult to do, especially when you're on your 100th application and you're just like, man, I just wish somebody's going to hire me already and it's difficult to think, how can I stand out from the crowd now? This is the 200th application that I've put in.
What am I doing wrong?
Exactly? Or what else can I do? What else can I change? Or how do I get unstuck from this situation? To get unstuck from that situation, I just wanted to go over some of the things that you could do really quickly. And you want it to be memorable. You want to be unique. You can do video pitches, you can consider doing free work for people. And free work doesn't have to be difficult. It could be as simple or as easy as sending ten ideas to somebody regarding their company or their division within that company. And that's not my idea. That's from James Alcher, who's a podcaster entrepreneur aficionado. Yeah, exactly. Investor. And another thing is going to be having a portfolio of work. And whenever I talk about portfolios to people, they get once again their eyes glaze over and they're just like, oh my God, I don't want to create a website. That's exactly what people say. I don't want to create a website to just get a job. And I completely get that. It doesn't have to be a website. If you are working, maybe in the trades or something, maybe you're doing finished carpentry. It can be as simple as before and after photos on your phone and you send it to them in an email. Or you don't have to send it to them, you could just scroll through it in an interview with them. If you are doing graphic design and you're mainly doing stuff in print, obviously you're going to want to have a nice print portfolio, like literally portfolio. But it doesn't have to be like that either. If you can just put it into a manila folder, but you have all of your print medium there for them, that could be a portfolio as well. It's like literally a portfolio. Whatever is correct for your industry or whatever makes sense. Something is always better than nothing.
The next thing that you could do, and people do not do this is just follow up. And it's just follow up, follow up, follow up.
You say that all the time. Following up is a superpower.
It is a superpower and not everybody does it. I be honest, I don't always do it all the time because it's tough.
Yeah, there's too many emails and too little time.
Right, exactly. But if you want something, keep going after it. Keep going after it and keep going after it. The main thing is for you to do anything that makes you stand out. And that can also include networking. Right. Reaching out to people in that professional field that you want to be in. Not necessarily in your field, although that's really good too. But people that are already where you want to be and quote unquote, reaching up, if you will, and trying to make those connections with people that are already in that industry and already doing that job. That's huge.
There's a lot you need to know, way too much to go into here. So go to degreefree co pathways, sign up for the Pathways course to know your options. Then sign up for the Get Hired Challenge so that you can go through step by step the basics of how to actually get good at job seeking. Because if you're not good at job seeking, you're going to have a tough time getting a job. And then if you want to be even more effective, then sign up for the Job Change Accelerator course. It will help you make the transition you're trying to make. Now, pathway number two is find an apprenticeship or on the job training. The goal here is to go the opposite way of college. The problem with college is ROI. College costs too much. It makes too little for the amount that it costs. Most people don't graduate from college. The ones that do it does not take four years. It takes five and a half years. That is a lot of time to be paying instead of getting paid. So the reason we have included apprenticeship and on the job training as number two is because we believe that this is the future. Everything is going to go back, basically back to the future. The future is the past. People are going to go back to apprenticeship and on the job training. It's happening already. We see in last week we talked about the teacher apprenticeships in Pennsylvania and Florida. But everything is going to move back towards this paid model because people's time is valuable and people can't be giving up their valuable time and then also paying for the privilege of giving up their valuable time. So apprenticeship and on the job training are a fantastic way to neutralize the downside risk of paying and giving up your time at the same time. So ideally, you're not paying. You are getting paid and a company is investing in you. And also do not mix up apprenticeships with unpaid internships. It's always blown my mind that colleges give away your labor for free and then they somehow package it as a perk. Like while you're paying them and going into debt and not making money, they also say, oh, and by the way, we're going to give your labor away for free to these companies. What? And then somehow, for some reason, you're supposed to be grateful for that. That just always blows my mind. But apprenticeships are not like that. Apprenticeships are where an employer has a vested interest in you because they are assuming the risk of your time. They are paying you to be there and that is what you want.
