There are few college degrees that pave the way to six figures. It can happen - but you can also earn a six-figure income without ever going to college. I'm a proud college dropout, and was earning over $200,000 a year as the head of SEO at Oversee.net while my friends were working on their degrees. I went on to build and run successful companies and help others grow theirs. And I'm certainly not an anomaly in the world of business success.
Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, and Lady Gaga are all wildly successful - all without college degrees. According to reporting from the Washington Examiner, 68% of Americans don't have a bachelor's degree. My position here isn't to say college degrees are worthless or can't be beneficial - just that they aren't necessary to achieve success.
Here are 7 reasons you don't need a college degree to earn big.
1. Online Learning Turns You Into an Expert
There was a time when going to college and securing a master's was a ticket to big paychecks. But as we've learned during the ups and downs of our economy, a degree doesn't always unlock doors to more opportunities.
You could end up needing an MBA for the work you want to do, but you should also stop to challenge your assumptions before signing up for four years of tuition and student debt. Do you really need a four-year degree to be a coder? Or could you take classes from Codeacademy or Dev Bootcamp to learn web development? Chances are you can find courses online for anything you want to be an expert in. Consume every course and all the content you can find to advance your own career.
2. It's Possible to Start Consulting Right Now
There is no degree required to become a consultant; and you also don't need to be a foremost expert to launch your services. Work on identifying areas where you can solve someone else's problems. Look at B2B services you can offer, from email marketing to on-site optimization.
Just don't fall into the trap of believing that you don't know enough to consult. If you know more than your clients and can coach them in useful ways that solve their problems, then you can look to consulting. I have years of experience in content marketing and consult entrepreneurs on how to grow their businesses. Although I've had a lot of success, there are plenty of other people out there who are more experienced and earn more than me. There's room for people with various strengths and niches in any industry.
3. You Can Invest in Real Estate Without a Degree (or a Lot of Money)
There is no degree required to start investing in real estate. And I'm not just talking about flipping homes or buying rental property. You can start investing in commercial real estate without a degree or even much money.
Crowdsourcing has become a popular way to do this. Sites like Realty Mogul offer investment opportunities for a few thousand dollars. Their properties range from hotels to office buildings to storage units. As you build up your portfolio and earn more money, you can look to commercial real estate opportunities in your own community to make a name for yourself.
4. There Are Still Plenty of Jobs That Pay Six Figures Without a 4-Year Degree
It's really not necessary to go to college to earn six figures in this day and age. A degree isn't required for air traffic controllers, yet they have the opportunity to earn six figures within a few years. Real estate brokers and technical writers also don't need degrees to work in their fields, yet they have high earning potential.
You can also lean on your own skills to earn six figures. That's how I ultimately went from college dropout to high earner. Or you can get inspired by Millennial Lauren Holliday, a college dropout turned waitress turned self-taught full stack marketer who landed a dream job and started earning six figures. She later went out on her own to earn more and help others learn more about marketing.
5. Student Debt Can Crush Your Dreams
You don't need a degree if it's going to put you far into debt with no light at the end of the tunnel. Student loan statistics are grim with over 44.2 million Americans saddled with student loan debt. According to research from Student Loan Hero, the delinquency rate is 11.2% and the average monthly student loan payment for borrowers 20 to 30 years old is $351.
Think about what would happen if you didn't have that loan payment. You could invest that $351 into your own business or self-learning to create the kind of career and income stream you're looking for.
6. Your Degree Could Be Useless By the Time You Graduate
I'm not necessarily against college, but it is a risk. You're putting a lot of time and money into a degree that may or may not be obsolete by the time you're ready to use it.
However, even if the degree itself is still useful in opening some doors, it doesn't mean you're really ready for the job market. Technology and business processes and trends age quickly. It's hard to keep up with changing trends when you're stuck behind your textbooks for four years.
7. You Don't Learn Grit in College
Author and psychologist Dr. Angela Lee Duckworth says grit can determine success. In her popular TED talk, she explained: "Grit is passion and perseverance for very long-term goals."
Grit isn't learned from textbooks and taking tests. It's learned from being out there in the world and struggling through challenges and figuring out how to make things work. Your own grit might be learned through launching a freelance career or startup, securing funding for your business or traveling the world and working remotely.
At the end of the day, you don't need a degree to give you permission to succeed and earn big. While a degree may be useful to help grow your skills and make new connections, it is not a prerequisite to becoming a leader in your industry. Success is a mindset and the result of hard work - and it can absolutely be achieved without your learning credentials in hand.
Did you skip out on college and achieve big success? Let us know about your experience by leaving a response below: