Qualifications? Screw ‘em. Your Time Can Be Better Spent

Me, graduating. Not displayed proudly in anyone's home. Weirdly.

Me, graduating. Not displayed proudly in anyone’s home. Weirdly.

I burned all my old certificates a couple of days ago. (Alright, so I shredded them. But that’s not such a good opener, is it?)

My GCSEs (two Bs, four Cs and three Ds, baby), my photography A-Level, my Food Hygiene certificate (don’t ask), my Diploma in Media, my fucking Apprenticeship in “Team Leading” — all gone. I even shredded my Personal Licence, which legally allows me to serve alcohol in England and Wales. (Which, by the by, is a certificate you’re supposed to “surrender” when you decide you don’t want it any more, but I loves breakin’ me some rules.)

The thing is, you really don’t need any qualifications. Not if you want to do your own thing. (Unless “your own thing” happens to be like, brain surgery or something. But I’m guessing not. Disclaimer: DONE. Now if you decide to go ahead and be a brain surgeon without getting the right qualifications, don’t you even think about suing me, you pesky blighter.)

So no: if you want to start a business, you don’t need qualifications. I mean, you can just fucking start it, right?

Example: Having a Journalism degree (as I do), or an English degree, or any other writey degree is by no means a prerequisite to a successful freelance writing career. (And it certainly won’t stop you using words like “writey.”) I could definitely have done what I’ve done without my degree. (In fact, my degree’s specialism was radio. Suck it!)

There’s no one to tell you you can’t do it without a degree. There’s nothing to apply for. No interviews. Just you, your idea and your gumption.

Imagine if, instead of spending 3-4 years studying, you spent that time building your first business? You’d end up way ahead of all your peers who went the traditional route. YOU’D LEARN SO MUCH. Even if it didn’t work out so well, you’d still be in a better position to start your next business, thanks to everything you learned along the way. I can say with absolute certainty that I have learned more in these past two years than I did during my entire degree.

All you need to do is claim it. Just own it. Tell people what you do, how you can help them, and go from there.

(Confession: I didn’t actually shred my Journalism degree. But I will. One day. Maybe. ANYWAY, the point is: I don’t need it. And neither do you.)

Maybe You DON’T Need a Safety Net

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There’s a common piece of advice that floats around the startup community: “Build up a safety net before you take the leap/quit your job/start your business/whatever.” It means you should make sure you have some cash in reserve before you make any drastic alterations to your income, such as quitting your regularly-paid job to focus […]

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31 Signs You Should Start Your Own Business

Fuck it.

You get frustrated when morons you work with have more responsibility than you.   That includes your boss, who is definitely a moron.   You don’t cope well with being told what to do.   You think it’s fucking stupid having to go to work for a set amount of time, when you can easily […]

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More Silly Writing Mistakes My Students Make

A few months ago I wrote about some of the most common mistakes my students make when writing articles. Since then I’ve run the class three more times, and so, naturally, I am back with even more mistakes my students make on the regular. Let’s go. Inverted Comma Splice Ha! I just made that up. […]

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What to Do When You’re Paralysed with Fear and Can’t Take the First Step

I met for coffee with one of my readers today. She wants to start her own freelance writing business — has wanted to for years, in fact — but she’s never been able to take the first step. Because she’s paralysed with fear. Because she’s a perfectionist and doesn’t want to get it wrong. Because […]

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