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Does College = Internet Marketing Success?

by Steve Scott | Join Him On Facebook

We live in a society where there’s a strong push toward education.   From four years of age all the way to college and beyond, we’re expected to focus on one major goal…get a diploma and prepare yourself for the “real world.”

I feel a diploma is important for getting a job in the formal, business world.  But does it really matter when it comes to Internet Marketing?

My Educational Background

Like a lot of people, I bought into the idea of going to college.  While I didn’t work hard during these years, I stuck it out because I believed college was the only path to success.

The same goes for graduate school.  During my time in the military, I thought it was important to pursue a Master’s of Science in Business Management simply because it gave me an edge when it came to job interviews.  My thought was by the time I was discharged, I’d have a quality education mixed with military experience.   This would help me get my dream job.

The funny thing was by the time I got to the “real world” I had ZERO desire to join the ranks of the corporate world.  In fact, I was terrified at the prospect of spending the next 40+ years wasting my life in a cubicle.  So I ended up ditching the 9 to 5 and pursuing this crazy dream of an online business.

The end result was I wasted six years of my life pursuing diplomas that now grow dust in my storage shed as I travel the world.

Is College Really Necessary?

I have mixed feelings about college and other forms of formal education.  I feel it’s a great place to learn how to think critically and prepare for the rigors of “adulthood”.   Also, there were some classes that taught me valuable lessons I’m still using to this day.

However, I don’t think a formal education really matters with Internet marketing.  It doesn’t matter if you have a PhD or a GED.  The only thing that counts is having a quality work ethic combined with an ability to create (and follow) a system.

While I do well with Internet Marketing, I don’t think it’s because of my formal education.  I chalk it up to being stubborn as a mule and refusing to give up after a number of failures.

What Do YOU Think?

We all have different backgrounds.  A few reading this might have a PhD or law degree.  A lot of you have the standard Bachelors Degree.  And there are some who didn’t even make it out of high school.

The common thing that unites us is a burning desire to achieve success with an online business.

My question to you… Is college really necessary for success with an online business?  Do you think it teaches you critical skills that gives you an edge over the competition?  Or do you believe that the only things that matter are an ability to learn and having a good work ethic?

Comment below and let me know you what you think…

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{ 28 comments… read them below or add one }

Joshua Black | The Underdog Millionaire

Steve,

I have a college degree and I also completely hate being told what to do… Even though I think that the actual content that is taught in college has little to do with reality, I thnk it’s critical.

Just like your military experience, you were probably placed in situations where you did not want to be there, but you had to get through it because someone told you to. That’s where college is for me.

It’s a character-building exercise, where you will learn life skills that are so critical I hope that everyone that gets a chance to go, does. That being said, jobs suck and if you can start your own business, use that education and everything in your power to do that instead of making someone else rich from your mind.

-Joshua Black
The Underdog Millionare

Reply

Steve Scott

Joshua, yeah there is certainly a positive side to college. The critical thinking, character building can be really good in preparing your to move on. There is even some information that you can glean that will help you out. I am not against it, more “on the fence”. As an experience I think it is something most people should attempt if they can. There was a hell of a lot of fun there too. I am just not always convinced that for an internet living it is “needed”. Of course for getting those crappy J-O-B’s that you may not like, it is still a requirement, so not doing it is limiting options and burning bridges.

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Ryan Biddulph

Hi Steve,

Nope, I don’t believe that a college degree is necessary unless you enter a specialized field like law of medicine.

Henry Ford dropped out of grade school. Many billionaires were high school or college drop outs. Going to college may help to improve your social skills and offer you a general education but as far as business goes, I see little connection between success as an entrepreneur and a college education.

I rarely use my BS in Meteorology these days except when severe weather comes through the area and I check out the radar. Was it a waste? Nothing is in my life, as all is a vehicle for my advancement.

Thanks for sharing your take and being “stubborn as a mule.” Otherwise, I might not be reading such great insight day after day :)

Ryan Biddulph

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Steve Scott

I think you nailed it (outside of certain professions) college education can be nice, it can be useful and fun and certainly not a “waste” but it is not necessary or essential. Sometimes the school of “hard knocks” can teach you just as much.

