A common trait you will find in many online professionals is the background of being self-taught. It’s something we seem to be very proud of, a sort of retrospective fuck you to academia.
Perhaps the single greatest appeal, and challenge, of making a living online, is the ease of which you can get started. There’s no degree necessary, no interview process, and each individual takes on full responsibility for his or her self.
We should consider ourselves lucky that money can be made with just a modem and a little common sense.
Unfortunately, modems are in heavy supply. And so is the number of would-be entrepreneurs who think they have what it takes to make a living online. It appears that some people are better at self-teaching than others.
I made the decision when I was just 16 years old that I wanted to run my own business. It didn’t happen overnight, and thank god it didn’t. I was a trainwreck through the mid 2000s. After dropping out from school, I spent the next 18 months lurching from one disasterous idea to the next – both in my personal life, and professionally.
When Facebook Timeline is released, don’t be surprised if 2004-2007 is obliterated from my records. It already has been in my head.
My only other job to that point was a 3 month stint at Wickes in Hayes. If God decided to stick the vacuum in the arse end of society, he would probably start with Hayes. It’s a genuinely ugly place.
I wanted my own business, and I wanted to work online. I didn’t want to spend the rest of my days surfing double decker buses straight out of a stabbing scene on the Uxbridge Road.
There aren’t many IT companies that would take on an 18 year old who dropped out of school, and the IT industry was where I saw my future. So I had to develop experience and knowledge on my lonesome.
Private classes were expensive (Baker Street, London…ouch) and they still left me short on opportunities. I went to a couple of job interviews but was finding myself squeezed out of the reckoning. Too young, not enough drive, bad haircut, whatever. I think the most I had going for myself was a strange immunity to taking it personally.
That’s when I stumbled across VTC, a plain looking site that may have just saved my career when it was threatening to flatline.
If you’re going to get a headstart on the kids attending university, you really need information and training materials for your chosen profession. And lots of them.
Back then, when I discovered VTC, it was like hitting the jackpot.
VTC has over 98000 tutorials covering almost every programming language, application or software you’re ever likely to use. For anybody with web development tingling their taste buds, it’s an excellent one stop resource where you can learn as many basics as you can put your mind to.
Eventually my crazy self-teaching binge paid off and I was able to capture a junior web developer job on the back of my portfolio (and probably my desire to learn).
Two years later and I was hired by an agency in Central London, again as the youngest employee in the company. I stayed there for 15 months before quitting to go full-time with my affiliate business. It wasn’t a particularly researched decision. I woke up one morning, checked my affiliate stats, saw my first day of £1000 profit and that was that. Au revoir, mon petit 9 to 5.
I was 21 when I made that jump, right in the middle of the recession. While many of my friends were still labouring through University, I felt an enormous weight of gratitude towards that one site – VTC – which gave me the tools to burst in to an industry that I was a complete virgin to.
If you have the right attitude, the Internet typically has the right resources to launch your career. Remember though, self-teaching is only an option if you have the discipline to execute a kick to your own balls when you deserve one.
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