• Chantal Porter

How To Make It Without Academic Qualifications

Updated: Aug 28, 2019

There's an online joke (that's a little too sad to be very funny) that says "You don't need a degree to be a business owner, but you need a degree to work for a business owner". To many, that statement equates to "you need a degree to be successful." This couldn't be further from the truth. If you want to, you can find a way to carve out your own future that does not involve pursuing a degree.


Don’t get me wrong, I’m not knocking degrees. I would actually feel much better knowing that my doctor actually went to medical school before he attempts to perform surgery on me. However, this article isn’t about how to successfully pursue a traditional job without academic qualifications, it’s about how to be successful in life without academic qualifications...believe me, there’s a difference.


Here's how you can make it without academic qualifications:


1. Purpose and Passion


Many of us live life through muscle memory. We develop a routine that we don’t love but do it because it helps us to get by. We experience little satisfaction or fulfillment during the week and can’t wait to get to Friday. Trust me, I know. We all want freedom! Freedom to express ourselves, to live on our own terms, and with as little responsibility as possible. However, freedom and responsibility come joined at the hip. If you know what your passion is, if you know what your purpose is, and you decide to pursue it, it can be the most thrilling and equally terrifying experience of your life. You have to be willing to grow by a fraction every day for the rest of your life because you will be stepping away from the norm. You will need to learn how to stop comparing yourself to others because the truth is, you’re nothing alike.


2. Activate Mentorship


Mentorship comes in different forms. You may be blessed to have a physical mentor or maybe you have a virtual one. Whatever the case is, if you want to be successful, there is no need to do it alone. Find others who have gone before you and study what they did. If they’ve written books, read them. If they have online videos and podcasts then become a student of your mentor. It is said that spending 10,000 hours on anything will make you an expert in that area. This makes sense, especially when you consider that years ago if a person wanted to fill a role, they did not go to school. Instead, they made themselves the understudy of someone who had already done what they were seeking to do. This will require patience and humility (two very unsexy words) but it will be worth it in the end.


3. Mindset is everything


Often, when a person considers living life outside the sphere of academic qualifications, they start to think of the easiest ways of making money. This, I dare say, is not the best approach. Sure, making money is the aim of the game but so is financial literacy. “Get rich quick” is unsustainable without financial literacy. The state of mind that created the “broke” problem will not fix it. You must grow into the person that you want to be. The “get rich quick” mindset will not get you there.


It is okay to start small and to fail your way to success. Learn the value of taking risks and the art of bouncing back. Become a student of success (not just a chaser of the bag) and watch your life change.


Here are a few options to consider that require no academic qualifications whatsoever.


1. Online platforms


In this digital age, it has never been easier to utilize online platforms to get ahead. Sure, some of these will depend on your skillsets and capabilities but not all:

● YouTube channels

● Blogs/Article writing

● Affiliate marketing

● Transcribing

● Freelance platforms such as Upwork, Guru.com, Rev.com, Remote.co and several others can open up the doorway to you earning substantial income without the academic prerequisites of traditional jobs.


2.Internship/Voluntary Service


There are very few places that will turn down next to free labor. This may not earn you much money, but it gives you the golden opportunity to network and to learn the requisite skills to move you forward. Find out about voluntary service and internship programs in your area of interest. You won’t be as restricted as employees but you will still get the same exposure with the freedom to choose your hours and to do something else on the side.


3. Start your own business


This can be as easy or as challenging as you make it. Remember we spoke about starting small earlier? Decide on the business you want to start and then figure out cost-effective ways to get it done. As your business grows, you can consider branching out. Amazon started off with Jeff Bezos in a room with a whiteboard, table and a desktop (won't he do it?!).


● Some online platforms allow you to create agencies and teams, so you can consider starting there.

● Monetize a skill. Are you good at knitting? Baking? Yodelling? There is a market for everything. You will have to do research and figure out where this market is and learn the art of networking. The more persons you can interact and share with, the greater your chances of success.

● Rent your car. You may only have one, but to start, one is all you need. If you can figure out the rental system, get disciplined, financially literate and gritty, then in a few years you can have a booming business.


These are just a few examples of the many life-changing options and opportunities out there that don’t require the fuss of a degree. Check them out. You’ll be glad you did.





It's possible- Believe, put in the work, achieve

" A successful man is one who can lay a firm foundation with the bricks that others throw at him"- David Brinkley

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