Yeah, definitely. Apprenticeship or on the job training. So learning the job as you're working as well. So both of those things are really powerful because you are not losing money. You are making money while you are learning very valuable, hard and soft skills in that industry that you want to be in, in that role that you want to be in. Now, there are a couple of ways to get apprenticeships and on the job training. The first one is going to be very similar to pathway number one, which is get a job and you are just going to decide on the industry that you want to work in, decide on the job that you want, decide on the apprenticeship that you want. And then you're going to go to Google and then you're literally just going to say apprenticeship on the job training. Insert your industry, insert your job title and then your area. And then you click Search and you're going to find the jobs that are open or the apprenticeships in the on the job training that are open to you. And then you're going to use the skills in pathway number one, which is like I was talking about, you're going to keep coming back to pathway number one if you are not doing pathway number four. And you are going to apply to those jobs just as if they were a job and not an apprenticeship. The goal is to do the same, which is to stand out and get hired. The problem with finding apprenticeships and on the job training this way is that it's very crowded and there are a lot of people that are applying to these roles. Because apprenticeships and on the job training.
Are so good, companies are doing this a lot more. IBM Accenture, which accenture is one of the biggest companies in the World Bank of America. There are tons of companies that are rolling out these tech apprenticeship programs too. This is not relegated to the trades. It's slowly branching into tech and data. Why? Because you can pay people to learn those things. Certifications were the beginning of that, where people go, oh, you can just learn these things online and then you can do this work. It's basically the same as college classes after COVID, right? We saw everything. It was all virtual learning anyway. It's basically the same thing except for faster and cheaper. And so what's happening now is companies started rolling out these apprenticeship programs and what they realized was that their retention rate on the apprentices is crazy high. According to the Harvard Business Review degree, free people already turn over 39% less than those with college degrees. And I don't think a lot of companies know that and I'm pretty sure it was IBM, but they ran an apprenticeship program and after five years, they had an 89% retention rate for apprentices. They did not leave the company and they stayed. And that was at five years. So they ran that program a few years ago. I'd actually be interested to see what the numbers are now. But what that goes to show is that if the company invests in these people and takes care of them at the beginning and they assume the risk of the time when they are learning and they are new, then they stay. What that does is it reduces churn for the company, which saves them money and makes them more productive. I think that once there is a slightly better system for getting those programs up and there are easy metrics and easy onboarding and easy platforms that companies can use to do them, it is going to take off. And I think it's happening now because already people are realizing that it's just easier to do that. And those employees tend to be better than college graduates that they're hiring. And not all of those people are degree free right off the bat. Some of those people have college degrees, but their degree has expired. It no longer serves them and they're basically starting from scratch again. So it's pretty cool to see that resurgence. And I think that that's going to get more and more prevalent too, especially as the colleges just keep doubling down and charging more and they're doing it to themselves.
Yeah, there's a couple of things there. The retention rate is kind of what you honed in on there. And while that is important, I think the biggest reason why they're doing it is because the current system isn't working. The current product that they're getting and the product is your labor. The current product that they are intaking into their programs or into their actual work is very inconsistent. And they're trying to figure out how can we standardize what people know? How do I know that you know what you need to know, if that makes any sense. And so it used to be 50, 60 years ago, possibly it could have been the college degree, right? It could have been here is the base knowledge that you are going to have coming out of any curriculum. And I know that you're going to know that. So I'm going to put that onto my resume or onto my job listing. And if you have that, you know these skills. But now, because the college degree isn't that, but never mind just the college degree. I don't want to pick on just the college degree, but because everybody has different backgrounds now, such diverse backgrounds, especially with working remotely, especially with the access to work. And people just aren't working in one vertical anymore. They aren't just doing one career for their entire lives anymore. So they need to figure out, how do I know that you know the skills. And one of the easiest ways to do that is to just train them yourself. Because you're a blank slate coming into it, or you should be. And last week we had our guest Matt Shikitano on here talking about different certification and how to get certified for exams and what he was talking about was the minimum qualified candidate, which is exactly what they're doing. They're thinking about, okay, it's great that you can jump this twelve foot fence, but really we just need a candidate that can jump this three foot fence.
