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Be Successful in Life Without a College Degree – 50 Tips to Help You

Not everyone have the chance of getting a degree. Are you such a person? If YES, here are 50 tips on how to become successful in life without going to college. According to recent statistics, about 44 million people in the owe student loans worth over .45 trillion dollars. The most amusing thing about this is that most of the people who took out these loans, spend a huge part of their lives, if not the rest of their lives, paying off the debt.

This is largely due to the fact that some are unable to get jobs after college, while some just get jobs that can barely pay the bills. If you took out a loan equivalent to all your college expenses (including tuition and living expenses), and used it to start a business instead of going to college, there is a very huge chance that by the time your mates are graduating from college, you would have built a successful business empire and maybe employ a few of your colleagues with college degrees.

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The bottom-line is that college degrees are overrated. There are a lot of successful people in the world today who never went to college. People like Steve Jobs, Richard Branson, Dave Thomas, David Green, Larry Ellison, Kevin Rose, Michael Dell, and Rachael Ray become multi-millionaires without college degrees.

You can also become very successful without a college degree, and if you want to ditch college and begin charting the course of your life straight out of high school, here are a few tips to help you succeed.

50 Tips on How to Be Successful in Life Without Going to College

Table of Content

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1. Read Books

The whole point behind going to college is to help you broaden your knowledge on various subjects and issues so that you can cope with any challenges you come across in the real world.
Well, who says you can’t achieve that on your own?

Become a voracious reader and start reading as many books and journals as you can lay your hands upon. Don’t just read fiction or topics you find interesting, read all topics and subjects you can think of in your head so that you can gain better knowledge than people who went to college.

2. Take Online Courses

These days, it is easy to take just about any course online and get certified. You can cut out college and take a professional course that can help you get a job and become successful.

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3. Get a Mentor

Everyone needs a mentor, college degree or not. If you want to be very successful in business or in any career you choose, it helps to get someone who is successful and experienced in that field to teach and guide you. They may be able to show you some of the secrets they used to get to the top, and help you avoid making some of the mistakes that they made.

4. Invest in Real Estate

You don’t need a college degree to become a realtor. You can start with taking the professional exams that would qualify you to become a realtor then start helping people sell their homes and earn a commission. Continue to save up some portion of the commission you earn and when you have enough, buy your first property and rent it out or buy a very cheap property, revamp it, and then sell it for profit.

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5. Invest Your College Loan

Even if you don’t need a college loan, don’t leave that opportunity on the table. Take the loan and invest it in a high yielding account and let the interest continue to accumulate. By the time loan repayment is due, take out the principal along with whatever interest you are required to pay, and pay back in full, then use the rest of the interest to start a business or expand your existing business.

6. Become a Freelancer

There are so many freelancing opportunities online and don’t think those people don’t make a lot of money because they do. You can try to learn a skill that you can start offering online in exchange for money- you can become a freelance writer, graphics artist, voice-over artist, web designer or an app developer amongst others.

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7. Develop Your Marketing Skills

College degree or not, you need to learn how to be a good marketer because at some point during your career, you would need to sell something whether it is your services or yourself. Read books and take courses that would teach you how to be a great and successful marketer because this would boost your chances of success.

8. Set up an eCommerce Store

You can set up the next Amazon or the next eBay. Think of how to start very small and design a website that you can use to start selling items. You don’t need to have money in your account to set up an eCommerce store; you can adopt the dropshipping model where you get wholesalers who can ship directly to your customers anytime you get an order.

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9. Learn How to Manage Time

Time management is very important for anyone who desires to be successful in life. Many College graduates are unable to make headway in life because they lack effective time management skills. You need to understand that time is very limited and to be successful, you have to avoid time wasting habits especially procrastination, and learn how to make judicious use of your time.

10. Network

You would always need people in life. Whether you decide to start a business or work for other people, you would need people one way or the other, so make sure you start out early to build and expand your network. Make friends with people who can help you expand your business, career or self.

