Is Salesforce a Better Option Than a College Degree?

What’s the ROI on a College Degree?

That degree took you four years to get where that certification took you two or three months to get. And just like you’re talking about the ROI, you may have gotten that certification for free. You may have paid $200 to attain that certification, but at the end of the day, that’s a lot cheaper than four years of college.
And it’s a huge percentage of your life,  if you have to dedicate to four years, that’s tough to say. The risk-reward is potentially to high

The Risk-Reward of a College Degree vs Interest Led Learning

Bradley it sounds like you picked Mechanical engineering because of a perceived ROI.  I picked pharmacy, not in a dissimilar way from you. I looked at the top paying professions. Saw Pharmacy on the top 10 list and said I want that one, that’s close to the top of the list. I can visualize that

I’ll do that one that sent me down like an eight-year education process and honestly, a 12-year loop until I got back and said, I don’t want to do this anymore, but to play it out, you got your four years of undergrad, which yes, not all those classes are pharmacy, but you’re there.
To be able to start applying for pharmacy school. You’re taking a science track to apply for a pharmacy school. So four years of undergrad, it probably an estimated cost of 30, $40,000 at the time, probably far more. Now, this is 2008, 2009. Then you have four years of pharmacy school at an estimated cost of $122,000.
Now It’s closer to $200,000. So from 2009 to 2013 and I graduated with $168,000 of student loan debt. after doing my undergraduate college degree, the “smart” way, two years of local community college, two years of, Virginia tech. So now I’m graduated, I’m in the job.

I’m loving the job for about the first six months, or at least, I’ve put so much in that you better, love it, right? I finally get to practice pharmacy. And then I’m paying off all my student loan debt super aggressively because I want to get back to broke and then start saving money to get to financial independence. that’s, And by the time that I paid off all my student loan debt, I realized I hate this job.
I’m so glad I’m debt-free now and can start saving for retirement because. I don’t want to do this very long. Like I’ll keep my head down and do it for 10 years.

You know the rest of my story, and we’ll talk about it more at another point in time.  I ended up just not doing that anymore, but I could’ve gone with this college alternative that we are discussing right now or what other guests are gonna be describing.

I could have a risk-reward. How risky was it for me to get that safe, great paying job in light of what I just told you, as opposed to interest-led learning? A $10,000 budget, Where I go and do this certificate to see if I like it. And if the ROI is there or I take up someone else on another recommendation and try the next one, because that one didn’t mesh the right way.

What’s the Risk Reward of a College Alternative?

And even if neither of those lands, I’m building this certificate, the skill stack that I can go demo to an employer, play this out, put yourself back in 2012, with the information you have now, let’s, replay this. What would you do? Knowing what you know now. Yeah, knowing what I know now, the picture is clear because I know that Salesforce.
Is in demand in 2012. and so moving into that, I would know that this is very lucrative. It’s fairly easy to get into. It offers remote possibilities, flexible work lifestyles, and knowing all of that. I would have gone straight into Salesforce and bypass college, and I probably would have taken some time off.

How can We Find out About the Best College Alternatives?

I wouldn’t have gone straight into the workforce just like college. I would have. Taking the time out, structured my learning, and spend time diving in and learning Salesforce. And what does that mean at the time? I, think I first want to point out that there’s no way you’re going to know that Salesforce or any other, potential career path is in demand.
Without listening to podcasts like this, like that is why they’re here so that you can hear my story and hear future guests’ stories. And they’re going to tell you about, you’re probably going to have a guest on talking about, like course building or how to, dominate a YouTube channel or Amazon web services and all of these other technologies that are very lucrative, fairly easy to get into. but you have to know about them. So by exposing yourself to podcasts like this or YouTube channels that have similar, audiences and similar messages, that’s how you’re going to learn about these opportunities. And you’re going to have to get those 17, 18-year-olds in front of that message for them to see another future.
And even if they just took the first semester off to try their hand at. Hey, let me try some of these other certifications, some of these other, skills that I could build. And then if that’s not going well by the time, say January rolls around, then I’ll enroll in school and I’ll start college and I’ll go the standard, path.
But to answer your question for me going back, it would have been very straightforward. So I would have traded a four-year degree and four years of my life to going back to. I probably at the end of six months would have ended up with two to three Salesforce certifications. I would have been volunteering for opportunities, and this is opportunities nationwide.
I don’t even have to focus on my local area. I could do volunteering across the entire nation as part of the move. Are you, moving for these volunteering opportunities? No, not at all because everything is virtual with Salesforce and it wasn’t 2012 and it is today. now a lot of jobs are in office, but that’s all about the culture of the company that you’re working for.
but there were just as many jobs that are not an office where you’re sitting at home and especially with, the current pandemic, I would say 80 to 90% of all Salesforce jobs are. At home, if not more so being someone who’s 17 or 18 years old, I easily could have gotten two to three certifications in six months. 