Who'S happy to be here.
Exactly. And as long as you can jump this three foot fence, we can teach you how to jump the twelve foot fence. We are going to do that together. I'm going to teach you how to jump nine extra feet.
Yeah. It's because they're getting people coming out of college and they're having to train them the exact same amount. And then the companies are wondering, why am I paying a premium for this? Why don't I just pay somebody who for them? This is a raise, right? Somebody coming in from another field or somebody who just didn't take on the debt and can afford to get paid a little bit less while they are entry level or learning. And they did that math and they said, all right. And then on top of that, they realized, like I said, the retention doesn't hurt either because it's just people that they trained up exactly like you said. They have standardized knowledge. The company knows exactly how much they know because they're the ones that taught them. And now they just have this specific skill set for this company. Like Ryan said, go check out that episode with Matt Chicatano. And not just because Matt's Beard rivals Ryan's Beard, but because it's a really good episode and it's another certification program that may be interesting to people who are listening to this podcast too.
Yeah, definitely. Also, I wanted to hone in on the point that you brought up that apprenticeships, on the job training. A lot of times when you think about it, your mind goes immediately to the trades. You think of plumbers, you think of welders, you think of people that are trades, people. That is not the case anymore. It is becoming much more widespread in every industry because of all of the reasons that we talked about. So even if you're thinking, oh, well, I don't want to work in the trades, I don't think that there's any apprenticeships or on the job training available for me, you might be right, but you also might be wrong. So definitely do a Google search and figure out whether or not there are some established programs for you to take. The second way to find apprenticeships or on the job training is going to be build your own apprenticeship. And BYOA for short. It's a really powerful way to get on the job training or an apprenticeship. The reason why it's so powerful is because you are going to a place where there isn't a lot of demand and therefore you are not competing with a lot of people. So what you're going to do with build your own apprenticeship? Once again, go to degreefree co pathways and we go more in depth into all this, but to make it really simple in a couple of sentences is you're going to go to small businesses, micro businesses. Less than ten people usually is the best bet here because they don't have as much red tape. There's just not as much processes and systems put into place. So you're either going to go to a team that has less than ten people or even a one man operation, and you're just going to walk in and say, hey, here's what I can do. Here are the things that I want to do for your business in exchange I'd like to learn for this rate. What do you think about that? What a lot of people don't realize is that especially for these one man operations, but even for smaller teams, is a lot of times if they're successful, they are slammed and they do not have the time or the mind space to put up a job description because they're doing their business. And then if they did put up a job description, they wouldn't know what to write on their job description because they need help with everything.
Okay, the rats are absolutely going to hate this announcement, but I'm going to say something that I think people need to hear, and they're going to lose their minds when I say this. If you really want to learn something and you want to learn it from someone who is actually good at it, who actually makes money doing this for a living, I e not a college professor. What you are going to do is you are going to go to that person. This could be anybody. This could be a software developer, you know, this could be a baker at your local bakery that you really like their artisanal bread, and you want to learn how to be a baker. This could be a glass blower. This could be a sushi chef. This could be a painter. It literally doesn't matter whatever it is. This could be a welder. This could be anybody. You are going to go to this person and you are going to say, for $5 an hour, I will do whatever you need me to do. Please teach me how to do what you're doing. If someone is and people are going to lose their money, that's not minimum. That's not a livable wait. You know what is not a livable wage is paying $30,000 a year to learn from someone who is not successful at doing the thing you are trying to do. Go find somebody who's good at it and ask them to pay you a very little cash wage in exchange for your labor. You can do this if you are young and you have not left your parents house yet, you can do this now. And in a couple of years, if working with someone who's actually good at what they're doing and learning alongside them and watching how they work. And watching what they do and learning their techniques and learning their methods, you are going to learn more and you are going to go into less debt because you're actually going to be cash flow positive instead of cash flow negative. And if you are a kid, you have a little bit of space to do this if your parents are still covering your bases. But if you are not and you have spare time after your current job, which I know a lot of us don't, but you're really motivated and you want to learn something a couple of hours after work, a couple of hours before work. Go get paid a little bit of money, a little bit of cash, just so you are comfortable asking for the cash. And so the person gets a little bit of help because a lot of people who are successful are busy, right, and they need help doing things. And if you are around those people, they are well connected and this is something that those of us who don't have connections and are not like fancy rich people that don't know movers and shakers. This is a good way for us to get in with people who know people who can get us where we want to go.
