In Frankly Friday

When I was 17, I wanted to be a music producer. 

The path presented to me was an $80,000 program at a music school.

It seemed logical: pay to learn the skills, then get a job that pays you for those skills.

Lucky for me, I met a guy who had gone to that school, paid the money, learned the skills, and had a blast. There was only one problem: he was broke. 

I took a closer look at my options. 

Also, lucky for me, I had a job at a music store that sold recording equipment. As part of my training, they let me borrow some of it. 

Luckiest of all, there was a new website called “YouTube.” It was full of videos about how to use that equipment—and they were free! 

I made a goal to watch an hour of training per day for a whole year. I wanted to see if I could learn how to be a producer without the expensive school.

In the meantime, I recorded songs for some local bands pro bono. Word spread and more bands started calling. 

I started charging them a little bit of money. 

As I got more experienced, I started charging more money.

In a little less than one year, I had made over $20,000 as a self-taught music producer. 

And you know what?

I figured out that I didn’t like that career nearly as much as I thought I would. So I gave the business to my friend from the fancy school and moved on to my next thing. 

But can I tell you something?

The money I earned was nothing compared to the lesson I learned:

Getting paid to learn is WAY sweeter than paying to learn. 

That lesson has proved to be worth 100x more.

When I was 21, I wanted to go into advertising. The conventional option was a $60,000 marketing degree.

When I was 24, I wanted to be a pilot. The conventional option was a $100,000 flight school. 

When I was 29, I wanted to be an author. The conventional option was a $50,000 traditional publishing route. 

But I had learned long ago that there is a better way. So I repeated the process: 

  • I studied advertising for an hour a day for a whole year. 
  • I gave free marketing services to practice what I was learning.That got me the real job in advertising…
  • Which took me to see clients in an airplane with a flight instructor
  • Which allowed me to get my pilot’s license on the job
  • Which got me the consulting experience I needed to write, publish, and promote my own book

The principle has come through for me hundreds of times. The alternate path isn’t always crystal clear, but know this for sure: there is always an alternate path. 

Three questions for you:

  1. What do you want to do next?
  2. What conventional option has been presented to you? 
  3. What better way can you find?

Don’t forget that traditional wisdom is usually more tradition than it is wisdom.

And don’t ever believe the lie that you aren’t yet qualified to start right now.

Get paid to learn, my friend. It’s better this way.





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