As a business that was started from a high school project back in 2005, our hearts go out to current high school students and recent graduates.
Not only have they missed out on many senior activities due to the pandemic, but they are also facing a difficult decision - is taking on a student loan for college still worth it?
This question was once a no-brainer. Most adults would tell you (and expected you) to go to college straight out of high school.
However, given the state of the economy, high rates for student loans, and job opportunities available, if you're not planning on becoming a doctor or a lawyer, is it necessary?
Should other avenues such as a trade school or starting your own business online be considered instead?
Times Have Changed...
Nowadays, there's no guarantee that you'll get a job that allows you to pay off your student loan while actually getting to live your life (buying a house, raising kids, traveling the world or pursuing your hobbies).
There also isn't the same level of appreciation for company loyalty, or any real promise of job security anymore. So, are you doing yourself a disservice by saddling yourself with debt early on without a certain roadmap for repayment?
New Opportunities Through the Internet
The internet has created opportunities that previously did not exist. You can work remotely, learn something new, or connect with people from around the world.
You also now have the option of making money as you learn.
Whether you want to learn how to code, design, cook, improve yourself, build something, etc., you can learn it on the internet! There are so many resources out there for you to custom tailor your education to support the skills and experience you need.
At the end of the day, if you have the experience and can get the job done, does it matter if you don't have a degree from an expensive school?
If you work for yourself it sure doesn't!
So, in a world with Instagram influencers, Twitch streamers and young entrepreneurs, a loan for college might not be what you need right now.
What 2020 Has Taught Us
Many employees had to be laid off, or put on leave during the pandemic. There was no real job security (especially for non-essential workers), and it didn't take long for those deemed as essential to feel like they were being taken for granted.
There's also recently been a shift in more employees wanting to work from home, and many businesses are fighting this, hoping to push people back in the office.
So, as you consider this important decision and strive to build work experience, what's the best option for you?
Be your own boss, work from home & get paid to learn.
Even if your goal is to work from home while you figure things out, make some money and build your resume, starting a business online can help you do that.
We appreciate that we probably sound biased, so let's talk about the pros and cons of starting an online business.
You get to set your own schedule (try out the 4 day work week, and/or create a schedule that gives you work/life balance)
Software now makes it easy to get online and streamline your process (book your services, accept payments, schedule social media & blog posts, automate your marketing, etc.) For more on the power of automation, read this!
Can have minimal upfront costs if you're willing to put time into creating a plan & learning basic technology
Allows you to build your resume & create your own work experience if you decide you'd like to work for someone else
Even if you take the frugal route, there are still some upfront costs (for example, purchasing a domain, hosting for your website, creating a logo, taking time to build your website, and branding your business - more involved for product businesses that manage their own inventory than service-based businesses)
Being self-employed can be lonely and may be difficult for those who enjoy being around other people at the office (it can also lead to burn out if you do not practice a healthy work/life balance)
You may choose to create a designated space in your home for your business (this may require purchasing office or storage equipment), but this is a personal preference
You'll need to make sure you're complying with any state or federal regulations that pertain to your business
Business Ideas You Can Start From Your Home
Print on Demand Store (sell online without the hassle of fulfillment, shipping or order minimums) This can be achieved with Wix and either the Printful or Printify app - you will need to create designs that work with the products you pick (high resolution, customize placement & generate your product photos, but these apps can guide you through it)
Sell homemade products (soaps & bath bombs, t-shirts, jewelry, candles, photos, cosmetics, pet treats, etc.)
Offer an online service (copywriter, editor and proofreader, SEO strategist, social media consultant, virtual assistant, freelance researcher, etc.)
Teach an online class (yoga, organization, cooking, a hobby your passionate about, etc.)
Productize a service (what repeatable service can produce an outcome that solves a problem/serves a need for your client?) For example, our Website in a Day program is a productized service that delivers an outcome with a set, repeatable process.
Subscription box business (curate items and offer them on your store as a subscription service)
Buy and sell thrifted items (you can choose to modify the item before listing it, but this is a great way to find unique pieces to sell)
Get Paid While You Learn!
College is always an option, but it might not be for everyone (or might be worth revisiting at a later time). We hope this post inspires you to create your online business and build your own work experience.
Whether it's a side hustle, or something you pursue before you decide if college is right for you, starting an online business is a great learning experience that adds value to your life!