I agree with the essence of that point, which is be willing to do work for a little bit amount of money and that attitude will take you far. But if you have bills to pay then ask for what you need and then see if they can accommodate that. If they are really busy, especially one man operations, they might have it within their budget already. Especially if they're a services business. Because one thing that you can know, because you listen to this podcast is that services businesses are one of the easiest things to become cash flow positive. And that doesn't really affect you because you're not starting the business in this pathway, but it affects you because you can target services based businesses and you know that they have very low overhead because all they have to pay for is their materials and then their labor is what pays them. So look for high profit, high margin businesses that are crushing it, that maybe they don't have enough time or effort to put out job listings, to put out job descriptions. Once again they can't even think about what they actually need. So if you just show up on the doorstep and you say hey look, here's what you need, you need this, this and this and you have a plan and we go into how to create a plan in the course. So degreefreefree co pathways. But if you go there with a plan and you say, this is what I can do, and here's the wage that I want for it yeah, maybe it's not going to be the most expensive wage or the highest. Wage in the world because they are teaching you and you are apprenticing or you are doing on the job training, but you might be able to negotiate a wage that makes sense for your bills. But I totally agree with you in that that attitude is going to take you far in life. But for those people that can't do $5 an hour, that's just ridiculous. So don't do it.
Oh, I totally get it. I'm just saying in lieu of studying, if you're going to work and also take college classes to learn a skill, just go get paid $5 an hour to learn that skill. Like if you have a band that you really like and you want to learn how to do sound design and you want to do sound check for them, just be like, hey, $5 an hour, man. Because they're probably only making $100 a gig, right? And just be like, hey, $5 hours, I'll run your sound for you. That's a great way to learn.
Yeah. That reminds me of my friend when I was in college and I was working full time and going to college full time. He was an artist and he was in college as well. He hated it. He ended up breaking out of college and didn't want to go back. What he ended up doing was he apprenticed at a tattoo shop and he actually didn't get paid in that apprenticeship. He had to pay. And I remember at the time I was thinking, dog, that's crazy. You have to go there for whatever it was. I think it was like 2030, 40 hours a week, however long he was there. Way more than that. But the minimum that he had to go there was like all the time. Not only that, but you have to pay like twelve grand or whatever to apprentice. Fast forward a few years. I mean, he owns his own shop. He's doing well now. But that just reminds me of yes, I hear your point. Which is as long as you're not paying, you're making a little bit of money even though it's below minimum wage and not necessarily legal or whatever, then that's fine. That makes sense. I don't want to belabor at this point anymore because we've spent a lot of time on it. So moving on to the third degree free pathway. The third degree free pathway is going to be earn a license or certification. And this is going to be any license and any certification in any industry or any job. So some examples could be a salesforce admin. That's going to be a certification. It could be a pilot. That's a license.
We had a yacht captain in our comments the other day on TikTok.
That's cool, right? So that's a license. It could be a real estate agent. It could be what I did, which is a firefighter. You need a bunch of certification to do that. EMT is also a certification. And it's all of those and everything in between tech and the trades. Everything in there is what's covered here.
You're only limited by your imagination here. There are certifications. There are professional certifications for all types of things you could be in notary. There are professional certifications for mortuary makeup. There are literally so many you would not believe. And if there's something that you want to do, there's probably a certification or professional industry or a professional alliance of somebody that grants a professional certification that's worth something to people in that industry. And if you look, you can find it. And oftentimes they are actually not that expensive and they are not that difficult to get if you study for them. So something to consider, because essentially what's happening is you are learning a specific enough knowledge to pass a test to be license to be certified by a body of people that evaluate people that do that work. So it's a good way to just say, hey, I have specific knowledge in this thing and I'm legally allowed to do it.
