As part of the promotion for this year’s B-School program with my friend Marie, I wanted to point out two very clear things:
1. I think this course is fantastic, and well worth the cost. If you like the idea of establishing a freedom business, like I’ve done and so many AONC readers have done, this is a great way to get going in a structured program.
2. If you don’t have the money or aren’t sure you’re ready, you don’t need to pay for this or anything else. You’re not “missing out.” There are always other ways you can learn and participate.
In other words, a) it’s really good, and b) you should feel no pressure from me or anyone else.
As an author, I like it when people read my books. Of course, I want them to sell, too—I wouldn’t be able to do what I do without the ecosystem of publishers, distributors, and retailers that make books possible.
But if you can’t afford $23 or whatever my books cost at a bookstore (even cheaper on Amazon, of course), then you should borrow them from your local library without shame. Or you can do what I used to do almost every day of the week: visit a bookstore, patronize the cafe, and read for an hour at a time.
Yes, you can learn anything on your own. And you should! You should actively learn wherever you go.
Study restaurant menus. The next time you visit a restaurant, take a careful look at the menu. The average restaurant menu contains more than 100 items, and if it’s been well-designed, everything is there for a reason. Why is lobster expensive even though there’s a huge oversupply of lobster? Because people think it should be. Why are there no half-portion (and half-price) desserts? Because if people want dessert, they’ll probably buy it no matter the cost.
Start a blog. It’s no surprise that I’m a big fan of blogging. As you build relationships and share something useful, relationships will be your greatest asset—no matter what you do in the future. You can get a perfectly fine (and highly reliable) hosting account for less than $5 a month.
Apprentice yourself. Work at no charge for someone you know. Volunteer to help or join a team. (Note: there may be some legal issues associated with working for free. But those are someone else’s problem, not yours. Your task is to learn however you can.)
Experiment. The single best thing you can do is start something—anything at all. Become an instant consultant. Sell something on eBay, Craigslist, or any other directory. There’s incredible freedom in making money for the first time on your own. Don’t wait! Learn by doing!
All That’s Great—So Why Buy Anything?
So why should you take a course? Well… because it usually makes life much easier. You gain specific knowledge in a set period of time, and you gain access to a group of experts who can guide you along the way.
I buy books because I don’t want to go back to the bookstore whenever I need to read something. I want to have everything I need readily available.
A course like Marie’s is great because it provides a structured, supported, environment. This fact alone has real value.
Tens of thousands of people a year make a huge, no-going-back investment on getting an MBA or otherwise committing to an extended higher education program—and it pretty much always costs more than $2,000.
At the time of this post, Google tells me that the average cost of an MBA in North America is $111,418. I was never good at math, but even I know that $2,000 is a small investment compared to $100k+—and I’d argue that it’s actually a better investment for a lot of people.
Oh, and when you go to “actual business school,” there’s no guarantee. I like Marie’s guarantee: you have to do the work and show you made an effort. But if it really, really doesn’t work for you, you don’t pay.
There are lots of good reasons to sign up for B-School or invest in other resources. I regularly invest in my own learning whenever I can. But you certainly don’t have to. You should do what’s best for you. You should always, always make your decisions without pressure or guilt.