As a person with two master degrees, I have always given importance to education. The eagerness and hunger to learn mattered to me more than anything. If I had to choose between education and any other aspects of life, I always chose academics.
But, after I graduated and came out of the cocoon into the real world and I realized that education did not always mean university degrees.
Common sense and acquired skills had more to do with life than formal structured education. Not many people were able to balance the best of both.
I learned that Harvard or IIT graduates works under entrepreneurs and risk takers who did not complete courses.
In the real world being somebody’s somebody matters more than working hard or qualifications.
At the same time, academic programs are far behind in providing the skillsets that are needed to move forward in the digital era. Most of the university curriculums are not catching up with the pace of advancement in the workplace skills.
Now, more than a degree what you need is a skill, the ability to use that skill, and will power to make something happen out of it. If you have academic qualifications on top of that, nothing can stop you. But, the skill is ultimately more important in 2020 than a degree. Hence no, to be a freelancer, all require is a skill, good internet connection and a laptop.
8 ways to become a freelancer without a degree!
- Find your skill: Sounds simple. But let me tell you that it is a grinding process. You will have to go through an active process of understanding yourself, your abilities, what you respond to in the universe and what you are actually good at.
For example, if you are good at painting but you studied engineering, you should not let your degree stop you from pursuing what you are actually good at. But at the same time, make sure that it is commercially viable by understanding its real scope in the world. If required, you could learn digital painting and integrate new trends with your skill. Make sure to update every skill!
2. Find your tools: it is important to find the tools that will help you with your performance. Just like how important it is to have a bat and shoes for a batsman, you require the tools for your craft. If you are freelancing as a photographer or a photo journalist, having a good camera, good editing software, tripod etc. are not luxury but they are essential for your craft. Similarly, if you are a graphic designer, you need access to Photoshop, Illustrator or other similar software.
3. Take an online course: sometimes, even you if have a certificate in the traditional setting, it will be helpful to take online courses that will help you catch up with the new trends. It might help you to upskill or to widen your horizons about your area of interest.
4. Find a mentor: sometimes, a mentor can make a huge difference in you. Finding somebody who is accomplished in the same field and asking for support and guidance will help you to face the realities in the field and to expect what is to be expected. They might already have gone through that journey.
5. Practice to practice: Practice makes perfect! After careful consideration, when you find out which is your skill and what you need to market, you need to hone your skills from an amateur level to the expert level. It is completely inevitable to succeed in the path you have chosen.
6. Network: networking is as important as doing the work. Nobody will know what you are up to until you are known to public. Networking will put you on the map and the map will direct you to the destination. Never underestimate the power of networking.
7. Use LinkedIn: LinkedIn is a [powerful networking tool that will help you to network virtually and make a difference.
8. YouTube: YouTube has answer to every query you have. Isn’t it amazing that someone has actually gone through the trouble of making videos to answer the questions you might have? You don’t even have to pay a dime! Well, make maximum use of YouTube free resources and learn from them.
In short, I have learned it over the years that there is more than one way to compensate for the lack of a degree and nothing should stop you from utilizing your full potential.