Yeah, exactly. The certification or the license basically just validates to other people the reason why you would get a license or certification if it wasn't required to do your job. For example, let's say a pilot, right? You have to have a license to be a pilot. You have to have your medical license to be a doctor. You have to pass the bar to be a lawyer, those types of things. If it's not those things, you have to externally validate what you know and what you've done. And this is what this is about, which is taking a test or an exam or an assessment that validates that you know, all of these things within that license or certification.
It also makes you eligible for job that legally require those things. It could be as simple as being a lifeguard, but you have to have a Red Cross Lifeguard certification in order to be a lifeguard.
The base skill here is going to be finding a job backwards. And we've talked about that a lot. So go back and listen to the podcast episode on how to find a job backwards. I will link to it in the show notes here. Or you can just search it wherever you're listening to your podcast. Or go to YouTube and listen to and watch that episode on how to Find a Job backwards. Once again, you can go to Degreefree Co Pathways and sign up for this Pathway course and then sign up for the seven day Get Higher challenge. It is a really integral skill to everything that we do here, and you're going to learn it in that seven day Get Hired challenge. So definitely do that. But what you're doing in a nutshell is you are starting at the end. You're looking and making a goal for yourself. So I want to be this. And then what? You're going to go and look what this is and you're going to see all the requirements that it takes and you are going to go and get all of the skills or some of the skills, 50% of the skills, critical skills, exactly to land that job. And one of those things might be a license or certification that you go and get. And so that is going to be the base skill here with license and certification, like we talked about, there is going to be an exam or an assessment at the end of it and there are a bunch of ways that you can study for that exam or assessment. And I will go over the three ways that we've broken it down to make it really simple to choose which path. Because what happens when you are trying to study to learn a new skill or study to pass an exam is that there are so many different options out there that you just get whoa, this is crazy, and then you never do anything about it. So there are three ways to study for things. The first way is going to be free resources and teaching yourself. So that's going to be using free resources like this podcast, like the Get Hired Challenge, like the Degree Free Pathways course, that you're going to take all of these resources and you're going to teach yourself how to do these skills. There are pluses and minus to all of these, but I'm going to lay out all of these and we go over the pros and cons in the actual course. So go to that. The second way that you can earn a license to the certification and prepare for that exam and prepare for that assessment is to take courses. And those are going to be paid courses because you can also do free courses right in the first way. But the second way is going to be to take paid courses and you're going to have somebody else curate that information for you. And all you have to do is study and learn and then take that assessment exam at the end. The third and final way is going to be boot camps is what we're calling this one. But it could also be like an intensive course, something where you do a lot of time in a short amount of time. So you spend a lot of time doing it, 8 hours a day or whatever for a really short condensed amount of time. The good thing is, once again, it's curated. All you have to do is learn. But the best part about that is that you get higher support. And the way that it works is that the free is the least expensive. The paid courses are going to be mid tier. Yeah, mid tier. And then boot camps or intensive courses, whatever you want to call it, can.
Get a little pricey.
It is going to be pricey because you're going to get more support.
Pathway number four is build a business. A lot of people. When we say this, the knee jerk reaction is, well, most people can't build a business. One. That's not true. Two. Building a business does not mean you're building a multi mega conglomerate. What this could mean is that you are starting an auto detailing business. And you start doing that first by walking from house to house in your neighborhood and asking people if they want to pay you $50 in order to clean out their car. That's a business. If you have an LLC. Now you got a business. Lucky you. Services. Businesses are extremely simple to start. All you are doing is you are identifying something that people do not want to do or do not have time to do or want to pay someone else to do. And then you are doing it for them, and you are taking money for that service. There are a lot of other ways to run businesses. There are a lot of product based business. You could sell digital art. You can do graphic design. There are so many things you can do. But building a business is a great way to learn something while you are building a project while you are working on something that's yours. It is a great way to get experience. It is a great way for you to see how things work. It is a great way for you to understand how business is done. It will probably make you more adept at being an employee in the future if you go back to getting a job, because you will understand why businesses do the things that they do and what incentivizes them and drives them to do those things. It kind of helps you get a more well rounded picture, a more realistic view of the flows of business, the flows of hiring and what motivates people when they are looking for people to do work that they need done.