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11. Become an IT Specialist

You don’t need a college degree to be able to work in the information technology world and everyone knows that IT jobs pay the most money these days. Consider taking an IT course, get certified and begin your career without going to college.

12. Avoid Debt Like a Plaque

If you go on to accumulate too much debt, you may end up regretting your decision to skip out on college because you would need a lot more money to maintain a good standard of living. Debt slows you down so you should avoid it (especially credit card debts and other high interest debts), and focus on how to use whatever you have to build your life and career.

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13. Build Multiple Sources of Income

This is probably not your first time of hearing the saying that, “the average millionaire has 7 sources of income.” If you want to be very successful, one source of income would not cut it, make sure you develop several sources of income.

14. Take Passive Income Very Seriously

Passive income helps you earn money even while you are sleeping. Make sure you develop different passive income sources so that you can keep earning money whether you are actively working or on a holiday.

15. Invent Something

If you don’t want to spend the rest of your life working to help other people build their dreams, you should begin working on your own dreams. Think of something you can invent; some problem you can solve. You would not only make money but you would also be able to write your name on the sands of time like Steve Jobs who would never be forgotten for creating the iPhone.

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16. Develop a Strong Savings Habit

Avoid being a wasteful spender and learn to live according to your means.

17. Develop Strong Leadership Skills

You can get to the top of your career or job easily if you learn how to be a good leader. Most companies are not looking for people with the highest qualifications to lead, but people with the strongest leadership skills that can lead the rest of the team to succeed. With exceptional leadership skills, you would find it easier to become a CEO or occupy any top position at your job even without a college degree.

18. Be Ready to Work

Put in more work than the average college degree holder. Success requires a lot of hard work so be ready for some sleepless nights and some overtime.

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19. Develop Your Negotiation Skills

Negotiation is a very valuable skill for anyone who craves success. You would need to do some negotiation at some point in your career and people who know how to negotiate are usually naturally ahead of others. Hence, you should learn how to be a strong negotiator and get what you want from people whilst showing them that it is a win-win situation.

20. Learn How to be a Good Problem Solver

You need to learn how to think on your feet and solve problems. This is a very important skill whether you want to become an entrepreneur or an employee.

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21. Build Work Experience

Educational qualification and work experience are equally important to recruiters. Even if you don’t have a lot of educational qualification, you would still be hot cake to recruiters if you can show them that you have garnered a lot of experience in the field. So while your mates are in college, start working small jobs, internships and volunteering at companies in the industry where you want to work. Gradually, you would be able gain enough work experience that can help you compete with anyone with a degree.

22. Develop Transferable Skills

Transferable skills are skills that are relevant to every industry. When you have transferable skills, you are able to work in any job and any industry.

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23. Be a Fighter

The truth is that the road to success is not always smooth. There would be some bumps along the road and the only way to succeed in spite of these challenges is to develop a fighting, never-say-die spirit so that you can always get back up whenever you fall.

24. Publish Your Research

You don’t need to go to college to conduct and publish a research paper. You can establish yourself as an authority in your chosen career, and get the attention of recruiters and other professionals by publishing a research.

25. Work for a Professional in Your Field

You can job-shadow a reputable professional in your field with or without remuneration. With the knowledge and experience you would gain from them, you can easily set up your own business or cite that experience in your resume.

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26. Use Social Media

Social media is more helpful than you know. You can network and develop meaningful friendships even from outside your country on social media; you can sell items on social media, build recognition for yourself or brand, and so many other things. If you are only using your social media account to chat and stalk people, then you are doing it wrongly.

27. Take Local Classes

If you want to experience what it feels like to go to college without having to commit to obtaining a college degree, then you can take classes at your local community college. These courses are not for credit but they help you learn a lot, and network with other people too.

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28. Take Care of Your Health

Health is wealth, without a good health, there would be a limit to what you can achieve. It is important to eat well, exercise, and take adequate care of yourself so that you can always be in the right frame of mind to function well.

