Dropping Out of College, Beating 27 Candidates, and Landing My Dream Job : Under30CEO Dropping Out of College, Beating 27 Candidates, and Landing My Dream Job : Under30CEO
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Dropping Out of College, Beating 27 Candidates, and Landing My Dream Job

| November 21, 2013 | 10 Comments

dream-adventure

One year ago, I had no idea what I wanted to do.

Yet in September of 2013, I got help from various millionaires and successful entrepreneurs, landed my dream job, and dropped out of college.

The job allows me the lifestyle I’ve always been after. It’s the one where I’ll never have to work in a cubicle. The one where I can work whenever and wherever I want doing what I love.

Let’s backtrack a bit.

It all started with a tweet by Sean Ogle.

When I first read the page, I couldn’t help but close my eyes and fantasize about landing such a great opportunity. Nearly all expenses paid while living overseas? On top of that, it’s an apprenticeship that would allow me to use my strengths and refine my weaknesses?

It would definitely be a life-changing experience because I was a full-time college student at the time. Getting this job would mean I’d be leaving school, something I’ve been wanting for the longest time. Plus, that lifestyle I talked about earlier was what I’ve been dreaming about for years.

The Internal Struggles and How I Used Them as Fuel

It sounded like a dream, but who am I fooling? I’m a 19-year old with less than a year of experience in the field. I was juggling college full-time, three internships, and a blog.

There had to have been at least dozens of applicants with a decade of experience. Why bother even wasting my time? Do I really want to get my hopes up and get crushed?

I bookmarked the page for later as my mind stewed with excuses.

I could have just passed this one up, but of course that’s not what happened.

The fear that I was competing against impossible odds ended up motivating me even further. It brought me to a whiteboard where I outlined tons of different ideas that would make me stand out. Eventually, I narrowed it down to one.

I emailed dozens of influencers to ask them to record a short video vouching for me by name, stating that I reached out and connected.

I got tons of rejections. Guy Kawasaki was too busy. Ramit Sethi had no time. Noah Kagan wasn’t interested.

It was very difficult, but at the same time I got a lot of people who were able to help. Michael Hyatt, John Saddington, John Lee Dumas, Neil Patel, and Rand Fishkin were some of the videos I opened with.

They didn’t know my name. I didn’t even tell them what I do, but instead I just told them that I was going after my dream job. They were more than happy to help a stranger.

Check out a screenshot of an email I sent Rand Fishkin, the CEO of Moz:

Rand responded four days later:

One week later:

Elijah and Rand worked together to help me out on this. I know for a fact it was an inconvenience for them too because they’re very busy over at Moz. They didn’t have to and it never would have happened if I didn’t ask.

I had this idea because I was desperate. It’s because I was afraid that there would be no way I would have gotten the job if I didn’t make them think “Holy crap! We’ve got to have this guy!”

Finally, the finished video:

Two interviews with the company and some emails back and forth later:

Slam dunk.

It’s been an enlightening experience and I finally dropped out of college. My family isn’t pleased because they don’t understand the situation, but that’s okay.

It’s okay because I’ve learned so many things in the past two months and I’m bound to be a completely different person by next year.

I’m not worried that my family thinks I’m wasting my life because I don’t have a college degree. I know for a fact that piece of paper would do almost nothing for me. I’m going the unconventional route and I’m setting down the foundation as soon as possible.

What You Need to Know About Making Magic Happen

You don’t need support.

It helps a lot, but it’s merely a supplement and shouldn’t be the only thing that drives you. You have to know how to motivate yourself to get what you want.

I didn’t tell very many people about what I was doing. I only told my family after I got the job and even then, many of my family members are still against the idea. With a traditional Asian family, it’s no surprise to me that they are against dropping out of school and going away for work.

They think I’m doing this for the money. I’d do this for free if I had to. What’s driving me is my desire to learn and experience new things, as well as my thirst for adventure and freedom.

You always have to outperform thousands of people.

Even if you’re competing against a few people, you have to treat it as if you’re facing a horde of thousands who are more qualified than you. Who would have thought a 19-year old kid would have been able to do something like this? I sure didn’t.

That’s exactly why I went 100 steps further than I thought I had to. I wanted it badly and there was no way I was going to fail.