Yeah, there's a bunch of things here. If you are thinking about degree free pathway number four, this one build a business. The first thing that I will say is that for a lot of people, when I talk about this, they immediately shut off. Well, I don't want to be an entrepreneur. I don't want to be a business owner. I don't want that stress. Okay, that's fair. But you don't have to want to do those things to run a business or do a quote unquote side hustle. Building a business is a great way to gain experience in the industry that you want to be in. Even if you do not plan on creating and maintaining that business forever and ever. The reason why it's good is because you don't have to ask any gatekeepers to get permission to gain experience and to do that thing in that industry. For example, let's say you want to work in marketing, but you're currently a server at Chili's. And you're like, I don't know, really how to do marketing. So I could go and find on the job training. I can find an apprenticeship, I could try to take a course. I could learn skills, sure. But I could also build a business and build a quote unquote business, a side hustle, and learn how to build a service, build a product and then market that. And that is extremely valuable because you're going to learn a lot more than just marketing. You're going to learn sales, you're going to learn product development, you're going to learn fulfillment, you're going to learn operations. And all of this helps to round you out as a person. And if you can create and craft that story around the experience that you've done, building a business and selling a product, developing that, that is extremely valuable to other companies and to your future employers, extremely, extremely, extremely valuable. Not only do you have the base skill of learning marketing, but you understand how it fits in to the bigger aspect of their business. You can see past your own department and past only what you can see. The next thing that I wanted to say is that build a business. The services businesses, like you said, are going to be the easiest things to start. Just because you can do it with your hands. You're basically building a job. Whereas products, you have to decide on the product, you have to source the product, you have to hold inventory, you have to figure out fulfillment, whereas services businesses, you don't have to do any of that.
Like, hey there's dirty windows, I'm going to wash this windows.
Exactly. And it could be more complicated than that. A services business could be a web design agency. It can be an SEO agency, search engine optimization, you can build websites, you can b to B agencies. Those are also services business. So it doesn't have to be things that are just in the physical world. They can be on the internet as well. But those are still easier, quote unquote, because it's still difficult. Those are still easier to start. And you are going to be cash flow positive. You're going to be making actual cash much faster than if you were to do a product because you would have to buy the product and you'd have to dump money into holding inventory, unless you were to do some sort of drop shipping or some sort of print on demand or order on demand type of thing. Anyway, that's too much for what we're talking about here. But this is huge and I definitely think it's a path that more people should walk. It's never been easier to be a business owner nowadays with the internet. It's never been easier before. It used to be difficult to even take a credit card because you would have to go to the banks and you would have to ask them, hey, can I get a machine to process this? Can you give me an account? And you're going to give me credit whenever somebody swipes their credit card through. And with things like square clover, toast stripe, all of these payment processing systems, it is so easy. You don't even need an LLC like you were talking about. You could be a sole proprietorship. And this isn't legal advice, because those.
Are two not legal advice.
Yeah, exactly. And I'm an idiot, so don't listen to me.
A shiny endorsement.
Yeah, exactly. Shut this off right now. LLCs and sole proprietorships are different legal entities, and so this isn't legal advice. But you don't necessarily have if you don't know how to set up an LLC one, you could just go to legal zoom. You could pay $400. And yes. Is it a scam? Maybe, maybe not. Do you need to pay $400 to start an LLC? You definitely don't. It can cost you, like, $90 to get your Ein, your employee identification number.
Not legal advice.
I'm going way too much. I'm talking too much.
This is now our sound for what we give out.
But just know that it can be very simple, and it doesn't have to look a certain way. The last thing that I did want to say about building a business is that there's two things that you can do to build the business. The first one is that you can buy a business, and the second one is that you can start it from scratch. And I go over the two different ways to do it in the course. So definitely go there.