29. Invest Your Money

Take out some money from your savings regularly, and invest it. You can invest in stocks, start another business, expand an existing business or hire a financial manager to help you manage the funds.

30. Travel the World

Travelling is a means of learning. You get to see the world from other people’s perspectives, learn new things about other people’s culture and develop business ideas that you can use in your own locality.

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31. Become a Sportsperson

Most successful sportsmen and women today never went to college. If you have a sporting talent, don’t suppress it; develop that talent and look for ways to go pro with it.

32. Develop Your Artistic Talents

If you can sing, dance or act, don’t waste your time going to college to learn how to become an Engineer. Instead, you should focus on developing those talents so that you can become successful with it.

33. Learn How to Adapt

You also need to learn how to adapt to new situations and changes. The world is constantly revolving and this is why some people with college degrees find out that what they learned at college have become obsolete by the time they get out of college.

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34. Learn a New Language

The world has become a global village and it helps a lot if you can communicate and sell your business and services to other people outside your country. For instance, if you learn how to speak Chinese, you won’t need an interpreter or middleman if you choose to do business in China.

35. Start Farming

Farming is a very lucrative business because very few people want to farm, meanwhile every single human in the world depends on the proceeds of farming for survival.

36. Don’t Start a Family without Financial Stability

You skipped out on college but it helps to ensure that you have some measure of financial stability before you start a family. Remember that taking care of family costs money and time, and if you don’t have a clear idea of where your life is headed before you start a family, then you might find yourself drowning at some point.

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37. Go to a Trade School

Trade schools are specifically for teaching skills to succeed in a specific job. They are relatively cheaper, require less time, and teach you the specific skills you need to succeed in your chosen career.

38. Join the Military

The military would train you to succeed on the job, and also employ you. When you join the military, you don’t need to deal with college tuition fees.

39. Obtain a Degree on-the-job

If going to a college is something that you still have on your bucket list, you can easily sign up for a part-time course and attend classes in the evenings or during weekends.

40. Start Saving for Retirement Early

Don’t neglect your retirement age. Start planning for it as soon as you start working. Save as much as you can so that you can live comfortably even after you have retired.

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41. Set Goals and Achieve Them

Make sure you are living a goal-oriented life. Set goals and work towards achieving them. The more goals you achieve, the more motivated and fulfilled you would become.

42. Live Purposefully

Live a life that pleases you and avoid being a people pleaser. Not everyone is going to understand or support you and you must learn to be okay with that.

43. Surround Yourself With Positive People

Surround yourself with people who understand and support your decision to skip college. Avoid critics who would make you feel like your life is doomed because you chose not to obtain a college degree.

44. Learn How to Work Without Supervision

Don’t be the type of person who is always waiting for a boss to force them to work. Learn how to put in your best even without supervision.

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45. Become a Minimalist

If you want to save more money, learn how to live with only the things you need. Avoid acquiring material things especially designer items and items that you hardly use. A minimalist would usually have one car, a house whose rooms are all occupied, and clothes that they wear regularly. Basically, you need to learn how to avoid wasteful expenditure.

46. Be a Joy to be Around

You need to build your social skills so that people can be comfortable with, and around you. Some college graduates find it hard to keep jobs, and keep moving from one job to another because they have nasty attitudes and poor relationship skills.

47. Always Learn from Feedback

Ask people for feedback on how they think you can improve on your skills, products and services, and use their feedback to improve yourself. Don’t get angry when people criticize your work or services, instead use their criticisms to improve yourself.

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48. Develop Self-Confidence

Sometimes, people would not believe in you or that you have anything to offer. In times like this, it is the confidence that you have in yourself that would help you pull through. This is why it is very important for you to develop your self-confidence skills and always believe in yourself.

49. Develop Your Communication Skills

Learn how to communicate with people especially when you are not pleased with them or agitated. Knowing how to communicate with people is a very important skill for building and maintaining relationships.

50. Offer Consulting Service

Lastly, look for a skill or service that you are naturally very good at, develop the skill and then start offering consulting services to other people in exchange for cash.