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Adam Paudyal

Hi Steve,

Education does guide us towards better things…so I don’t think it is a waste. Education builds up your knowledge and character, molds you and harnesses your skills. It is necessary as it prepares us to face the world.

I believe education is essential but going to a college or an institution for it…is not necessary. Thanks to the Internet…

Reply

Steve Scott

I Absolutely agree. Though I think college is debatable, ongoing learning is not. Even if you have that PHD tucked away in your drawer people need to continue learning at all times. Specifically the closer you get to any form of technology

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lesley

I certainly don’t think college is essential, in fact sometimes I regret the time I spent in formal education.

The proof of attitude though is when it comes to our own children? Would you have the courage to tell them not to bother with college? My son is studying remotely by internet, so he misses out on some of the social aspects of college, but gains because travel really does broaden the mind. The ideal is he gets the benefits of real life AND a qualification.

My daughter has already said she thinks College would be a waste of time.

I think we are much closer as a family because the internet had allowed us to life a different lifestyle, but whether that is good or bad only time will tell.

Reply

Steve Scott

Good point on the proof being what you would tell your children. I would always encourage my children to so to college regardless. Even if they do find it to not be great information there is always something to fall back on.

It is much easier to think of it from an intellectual standpoint than from a visceral, “what would I recommend” to my children level.

In your daughters case it can be true though that sometimes it can be better to just go out there and do it…. a very tough call..

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Marthe

I’m currently a law student (put on hold to study photography – it’s complicated) and I can totally relate to what you are saying about preparing for your dream job only to find that the dream is not to work 9-5 (and even longer).

However, I love to learn and I find it even more rewarding to be a student than to work (either for myself or for others). That is why I hold on to being a student for as long as I can, I’ll eventually be working for lots of years anyways. Right now I just feel that learning (everything, really) is giving me more as a person than running my own business or having a regular job will.

I think it is not the same for everyone, but at least for me, I really value this time of learning before I set out to start my own business for real.

I might sound naive, but I just don’t think any education is a waste of time.

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Steve Scott

Law, Science, Medicine and a few other technical careers are things you HAVE to go to school to learn. Even many 9-5 jobs require it.

That is the wonderful thing about working for yourself, that YOU do not have to require it of yourself. I too love learning and I try to keep up on things constantly. You need to continue learning whether you do it formally or not. The good thing about college is that it gives you a ready made venue for learning. Where as doing it on your own takes a lot more initiative.

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Matthew Needham

College / School / University whatever you want to call it isn’t essential to get ahead online. I agree. But I wouldn’t ever want to think of my time doing it as ‘wasted’. After all, you’ve always got something to fall back on if IM doesn’t work out for you.

One thing though as a word of warning is that being educated can actually hold you back. Fear of failure after you’ve been so succesful could seriously put a big dent in your chances of success. ie. Without risk there is no success.

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Steve Scott

I don’t think my college and even my Master’s were wasted either. Just not sure they were needed. Like you said if the bottom falls out it always gives me something to fall back on.

In some ways I feel that I was lucky that I got fed up early, or I may not have made the leap. It is a lot harder to leave a successful 6 figure career for internet marketing. Though you can make that kind of money it is highly unlikely to make anything close to that in the first few years.

Many people with good jobs do it right and work their way out slowly. This of course takes even more dedication, hard work and perseverance.

Reply

Murlu

I think the idea of college being a requirement these days is completely out the window.

From personal experience, I bought the kool-aid and began my degree in computer security, networking, etc etc. The problem was that even in a college the class material was months behind what was freely available on the net.

This cause a huge disconnect because you have teachers going over a subject while the online trends showing that it’s becoming outdated. This pretty much ruined my college drive.

So, I began using the web as my “college”. There’s so much available out there and so many people that want to help that you can’t say no.