Do Employers Value You if You Don’t have College Experience?

And employers would have been bending over backward to pull me into it, is this, $15 an hour? this is what have you done? You haven’t done anything. You have these certificates. What is the rate that you knowing what you know now in 2020, inflation-adjusted here in 2020, what is the rate that you would be starting with employers bending over backward to get access to it?

What can You Make your First Year in a Salesforce Career?

Yeah. So starting salary, no experience at all. You could come in if you take the right strategies, which, we can talk about, you could come directly into the Salesforce ecosystem within six months making 60 to $80,000. That your first it’s insane that’s year one. I think the craziest thing about Salesforce is that.
Year one is yours, the, least lucrative year by far because you’re only going to make. 60 to $80,000, but when you move forward from there, year two, average salaries are 80 to 90 year three, plus you’re at a hundred K plus and you’ll cap out somewhere around 150 to $180,000. What’s crazy is when I was looking at the pharmacy, I looked at the pharmacy based on a Google search in 2012.
And to be honest, the 2012 numbers look a lot like the numbers today in terms of income. And I saw, Oh, I can make an entry-level six-figure salary. And all I have to do is go through eight years of school. that seemed like I was like, that’s that to your point, I wasn’t listening to other podcasts. I wasn’t aware of this.
I didn’t know that this was out there. And so I imagine that I’m sorry, shit. I had to go through to get that degree for a job that I could bear the risk-reward. Like I’m freaking out right now. People, if it’s not coming through, because I know Bradley’s right. I know what it, my core. That, what he’s saying is the truth right now in 2020, and probably will be for the next decade.
Now I know Marcus changed, but the skill set, we can talk more about this later Bradley, like even if Salesforce didn’t exist, this certificate process, the skillset that you’re building would translate to almost any industry, is that accurate? I think that’s really, I think that’s fair. any industry that has a predefined path and if you’re not aware of industries that have sort of these certification paths.
It is very common to have here been the entry-level certification are the next two or three certifications you want to get. That is typical with pretty much any tech industry and a lot of non-tech industries as well. So you can rinse and repeat that.

Does Salesforce Experience Translate to other Jobs?

And the other thing is I have people come to me and they’re like, what are you going to do when Salesforce isn’t around?
Because technology moves so quickly. I can’t expect Salesforce to be here 20 or 30 years from now on a typical retirement path. And my answer to them is. Do you think that companies are no longer going to have a backend process? They’re no longer going to want to automate their stuff. They’re no longer going to want to manage their data.
If you think companies are no longer going to care about their data and their backend business processes. Then you’ve got a great point. Maybe my skills are going to completely wash out. It’ll just take care of itself on the computer, right? So there will be, a new technology. These skills will be scalable and transferable to other technologies.
not to mention all of the skills you learn, those soft skills of. Communication, how to talk to people, how to manage business relationships, and all of those things that are going to carry over into any job that you’re looking for.

Should I think about Having My kids pursue Salesforce certification

And also I’m thinking about this for me, I’m doing this research for my kids too. They don’t need it for another 18 years, but I’m going to have so many options for them to be able to pick from. That their mom, who I know is going to be very much pro college is going to have to make a pretty freaking compelling case.
So just for people listening to this, that’s the frame for this entire car I’m watching out for my kids, but I know I’m having to push back against the culture that says college at all, costs college at any cost. And if my kids decide not to pick one of these it’s because they figured out a way to get college for free, I’m putting the ante on them.

Can You Really Land Your First Job within 6 Months even without Salesforce Experience?

