Is formal education necessary to starting an online IM or networking marketing business?
I was in an Internet Marketing (IM) forum the other day and we were having a big discussion about the importance of education for Internet Marketers. The opinions were widely varied but there were some people who really are getting too caught up in some of these “gurus” who are blasting their products all over the ‘Net, starting with, “Watch how this high school (or college) dropout makes $5,623,500 in just one month!”
The main question came from a relatively new member to the IM industry asking if any of us would or would not recommend a formal education in studies of marketing, finance or economics and would it help in earning more money.
Now, personally, I am a high school “dropout.” I did go back and get my GED and finally went to college through an adult education program. I’ve also taken some online courses and night school courses over the years. And I’ll be honest, it wasn’t until recently that I genuinely started to appreciate the importance of education, regardless of how I’ve learned what I’ve learned over the years.
And I will say that while a formal education, meaning attending an accredited institution whether you go to a physical building or decide to enroll with one of the many online universities available today, may not be “necessary” to IM and starting your own business, education overall is extremely critical to the success of any business you decide to launch.
Why is that? Because unless you have a stash of cash to pay other people to do everything for you, you’re going to be in big trouble if you don’t have some type of post-high school education behind you. Even taking non-credit online courses or non-credit courses through one of the at-home correspondence schools, anyone deciding to launch a blog or an affiliate website absolutely needs an education in a variety of subjects.
What types courses can you take to help? First, a solid grasp of the English language, or your native language if you’re outside of the U.S. is very important. I say this because if you don’t know how to write or spell, how are you going to build your website or blog in the first place? How are people going to read your content?
So if you managed to pretty much slip and slide through high school without a solid foundation of writing, spelling and grammar, you’re going to need to have a healthy amount of cash saved up to pay ghostwriters for you.
Next, a good knowledge of computers and the Internet. It doesn’t matter if it’s MAC based or a PC, but you really need to know more than just how to turn on your computer or you’re going to waste a lot of money trying to pay people to do find things or even do things for you that you don’t know how to do yourself.
Fortunately, schools have gotten pretty advanced and most elementary school kids are now learning computers and the Internet to complete their homework. My stepdaughter isn’t even in “junior high” yet and she’s actually learned more about different software programs than I know! It’s pretty cool!
Do you need a formal education in math, marketing, finance or economics to succeed in IM? No. But it wouldn’t hurt to either take some adult courses in subjects like QuickBooks to help with keeping your revenue and expenses straight for tax time. And actually, most of the stuff you’ll need to know or learn when it comes to Internet Marketing or blogging you can actually learn on YouTube.
The bottom line is, the importance of education is largely dependent on what type of business you’re going to start, how well you did in high school and the subject areas you think you need some help with. But post-high school, a literal “formal” education isn’t critical to your success.