This semester I did something very brave–that actually didn’t turn out to be such a big deal at all.

I didn’t fuss when my youngest daughter decided she wanted to drop to part-time status at university so that she could start doing YouTube full-time.

In fact, I even encouraged her at it.

(here’s a typical video:)

A lot of her friends think she’s nuts, like it’s the equivalent of “I’m dropping out of school to work on my music” (though that’s not always a bad thing either!). But Katie’s earning enough money through her channel to support herself, and she feels as if God is opening doors for her to speak and minister, and those doors have a time limit. She can’t be talking to youth as well when she’s 29 with 2 kids as she can now. So she’s decided to take the plunge and throw herself into a business, and ministry, she’s created.

She’s not the only one.

Why two girls chose making a career online instead of going to school.

Today my oldest daughter turns 22.Β (Happy birthday, Becca!)

Rebecca has always loved academics. She thrived with the debates and discussions we used to have at the dinner table, and when she went to university, her marks showed it. She graduated with almost a perfect GPA. She was on her way to grad school, to pursue a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology.

And then in October she changed her mind too.

Rebecca would have made an awesome Clinical Psychologist–and she still may. She knows she can always go back to school later.

But she doesn’t HAVE to go to school to make a life for herself.

She has a successful blog in her own right, and she’s about to launch another one on how to succeed in college (or university to all of us Canadians!). She’s working for me half time and trying to build a business online half time, and I have no doubt that she can do it.

Her book, Why I Didn’t Rebel, is out next October, and she’ll be doing interviews and speaking events for that. And she wants to work from home, at a job that will allow her to eventually have kids without having to put them in day care for a large part of the day. She doesn’t want the stress of having to study and go to school while she also has little ones.

I have two Master’s degrees that I earned while my husband was in medical school (I needed to do something with my time, and scholarships were available!). And yet I’ve never used either degree in the workplace, because I ended up working from home. I started with writing magazine articles, and that turned into writing books and speaking, and that turned into this blog, which now takes the majority of my time. But I know that people can earn a living online, and that the traditional ways of earning money that we once faced are really gone.

It’s a new world.

Right now Keith and I are in California, in our RV.

How we built a life for ourselves online

I gave my “Girl Talk” where I talk sex & marriage last week in Anaheim, and I’ll be giving it again next Friday night in Arlington, Texas (get tickets here!). We travel about 3-4 months every year in the RV, speaking, sometimes together, and sometimes just me (we have a marriage retreat and several stand alone marriage talks we give as well). While Keith used to be the primary breadwinner, he’s cut back his time at the hospital and in his office substantially so he can be on the road with me, and it’s been wonderful.

The online world has changed our lives.

I’ve been talking this week about finances in marriage, and how to find that “oneness” even in this most difficult area.

But I guess today I just wanted to tell you a little bit of our stories to get the message out there that I’m so passionate about: financial security today does not rest in academic degrees nearly as much as it rests in perfecting a skill that someone else will pay for.

In some cases that requires an education. But in many cases it does not. I have hired so many people to help me on this blog and I have never once asked them about their academic background. I have only asked them for proof that they have the skills I need.

The problem with so many university degrees is that they give you absolutely zero marketable skills after you graduate (with the exception, I hope, of how to write well and get things done on time, which are both valuable skills in their own right).

And if you go into a ton of debt for those careers, it really may not be worth it in the long run. And yet often we do school because it’s the default. Guidance counsellors in schools will rarely tell you to try to start your own business. They’ll push you to university.

I think the university experience is a great one, and I’m glad both my girls have it. But I don’t think it’s worth tens of thousands of dollars in debt unless it’s a professional degree that you’re practically guaranteed a job with–especially because there are other options.

Yesterday I encouraged people to think outside the box: could you move to a cheaper community? Could you downsize? And now I just want to put in a plug in and say, “not everybody needs to get an expensive degree.” It’s more important to find a skill that you have that somebody else will pay for. And you can’t always find that at school.

Incidentally, periodically I write posts on a different blog and create courses (some free!) on how you can start a speaking career or a writing and blogging career and turn it into an income. If you’d like to be notified when those things come out, just sign up for my newsletter and make sure you check the “Work at Home/Blogging” option!

What do you think? Are you and your husband thinking outside the box for education/career? What have you decided to do? Let’s talk in the comments!

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