I just want to make sure we’re confident in that statement. You’re saying that individual. Zero. They’re like, I think I could do that. that feels like that’s in my reach. I’ll trust the process. Let me go focus on my first two to three certificates, six months from now, they have an investment of  less than $2,000.

Is that, way high at way on the high end? I don’t know. I would say if you take a non-frugal path to get three certifications, your first certification should be 100% free. because we’ve got that outlined. So if you want to get your first certification, that’s going to take you two to three months studying eight to 10 hours a week.

And because this is all designed for people with full-time jobs, to be able to latch onto this too. So, I only expect you to be able to dedicate eight to 10 hours a week to study. If you’re somebody with a full-time job, if not, and you can put in 40 hours a week of studying or anywhere close to that, then you could probably get the certification.

I would say in three weeks, this first certification free. for somebody with a full-time job, I usually say take two to three months to get that first certification. Free. The second one should cost you a couple of hundred bucks and the third one should cost you a couple of hundred bucks.

So How Much does this Path Cost

That is the relatively frugal route. That means you’re using all three materials and you’re just paying for the exam cost itself. so $400 for your first three certifications is if you go a very, if you want to pay for courses and you want to try to do things. a little bit differently.
Maybe you need an instructor and things like that. then I could see you pushing up closer to maybe a Thousand dollars to get all three certifications, but I would cap yourself there for a thousand dollars to two thousand dollars.

And what we’re describing here is like a path for you with a sub $2,000 investment, closer to a thousand dollars investment, a path view within two years to be making six figures. and that is right now in 2020 and it will be probably be even more true over the next couple years. the flood Gates are opening right now. It’s the prospects are even better than maybe they were in 2012. So this is fresh, hot information it’s accurate. 

Do I need to be able to Code?

You do not need to be able to code, or live and breathe Python or Javascript.
This is a non-coding job that you can get and make six figures. Is that accurate?

Yeah, that’s right. I would say that, for the way I do it, is completely non-coding. I still don’t know how to code. And I’ve been at this for almost 10 years now. are there people who want to be developers, they enjoy coding.

Who is this for and What would I be doing

You need to enjoy problem solving and finding solutions, most of the skills you’re looking for here are people who are interested in the way businesses function interested in what I mean by that is. You’re interested in the way a company goes out and targets its prospects, who are the people who are going to buy from us.
And how do we get in front of them? Is it an ad on LinkedIn or YouTube? Is it a billboard? Is it a radio commercial? And you just think about where’s my audience, how do I get them? How do I sell to them? And then how do I support them after they purchased our product? And if you think that could be interesting to get into the nuts and bolts of automating those processes and streamlining those processes and being a hero for the companies you’re working for, because you make all that stuff happen and they think it’s magic. if you’re interested in that at all, then, Salesforce is probably a very good fit for you from just a mental perspective.

I love that. And I do enjoy all that stuff as an entrepreneur and a small business owner, I had to do this and, I think that speaks to the skills component.

How does this certificate compare to a degree?

So this is the pathway, here’s the ROI. And here’s the certificate that will for an employer that knows nothing about you and needs to check the box. They will at least give you the chance. this is not about the certificate. the certificate is great and their certificates can open up opportunities. But the certificate in the absence of the degree is acting as your check the box for an employer that doesn’t know you at this point and say, I believe that there is some evidence that this person can do this job, which, is for me, that’s great. That’s much, closer to a true indicator of skills.

How important is experience?

We just mentioned that these certifications represent some level of knowledge or some level of trust that an employer has that you know how to do this job. the other thing that I recommend to anyone looking to land a job with Salesforce is to do a volunteer project.

And look at doing volunteering because it’s all available. There’s a website called volunteer, where you can look up volunteer opportunities. and I talk a lot about volunteering on my channel because it is a key part of can you land a job without volunteering? Absolutely. Is it much easier to land a job when you have experience on your resume?Absolutely.

And volunteering is such a simple way to do that because it is. Low intensity, low responsibility, very little risk on the line. so you can grow, you can learn, you can Polish your skills and build your resume while you’re helping someone all at the same time, it is a huge win for everybody.

And that gives you a leg up on the competition. Where if it’s you going head to head against another applicant who also has certifications and followed this same path. Volunteer work is what’s going to set you apart. Where are we volunteering for? Is this the future employer or is this a random third party?

