If you tell someone they have to spend $10,000 on something that will make them more successful, they will freak out and likely be extremely skeptical, and probably think you and/or the product/service is a scam.
But if you tell them they will profit $100,000 within 3 months after investing that $10,000, with a 100% guarantee that it will work, obviously everyone would do it, right?
Of course, there aren’t a lot of guarantees out there. Some people offer money-back guarantees, but with ridiculous terms that makes it not even worth trying.
And there are plenty that are really genuine, but all the scammers give those people a bad name, and make everyone fearful out there.
Here’s an example
There’s a SaaS (Software as a Service) that I recently signed up for. It’s an affiliate program that I setup for my online course where I teach others my web design process.
If you’re not familiar with affiliate programs, they basically pay someone for referring someone to the website. So if someone signs up to be an affiliate for me, I will pay them a commission for every order that comes from their unique links/coupon codes. Pretty simple. The most popular one is the program that Amazon has setup, which I’m also a part of.
Anyways, the first year of this WordPress plugin only costs $49/year. I could probably justify spending $49/month on this, so this seemed like a great deal already. But it got even better when I broke it down.
So it’s $49 for the first year, and then you get a 30% discount for each year renewal after that ($34.30/year). Even better.
The current price of my course is $497, and I have my affiliate program setup to reward each affiliate with a 20% commission ($99.40 per sale).
So my profit on one sale through an affiliate would be $397.60, and it’s basically all profit since it’s all digital and I don’t have any materials and I don’t have to ship anything.
Now if you take my profit, and subtract the first year, you are left with $348.60. If you take that and divide that by the renewal price, you get 10.16.
So what does all this mean? That means if I invest just $49 one time into my business, and I get just one person to make just one sale for me, that will pay me back for the first year, and pay for the next 10 years of the product/service. Awesome!
A simpler example
To me, the above thought process makes so much sense. It’s a no-brainer. But what about if you just want to learn a new skill or become an expert at something, what are your options?
Well, a lot of people think the only way to learn anything is by going to college. While college can be an awesome experience and be extremely beneficial (and required for some fields), some people are wildly successful without it.
Full disclosure, I went to college. Just a 2-year art school, but it was still expensive. I’m glad I did it, and I learned a lot about graphic design and a lot about myself, but it was totally not necessary, and definitely not required.
So what else could I have done? Well I could have saved that $30K and spent maybe half of that on an accelerated course that gave me all the info in half the time or faster.
Or I could have bought a course like mine from an expert in the field. Maybe that would have cost me somewhere between $500-$5,000. On the expensive end, that sounds like a lot of money, but that’s a savings of over 80% off of my formal education. Well worth the risk in my opinion.
But what about that piece of paper, is it worth the extra $25K? To some, yes. Even to me back in the day, it was. But now, I think about all the times I ever had to prove I had it or show it to someone. I always end up with the same number: zero times.
Now I know, if you want a regular 9-5 job, you need a degree. I definitely worked several regular jobs over the years, but the person I am today is totally different. If you’re like me, that piece of paper doesn’t mean shit. I’m actually thinking about having a diploma burning celebration one day. Are you coming with??? Haha
What do I do with no degree
My advice is to invest in yourself as soon as possible and as often as possible. Knowledge is extremely powerful, especially when it’s laser-focused on a specific topic. You can become the expert at one exact thing.
I would recommend learning the basics about something, then getting to work as soon as possible. Learning is awesome, but nothing beats taking action. Learn something, take action on what you just learned, repeat. It’s that simple. Start now, and by this time next year, you’ll be amazed at what you’ve accomplished.
Do work for free for a client or two. Then get better. Then charge a little bit for a couple more clients. Then get better. Then charge even more for the next batch of clients. Keep getting better, and keep progressing. The more skilled and confident you are, the more you can charge.
And the more you can charge, the more bills you can pay off, which means you’ll pay off your debt quicker, until one day you’re debt-free. And the lower your debt, the more you get to say no.