In terms of an online business and internet marketing I see it like this:

Remember when you were a child how everything was grand and you had to break everything just so you can see how it worked inside (think hacker mentality). You were open to new ideas, learning new hobbies and skills.

As you aged, you started to get absorbed by societies system of school life which really killed your knack for learning new things – you were stuck in a system that’s clearly outdate.

Now, you have the web at your disposal, millions of people to ask questions and the world as your tutor. You can pick up nearly ever aspect of IM and online business online within a few short days.

Of course, you’re not going to become an expert over night but if you consider you’re going to school for 4 years to earn a degree – 4 years online is the best in comparison – real world experience, real world teachers, real world information.

Forget college, open up to the idea of learning from the web.

Reply

Steve

Murrray, it is very hard for a traditional college curriculum to keep up with technology. This is a huge example for where learning on your own actually will teach you the info quicker and better.

As you say, you will learn in a 4 year institution, but would likely learn more in a 4 year OJT. IF you are going on your own the training difference doesn’t matter, or course having the piece of paper is always a fallback.

The amount of learning and speed with which you can learn it is amazing on the net’. The raw access to material to learn (much of it free) is like nothing ever before in history.

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Steve Youngs

I would have to say no. A college or university level education does not equate to success in Internet marketing, or success in any field. However, I do not believe that it would hurt or hinder any possible success either.

The thing about success is that there is no magic formula, or secret ingredient. That is because success isn’t external. It is internal. And that means that your success is up to you. You cannot give me any secret sauce that will guarantee my success, even if that sauce is a PhD from the most prestigious university in the land.

That might sound like I’m anti-education, or perhaps anti-formal-education. I’m not. I’m really not. Education is incredibly important, and nobody should ever drop out of school because they think their education won’t bring them success. If they think that, their definition of success is screwed up. Time spent learning is never wasted time.

Kind regards,
Steve

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Steve

Ongoing education is essential, whether formal or not doesn’t matter people need to keep learning. There is so much free ways to learn a college education really doesn;t matter the way it used to. It used to be that many HS grads could be SMARTER than college grads. NOw is is also easy for them to also be a heck of a lot more KNOWLEDGABLE because of the free flow of information and ability to learn on their own.

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William

Hey the law of attraction must work!
This topic was heavily on my mind today. I for sure am going to the Air Force Academy to get my bachelors in business management. They have the #1 program in the US for it :)

BUT I for sure am not getting a PHD. And the part of confusion comes with the masters. I do believe and agree that no college degree will really bring success in internet marketing, some like programming can just help. So I am asking multiple sources to come to my final conclusion about a masters in business administration. I have been told that the MBA is mainly just to look good on corporate job applications, but I am considering it because it teaches everything to know about running a business, especially the financial management part. Or is that an untrue assumption? I am now second guessing myself because I do not want any offline businesses. All online and really I think online business is learned online. Except for the financial part and maybe some other parts what is your take on whether or not I should get a masters in business administration? Either the marketing/finance category or the ebusiness/ecommerce category. Do you think those degrees would be outdated compared to the great courses that actual internet marketers teach today? Or do you think a MBA would prove valuable?

If you could honestly pick one master’s degree to have had before starting your online business that would give you an edge, even a small one, what would you pick? Or are there none?

Respectfully,

William

Reply

Steve

Well a couple of things. Business management will not do you wrong. Like I said, it is what I got my Master’s in. I do not use it everyday for my current business, but I did learn some things.

That being said for SPECIFICALLY internet marketing the majority of what you learn will be on your own. There are many things you can major in that could help you out. English, to increase writing facility, programming, and business, of course. Even something like psychology. It almost doesn’t matter. The BEST part about college is teaching you how to think and learn, not what you learn.

Your degree will be something that is important as a fallback. It is never wise to burn bridges or close doors. I am not sure if there really is such a thing as “great internet marketers course” If you are lucky you may find a couple classes that are really useful.

Online your knowledge (specific to IM) is going to be a lot fresher and better, and I have found that many of the best things you can learn in IM are simply the things that you learn by doing it!