Is this nonprofit? what’s the context for volunteerism? It’s typically a nonprofit, if you network enough, and Facebook groups and LinkedIn groups and things like that, you could volunteer for a prospective employer. However, for the most part, it is non-profit companies because Salesforce does.
give the full Salesforce it’s called the enterprise edition away to non-profits for free. So they get to operate with this amazing, top-notch CRM system for free for nonprofits. So what that means is a lot of nonprofits are using Salesforce. And what that means is there are a lot of volunteer opportunities for people looking to learn Salesforce, and these companies don’t want to pay.

Consulting prices to bring somebody in because consulting prices are, 150 $250 an hour, where they can bring someone in totally free. That is huge for a company that’s operating as a nonprofit. And it’s a great opportunity for you. I guess I’m like scheming here on what, so I, I’m going to, one of the episodes I’m going to do earlier.

Avoiding the Lost Decade to Student Loan Debt

One of the things we’re going to address on talent’s Docker is like avoiding the lost decade. and, actually getting to financial independence in this decade that most people are considering the last decade between 20 and 30. And one of the things that I was thinking about is tying together a few threads.
And I’ll hopefully get to get him on this show as well, but for people, we’ve already recorded it, Jerry bore, the millionaire educator, we recently released an episode with him on my other podcast, choose that fi and he was saying how you could get your first three years of college knocked out or test it out within with like less than six months of work while you’re in, while you’re in high school.
And so again, I’m scheming for my, kids. I will be doing that 1000% if they still want to go to college. They can and they can go do their whole freshman year, assuming the other, but regardless, they’re extra extracurricular activities in high school, be testing out of the first three years of college using the process that millionaire educator laid out.
So imagine this you’re 14 years old. When you start high school, you finish high school. You’re 17, 18 years old, something like that. You’ve got your first three years of college done. You. Optimize the last year and you graduate college, you got your bachelor’s degree. Got that. Check the box. If you want it, if you decided you wanted it by 18 years old, somewhere in that range, but also.
That first year of college, what you’re focusing on is this certificate program like this six months. So 18 years old, you’ve got your first three certificates taken care of. You’ve got a hundred volunteer hours done, or I don’t know what the number is you have in mind to have that resume, Pat it out, but you’ve got a significant amount of volunteer hours and you’ve got your first employer.
You’re making 60 to $80,000 with no student loan debt. at. at the age of 18, something like 18 $80,000 a year, no student loan debt. And here’s the, switch that I have in mind, I was 28 years old with $168,000 in student loan debt and a fabulous degree. amazing degree.
Yep. They will have a net worth of $168,000 easily by the age of 28 now because I gave them a silver spoon, but because they optimize this first decade and if they were to never save another dollar again like they were to be paycheck to paycheck for the rest of life. At 50 years old, they’d be a millionaire.
Easy, not no, just due to compounds and return on investments. Like it’s a guaranteed path to a millionaire by just taking. Bradley what we’re talking about right now and stacking this with not losing the four years to college. And if we need to, if we need to follow the system and everybody needs a degree, if we decide that we’re, still that’s too counter-cultural to not have the degree.
Fine. We’ll check that box, but we’re going to focus on getting an above-median income quickly. Yeah. I think anyone who’s into skill building, like modern skill building, that the kind of stuff we’re talking about. Thinking that you’re going to do something for four years to learn a specific skill is insane.
Why does it take four years? That’s incredible, if I want to learn how to do something, I know how to do it by that afternoon, or at least I’m starting, It takes four years to learn this thing. Okay. Yeah. And that’s a great point. it probably was hardback in the day to learn the stuff. The information was hard to access.
It was all behind walls, but The key here is for us to all of us know this intellectually, that it’s fine to look at it on paper. It’s fine to study it, but the quickest way to learn something is to do it. So start doing it as quickly as possible. Let’s fail and fail for recognizing that is the process.
That’s the thing, that’s the sauce. That’s the juice let’s do that. and so we need to create an environment where we can fail forward and be excited about that failure, and that in college failures, bad. You can’t afford to fail the test. You can’t afford to, fail the quiz. You can’t. You just got to keep studying with the hope of, not failing to beat the curve of getting accepted the next thing.
And then finally, four years from now, eight years from now, in my case, it turns out you’re the most, overeducated under experienced person, out there. And so let’s just get the experience. What does that look like? So I want to come back now, we’ve talked about the framework, and thank you Bradley for helping me put this episode together.
I feel like this has been cathartic for my soul. So I’m enjoying this hope you are.

