Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Earn a good living without college

Heavy equipment operators make great money without degrees

Unemployment and underemployment continue to plague millions according to the Labor department. While all the talking heads blather about why (one theory is that high gas prices prompted people to stop driving to work and apply for unemployment instead…really?) the simple fact is that the economy is never going to return to the Ozzie And Harriet days of dad working 40 hours to support a nice house, wife, and 2.5 kids.

The thinking of the past, that two to eight years of college will lead to a high-paying career (in the field you trained for) is gone. One recent study showed that it takes 14 years of post-graduate work, on average, for a college graduate’s pay – not counting repaying student loans – to surpass the pay of the average high school graduate who went straight into the work force. 14 years. How much could you earn in 14 years?
If you are looking for a new career path, instead of going to college, or kicking yourself for not having gone to college, consider some of the following:
Real estate. Real estate news tends to focus on mortgage rates and new construction. But there has been an upsurge in sales at the low end of the housing market. Real estate agents are having to work a lot harder than they did in years past, for smaller commissions, but there is a lot of work out there. Active, full-time agents are averaging more than $100,000 a year.
Trades. My friend Jason was working in a call center 10 years ago, making barely above minimum wage. The job went away, and he decided to sign up for HVAC school. 9 months later employers were lined up to offer him a job. Today he makes over $3000 a week. Other trades, such as certified welder, electrician, or plumber also make way above the average college grad.
Get licensed. Getting a legitimate certificate or license in anything – from cutting hair to taking x-rays – will give you a better income than run-of-the-mill labor, without spending 4 years running up student loans. For example, 2 months’ study or less will prepare you for the NFPA-10 exam to become a certified inspector of fire extinguishers. If you didn't know that was a thing, you're not alone. Next time you're in a Walmart or a Target  or any commercial space, look for the inspection tag hanging off the fire extinguisher. I guarantee you it has been punched within the last 12 months. Certified inspectors can make up to $100,000 a year if they hustle.
There are dozens if not hundreds of licensed positions out there. My friend Paul recently retired from a certificate position in waste water treatment. He was making over $150k per year. Look around on the internet.

Youtube. 10 years ago, becoming a blogger or vlogger, a content creator on Youtube, was a license to print money. Relatively few make a full living at it anymore. But if you produce content consistently you can build an audience, then use the audience to increase your income, such as by selling them products. The latest smart trend in Youtubers is to come up with projects that cross-connect to other Youtubers, so they end up sharing their audiences. I stumbled across Matt's Off-Road Recovery a couple years ago, which ended up introducing me to a channel called Fabrats, another called Casey LaDelle, and still another called Trail Mater. A typical money-maker for these is to enter purchasers of their merchandise into a drawing for a huge giveaway, such as a car. (If they can afford to give away a car, they must be selling a ton of hats and t-shirts.)

Clean. Several of my friends have started cleaning businesses with not much more than a mop and bucket. Some have managed to just pay the bills, others have been very successful. My friend Lucy spent several years building up a house-cleaning business. As she found more lucrative clients, she passed the lesser-paying ones to her friends, until she was able to support herself with just 5 clients. My friend Will in Rhode Island turned his mop-and-bucket into a million dollar business.
If you are among the 10 to 20 percent that are unemployed, I feel for you, honestly. If you are among the hundreds of thousands working toward a degree thinking you’ll have it made when you graduate, I really feel for you.
But the fact that you are reading this tells me you have a terrific asset available to you: the Internet. Do some research. Google phrases like 'certificate class,' 'side hustles', or 'little known jobs.' SEO is a huge field, check that out. Find a niche; don’t place artificial limits on what you think you can or can’t do. For more information, check out my book "99 Ways to Fire Your Boss."
Most importantly, don’t allow yourself to be identified by what you do to support yourself. That’s just how you earn your living, it isn't who you are.
Your polite comments are welcome. 
Bill Underwood is a columnist and author of several books, all available on Amazon.com. You can help support this site by purchasing a book. 

1 comment:

  1. Good info, honest, smart. Confidence that there are self -discoverable opportunities for income, will lead to confidence in carrying out the act of discovery.