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Cole Stan

Personally, formal education to become an internet marketer isn’t that necessary. You just need to learn how to deal with things in order to be successful on your chosen field. However, I must admit that I was able to use my degree when it comes to business dealings. Strategies from my marketing professor, analyzation from my accounting professors, etc…

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Jonny Gibaud

I actually think having the college education can actually be a hindrance, although I do have a degree.

The problem with the education system is that it is risk adverse, there is only one right answer and getting things wrong has to be avoided at all cost.

In the internet game and business those that risk big, win big, there is always lots of right ways to do things and the more successful you re usually the more failures you have had along then way.
The school system just doesn’t prepare people for the real world.

Reply

Steve

It could be a hindrance. I see your point. I got started with my first real job being pretty crappy and unfulfilling with substandard pay. If my job had been better after college by a few percentages. (pay and conditions) I might have been comfortable enough I wouldn’t have wanted to make the gamble.

I am still not sure whether I would say I regreted college. I don’t think I do, I did learn things, and most importantly learned how to learn. But the information for the most part has not been needed and as you said it can prevent people from taking the big gamble.

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Mark Bell

Hey,
I have a Master of Engineering in Aerospace Engineering, and hopefully soon a PhD – but it hasn’t really helped with my blogging.

I’ve found that my blogging is driven more by my personality and my intent to learn more and meet more people. The only thing my degrees have done is give me some experience, which I honestly feel, had I not had, I’d have had experiences from other sources to draw upon. So they don’t bring anything to the table really.

The only time I can think they would, is if/when I run an aerospace engineering blog.

I believe that internet marketing is a personality driven career, where those personable people can excel. You need entrepreneurial qualities. Much of this I don’t think you can formally teach people, but rather they develop naturally.

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Steve Scott

Now Aerospace Engineering, that I imagine as being something that you certainly need to go to college to get your degree in, it is nothing you could every really, learn online, no doubts there.

But like you said, it is unlikely to help you blog much.

You are right, blogging is about personality a lot. Maybe more so than anything else. It may be that you see something for the first time on a blog. It may even be the blogger has never seen the idea before. The reality is that there are few new idea’s under the sun and what separates one blog from the next is simply stylistic differences.

One of those biggest stylistic differences is whether your blog readers simply, “like you”

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Teresa

Well, I don’t have a college degree. Some days I feel like I can’t possibly be successful in the business world without it, but most days I realize that’s just the monster of self-doubt growling in my ear.

Sometimes I have to remind myself that my favourite people are smart. Most of them have achieved degrees, and I can still have conversations with them. They like me. People with degrees read my blog. I follow a meandering path of continual learning without a framework and it seems to work for me.

The days of the day-job seem to be behind me now, and I think it will be great, once I get into the rhythm of it. It’s good to hear that others agree that I’m not necessarily lacking for my lack of a university education.

Hugs and butterflies,
`~Teresa~

Reply

Steve Scott

Well, reading through the comments I think it is pretty universal the most people consider a degree in college to have absolutely no bearing on success or failure. So I would never let any self doubt get in the way if I were you.

In fact the sentiment from a few seems to run counter to that; a college eduction may hinder success, because much of the rote learning seems to inhibit and go against risk taking.

Glad you liked it and thank you very much for the Hugs and butterflies :)

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Bishwajeet

I think it depends on the college you are studying, if you are going to some good college then even if you don’t learn any stuff in class room then you ll learn from your peers. Not only that, you ll have some good contact in case you need them sometimes in future.

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Steve Scott

Networking and peer contact are great points that I hadn’t really thought of. You can never have enough of that.

Of course if you spend the same time networking online you might also come up with networking and contacts. But a good college certainly does teach you how to “go about” being social and learning how to network, just by way of going there.

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John Kohl

College is definitinely only an option when it comes to internet marketing. It is a good thing to have and a great experience to find out what you want to do. But, if you’re set on doing internet marketing, college isn’t essential. You can learn just as much just being on the internet as you could in a classroom. Although, I do recommend everyone give college a shot.

Reply

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