What are the Skills a New Salesforce Admin would possess?

So I guess where I’m going with that is. What are the skills? You talked about the mindset of the business owner. if you’re looking at, by the time you get this first certificate, what, are the skills that you possess? And then by the time you get the second and the third, what are the skills that those are indicating to a prospective employer that you have. So certificates are great and we can map these skills to certificates, but we have this company, they want to increase ROI, help us think about it from the perspective of someone who is confident in their salesforce skillset.

What are the skills that an individual needs to develop? And then how could they communicate those skills ? How could they tell a story about what they could do for the employer? 

Here’s what I think here’s how I can help you. What, are those skills that you possess and that someone would, learn as a result of going through this process? Yeah, I think a lot of it is. It’s so basic, but it’s so true and I’ll, explain it, but it’s, listening to people and, hearing and understanding what they’re saying.
And I know everybody, you’ll hear that tip from a lot of people and it’s so true, especially in Salesforce, because the biggest problem that the stakeholders have. So those are your potential clients or employers. The biggest problem that they have is they understand what they want and they can tell you what they want.
But they don’t tell you in Salesforce lingo, if, if they come to you, they’re going to say something like we’ve been targeting all these leads and I’ve got, I went to a trade show in 3000 people came by the booth over a three-day weekend and we got all these people signed up on our iPad and now we need to somehow put them on the list and call them strategically and do all these things.
but they have no idea how to translate that into a system. All they know is I can maybe put that in an Excel sheet and go down the phone numbers and start calling. But that is the most inefficient way to handle that situation. And you, as the expert in Salesforce, need to be able to come in and say, I hear what you’re saying, and I hear your requirements.
So you’re going to hear that a lot in the Salesforce world, it’s about gathering requirements and you need to be able to listen to them. You said a requirement that doesn’t seem like, an end-user statement. That sounds like a Salesforce to Salesforce lingo. Is that I hear your request.
Does that translate when you’re talking to the owner of a business? You don’t necessarily want to say you hear their requirements, but it’s, not even so much Salesforce lingo as it is, like business process lingo it’s that you have to be able to go to someone and they should be able to talk to you naturally.
Or maybe they’re animated because they’re heated about something. After all, it’s a pain point for their company and they’re going, this happens every single time we screw this up every single time. How can we get this? And you don’t need to get. upbeat or chaotic with them. You need to hear what they’re saying and be able to document those pain points and say, okay, you went to the trade show, you got all the great leads.
But now that you’re trying to call them, that’s a pain point. And on you, in your head, you’re going. I’ve got this requirement to more easily be able to call back leads in an efficient way. I need a more easy, way to email these leads in a more efficient way, in a more targeted way based on what it was that they said at the trade show.
I need to be able to separate these into, are they? Hot leads that we should call right away. Are they cold leads that weren’t that interested? They just wanted a free t-shirt and to be able to separate those people. And so they can sit there and rant about how the trade show went, but you need to be able to gather that information and translate it into Salesforce.
And that is the skill. Like you can learn Salesforce, you can go online, you can Google it. You can go on Trailhead, their training site and you can figure it out. But the biggest skill that you’re ever going to need in Salesforce is going to be listening to someone and translating that into something that you can then put into Salesforce and streamline that.

So let’s explore a little bit further. So I’m this business owner. And I’m ranting to you. That 3000 people came by my booth. Everybody got the t-shirts, they got a bunch of emails. Cause I’ve required. They give me their email to get the t-shirts.
I got all that. And then I haven’t been able to convert a single one. You know how much these t-shirts cost. I got the highest quality t-shirt that’s out there.

I see people wearing our t-shirts. Not a single one of those has converted. I got to figure out how to convert a sale

Are we trying to calculate the lifetime value of customer separate out from who wanted a t-shirt to who didn’t help me actually, you have internally categorized all of my complaints.
And you’ve separated my emotion from like the five or six objectives that you know. All right. So what do you turn around for me? And how much time does it take for you to present the system? Is it based on templates, things that you’ve done before? Is it yeah. Go, through what you would do.

