It’s no secret that conventional education as a gateway to success is increasingly becoming not only a point of debate, but almost laughable among many. More than 1/4th of all recent college graduates are still living at home or moving back home. At the same time, it’s estimated that by 2020, more than half of all American adults will have a “side hustle”...a business that they can work on the side to either supplement their incomes or replace them. With the traditional path failing so many, more and more people are seeing the unconventional path as the path of the future.
In 2009, Seth Campbell found himself firmly on the traditional path. He was a college student, was working hard to get a degree and was struggling to pay his bills. Through a mutual contact, he met his first true mentor, the person who began challenging his thinking and showing him what he could accomplish as an entrepreneur. After launching and building a successful business that has made him millions of dollars, he has now traveled the world teaching the things his mentor taught him to thousands of people from California to Sydney, and people are getting the message.
The New Education
Perhaps the most commonly repeated cliche regarding education is “I believe education is very important”. People hear this and picture the classroom, the university. The assumption is that if you aren’t sitting there getting the college credits then education must not be important to you.
One of the key things that Seth teaches people he works with and speaks to is that education is immensely important. He also teaches that just as important as committing to education is carefully selecting which type of education to pursue. As the late Jim Rohn famously said, “Formal education can earn you a living, but self education can earn you a fortune”
Choose a Mentor over a Professor
What exactly is self education? And where can you seek it? The biggest difference between the two is that self education can only be learned from a mentor, and this mentor must be someone who has actually done it. Here is the biggest problem with formal education: we sit in a classroom for our business class and learn how to run a successful company from someone who derives their income as an employee of a college. Do you see the issue with that?
Someone might be able to give you directions to another city based on what the steps in the maps app says, but only someone who has made the drive can tell you about the detours, the road conditions and where the best place to stop for gas is. Self education is best found when you find a mentor who is willing to teach you from their real world experience. And this is usually free, no debt to Sallie Mae for this one.
Choose Experience over Credits
Another major difference between formal education and self education is how you actually learn. Once you’ve found a mentor in business, odds are they aren’t going to give you a text book or administer a pop quiz every week. In business there is truly no replacement for experience. You simply need to go out and fail. And here’s the kicker... failure is good! Seth encourages people he works with to fail early and fail often. Failure is a thing to avoid in the classroom and embrace in the real world.
Ask most business owners with a college degree just how much of their generalized knowledge they still use. Most of them will tell you that almost all of their success came from learning on the job and applying the things they learned from experience and failure. No you don’t actually need calculus to make money. But you do need to know how to handle rejection, communicate with people and build relationships and promote yourself. Things you learn in the world and not the classroom. Experience always trumps credits...so why even pay for them in the first place?
Make a Good Business Decision
For most of the would be entrepreneurs that seek Seth’s advice, he lays this decision out as a business decision. What if someone were to offer you the chance to buy a business with the following stipulations: You can’t earn any money from it for 4 years, it will cost you over 100,000 dollars or more for which you will likely take out a loan, most of that money will go to pay professional teachers who haven’t ever actually done what you are trying to do, and there is no guarantee that after the 4 years you will be able to make money on your investment. Sound like a good deal?
Of course, if you want to be a Doctor or a Lawyer, this is the only path for you. But for those who want to run a business or make it as an entrepreneur, the message Seth sends is clear...it’s a bad business decision. Go find someone who has done it, roll up your sleeves and dive into the trenches with them. You’ll likely learn more in 2 years than you could learn in a lifetime at a university.