Last thing, though, if you are interested in buying a low cost local business where you are, check Facebook Marketplace, and check Craigslist. Just saying.
Sure, that's a great idea. Like I said, go check out the course, and we talk more about this. We are going to be talking more about building a business because it is something that we've heard from you guys and from you folks. For the listeners, it's something that you're interested in. So if you want to be notified when we start talking about business stuff, go to Degreefree co newsletter and sign up for our newsletter. Building a business is something that can be very beneficial to your professional career, to your network, to your life, and we are going to talk more about it. It's something that I am personally very passionate about. So make sure you sign up for our newsletter to get updates on that. The fifth and final degree free pathway is going to be Learn a skill. And learning a skill encompasses pretty much everything from tech white collar to trades, blue collar, whatever. No collar, brown collar, but it encompasses everything. It's very similar to degree free pathway number three in the earn a license to certification. The biggest difference is that you are not taking an assessment exam at the end of it. So in the third one, you are learning a skill or you're learning knowledge, and then you are getting assessed on that and you are validating that through that assessment, through that exam, through that license, through that certification to other external parties that you know your stuff up until a certain level. Whereas learning a skill, you're not doing any of that.
Yeah. What you're doing is you're learning this to your own satisfaction. You're building your own projects. This might be something you're doing if you're going to start your own business. This does loop back into all of the other pathways. But learning a skill can be a way to find good work that you want. This could be anything from coding to carpentry to large appliance repair to language. Learn a practical skill, learn something that's useful.
Yeah, absolutely. The base skill once again is going to be that how to find a job backwards. You're going to start at the end, start with your goal, and then identify the useful skills that you need to learn. And then you're going to go and learn those skills. The highest priority first and the second highest priority and the third highest priority. The same three learning tracks exist. Free courses, teaching yourself, YouTube University folks. Second one is paid courses. Third is going to be intensive courses or boot camps. So it's the same as the earn a license or certification route that way. The biggest problem that you're going to find with learning a skill is that you do not have that assessment at the end and therefore you do not have that external validation of an accreditation system or a license board that says that you know this knowledge and this skill up to this point. So that's going to be your biggest hurdle when you're trying to land a job. And then when you end up going to back to degree free pathway number one, which is getting a job and using all the skills that you've learned on how to be an effective job seeker there, how do you validate that you actually know these skills?
A good example would be the result. So if, let's say, you're learning to be a photographer and you're teaching yourself how to do these things, the first time that somebody pays you to take their photos or if you get a job as a photographer, your skill has now been validated.
Sure. And another way is going to be building a portfolio of work and it is always more effective to show and not tell. That's going to be one of the best ways to show people that you have that skill, that you know what you're talking about and you know what you're doing.
And those are the five degree free pathways.
Yeah, absolutely. Really excited about this episode. Just to recap really quickly the five degree free pathways. The first one is get a job. And that's with the caveat, with the skills that you already have. The second is going to be find an apprenticeship or on the job training. The third is going to be earn a license or certification. Four is going to be build a business, and then five is going to be learn a skill. This encompasses everything that you can do if you're not going back to college, if you're dissatisfied with where you are in your career and you're looking to make a career change. This encompasses everything from the 16 year old that's looking for their first job to that person that is a couple of years away from retirement and wants to make one more change. This is everything that you can do, and I definitely suggest that you go to degreefree co pathways and sign up for the free course that goes into depth about all of these different pathways. While you're there, sign up for the seven day Get Hired Challenge, and if you need more help on the job search, you can sign up for the job Change Accelerator course.
I have two requests. Share this with someone who is struggling with what to do or is in crisis mode or is just kind of starting to explore their options and is curious about what's open to them outside of the go to school, go to college, work till you're 70 years old. Second, go to YouTube, comment on this episode and tell us what pathway you're on, what you're doing. We want to know. We're curious.
Yeah, absolutely. And you can connect with us on LinkedIn. I'm Ryan mariama on LinkedIn. She's Hannah Maruyama on LinkedIn, and thank you so much for listening. Until next time, guys. Allah.
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