Keep saying yes, until you can afford to say no
Early on, I was investing in all sorts of things, and my debt was piling up. How was I ever going to get out of this?
Well I kept increasing my skills, which allowed me to do more things, which made me comfortable saying yes to almost every single job that came my way. This helped me keep my finances stable and it definitely kept me busy.
The more debt I got rid of, the more freedom I felt. This became addicting. To the point where money obviously still mattered, but not as much. It finally gave me the confidence to start telling people no.
“Sorry, I’m not the best designer for you.” Or they weren’t the best client for me, or the project wasn’t something I believed in, or it just wasn’t something that I felt like working on at the time. Or maybe I already had 1-2 clients at a time and I was done working myself to death on no sleep.
So I simple said no. And the more times I said no, I had even more freedom in my life.
Some people will tell you that you need to invest in everything. I don’t agree with that.
Back in 2015, I attended Podcast Movement in Texas. It was an awesome conference for podcasters, and I was just starting out with podcasting, so I felt I had to go. It really helped me the first year and I think it was beneficial. Of course there was a lot of costs involved, but I felt it was worth it.
I went back again last year, but this time it was in Chicago, so much closer to home. There were still a lot of costs involved, but I did everything almost as cheaply as I could. It was a great time, but I don’t think I got as much value out of it as I could have. I think part of it was my fault, because I felt rushed, and I didn’t interact with as many people, but it was still a great experience.
They just ended the early bird special to register for Podcast Movement 2017 in California, and I really wanted to go, but I decided against it. When I wrote down all the pros and cons of going, alongside the costs involved, it just didn’t make sense for me.
With my podcast, I have all the skills and information I need. Of course there are always going to be new things out there that make my life easier, but I can find and learn about those products/services on the internet from my couch. Not to mention this trip was going to set me back at least $1,500, probably $2,000+.
When I figured out all the costs (ticket, flight, hotel, transportation, food, drinks, misc), I started thinking of what else I could do with that money. Books, private coaching calls with mentors, courses, ebooks, cheap vacation to reboot, pay off debt, new premium services/products for my biz, etc. So many things that I would probably get more value from, and for far less money.
I think a lot of people graduate high school, then they graduate college, then they get a job, then they just coast for 40 years. In my teens and most of my 20’s, I started to think this was the only path. And I was beginning to think I was a failure.
It really wasn’t until I started investing in myself that things started to change.
Now I’m nowhere near where I want to be (and will be), but I’m constantly pushing myself down the right path. It’s up to you to figure out what your path looks like.
It’s never too late, but the sooner you start, the better. Think of it like compound interest.
And while I don’t think everyone should be an entrepreneur or start their own business or quit their job to follow their passions, I do think that everyone should have at least some sort of side hustle. Something they love to do that brings in a little extra money in addition to the money from their full time job. Some people love their jobs, so this is the perfect route for them.
Anyways, I hope you at least got something out of this random post, even if it was 15 minutes of entertainment. But if this got the gears in your head turning, or it even changed part of your mindset, do me a favor and share this. My goal is to help as many people as I can when it comes to web design, online businesses, personal freedom, and more.
I may not be the best in the world at any of those things, but I’ve lived it, and I’m still living it. These are some of the things that get me out of bed in the morning, and I will do this for as long as humanly possible. And as always, if you ever have any questions for me, send me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org). I respond to everyone, and most people are surprised with the long emails I send.
“Dude, we don’t even know each other personally, and I think you helped me more in one email than all the other crap I’ve came across.” Emails like this and client testimonials are some of my favorite things in the world. I hope I can add some value to your journey at some point, and I look forward to hearing a quote from you like this. Take care, and thanks for reading.
PS… I wrote this from my $400 laptop that I’ve had for five years, sitting in my rusty 1998 Subaru, in the parking lot of a Panera Bread while stealing their wifi, and listening to free music on my phone from YouTube. You don’t need to spend a lot of money to take action and crush your goals. You just have to think differently, and be ok with being a little weird in the process. Cheers!