Yeah. So I’ll tell you that first I think we gotta, wrap this back to, why did I get these certifications? And the certifications are gonna allow you to take those requirements or what you heard. And you’re going to know to build that into a system because when you’re hearing this, you’re going to go, Oh, okay.

Email segmentation

I know about, email segmentation because of what I learned when I got the certificate, I know exactly how Salesforce handles blasting emails to people and what I need to think about and what I need to look out for because I got the certification.

Email Automation

I know exactly how to automate an email for the next trade show so that as soon as they put in their email address, they get an auto responder email that says, thanks for coming by the booth.
Here’s a white paper informational package about what we offer. And if you buy within the next three business days, use this coupon code for 20% off and you can automate those processes because. You have gone through the certification material, you have attained your certification and therefore those things are going to be triggering in your head.
As you listen to them. Talk about. They did this trade show. What do we typically do? We need to add them to this marketing drip, where they’re going to get one email today. If they open that email, they’re going to get another email in three days. If they don’t open that email, I’ll hit him again tomorrow.
we’re going to put them down these paths to nurture them into a conversion so that they purchase our product. And if they don’t purchase our product or we haven’t heard back, let’s put them on our call list and it’s not going to be pick up the phone and dial the number.

Automated phone campaign

This is going to be an automatic dialing system where you put on your headset, you press go and it’s going to call 200 people in the next hour.
And if it’s a voicemail, it’s automatically going to leave a voicemail. You don’t need to sit there and talk into their voicemail machine automatically going to leave a voicemail. You’re already calling the next person.

Requirements and Solutions

So those are the skills and those are the things you’re going to hear. And you’re going to start processing, as you gather these requirements and you sit here and you tell this guy, you say, I understand what you’re saying. I can solution for that issue. Let me take your requirements back.
Let me come up with a best practice solution for the problem you’re describing to me. And we are going to get this fixed immediately. So you can call that. Is that, going to become a proposal? You’re going to have this doc. Here are the deliverables we’ll have. At the end of this. And then is that an invoice below that here’s my billing for putting this together?
Is that what it looks like? Yeah. If you’re a consultant, that’s what it looks like. If you’re a W2 employee, it’s a very similar process, but you’re just taking it back and bullet pointing it out and saying, Hey boss, I think I can get this done by Friday. here’s what I’m going to do. But if you’re a consultant, then yes.
What you just described is perfect. And it’s. All right, I’m going to take this back. I’m going to build that into a proposal or what’s commonly called a statement of work, and that’s just going to detail out what I’ve heard you need delivered and how I’m going to deliver it to you, to make sure that you’re getting what you need.
And yes, it’s going to say, we are gonna, when you go to the trade show, we’re going to automatically send autoresponder emails. I need to build a template for that. I need to make sure that we’ve warmed your IP address so that you can mass blast people. And that’s gonna take four hours.

Living Wage vs a Great Wage

What’s interesting is there is a huge movement right now talking about raising the living wage, raising minimum hour. I understand why it’s happening, but I think it’s misguided.

Flipping burgers is never going to be worth $20 an hour, $25 an hour. it’s just not, it’s just going to increase the speed of automation and that job will just disapear And it’s not, a political statement. It’s just basic economics.

If you need a short term stop gap fine – but don’t stop at a living wage when you can be making a great wage. Burger flipping will never get you there, it’s not a great long term solution

We owe it to people to create awareness about these industries and skills where you can make not just a living wage, but a great wage.

You can make a great wage and you’re only six months away. You’re only six months away from an above median income

Final Thoughts on Salesforce as a College Alternative

We need to re-skill and retool. If you need to use a minimum wage, job as a stop-gap to get you to the next thing, it’s fine. But let’s not stop there. Let’s not look for a way to turn that $15 an hour job. not into a 3-4% raise and make it to $17, when we can look at these industries that are so in demand, they’re throwing money at you. and you just you’re six months away.
And it’s not a college degree. It’s not six figures of student loan debt. It’s, very low risk and you can do this. It will change your life…

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