You shouldn’t settle for what’s comfortable.

Don’t settle for a “safe” paycheck when you can start something on the side that can eventually grow into your dream lifestyle.

It would have been easy to have my family off my back by continuing college and waiting until graduation to run off and go do awesome things.

Screw that.

I started a blog on the side that’s been growing exponentially. Then I took it one step further by reaching out to people through the platform I’ve created.

You will make more excuses if you let your mind wander.

When I set the bookmarked page aside, I gave it maybe an hour before I went to the brainstorming session. I knew if I kept waiting then my mind would have made more excuses. The immediate excuses that popped up were my young age, the fact that I was still in school, and the fear of my family’s reaction.

I realized that the list would have kept growing if I let it sit. So I decided to go all-in as soon as possible.

You can become a legend that inspires others to do the same.

I’ve gotten so many emails this past month from people congratulating me, asking to pick my brain, and telling me that I’ve inspired them to chase after their own dreams. When you do something worth talking about, you have no idea how many lives you’ll touch. Hopefully because of what I did, many others will break out of their comfort zone and go for that amazing lifestyle they’ve been dying to have.

You have the power to change your life forever, now.

Stop waiting. Don’t be like everyone else that is holding back for the perfect time to press start. You’ve waited long enough. I’ve waited long enough too.

I could have waited until graduation. I could have waited until I was older. I could have waited until I had 3, 5, or 10 years under my belt.

Screw that! I dropped out of college and went after this with a little under one year of experience.

Quit waiting because your life could be so much better right here and now.

Vincent Nguyen is the author of Self Stairway, where he writes with brutal honesty to teach self-improvement. No sugarcoating the truth. Follow Vincent on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+.

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Category: Entrepreneurship, Startup Advice

  • J Tan

    Hey Vincent,

    I just read thru your article and it’s fantastic! I really like your DIY attitude to getting things done and am happy to know there are others out there who will create a path for themselves no matter what. Definitely looking forward to reading more of your stuff and be inspired by it.

  • http://www.it-sales-leads.com/ Barbara Mckinney

    If you think that you are ready to build your dream job,there’s no reason for you to pull back.But in my own opinion,the best thing to do is to finish studying first before doing anything:)

  • http://selfstairway.com/about/ Vincent Nguyen

    Hey Justin!

    Hope you got my email reply from earlier.

    The DIY path is definitely liberating and feels amazing if you’ve lived an entire life believing outlines were the only way.

  • http://selfstairway.com/about/ Vincent Nguyen

    Although I don’t think college is necessary I can definitely understand your point of view! It’s just not the right choice for me right now. This could be an interesting conversation though. :)

  • http://www.it-sales-leads.com/ Barbara Mckinney

    My point here is that if things don’t work,at least you will have another option. Don’t get me wrong, I really love your article but if we talk about being practical,finishing your degree would be the first in your list.

  • http://selfstairway.com/about/ Vincent Nguyen

    That’s under the assumption that a degree guarantees a job though. Plenty of people take on endless debts to get their degree and they end up either unemployed or in jobs that don’t require a degree. It certainly is a useful credential to have depending on the person and the occupation, but I don’t think it’s a universal option.

    Nowadays, everyone has one so there is real no prestige with telling someone “I have a Bachelor’s in X.” I can say with 99.99% confidence that I won’t have a single person in the professional world ask me where I graduated from. The only ones who will ask are family members, friends, and acquaintances making small talk.

    Hope my tone isn’t coming off as aggressive. I personally think this is a good subject to discuss.

  • http://www.it-sales-leads.com/ Barbara Mckinney

    That’s okay. The reason why we’re having this conversation is to hear each others opinion and that’s the purpose of this comment box:)

    So what do you mean? College students should stop studying because “nowadays” a degree will no longer guarantees a job?

  • http://selfstairway.com/about/ Vincent Nguyen

    Not what I’m saying at all. What I’m saying is that students need to start thinking ahead about whether or not they need a degree instead of assuming everyone needs one. Want to be a doctor? Get a degree. Lawyer? Yup, you need one too. Want to be a copywriter? You probably won’t be learning that with a degree in Creative Writing.

    We’re taught from a young age that you either go to college and (automatically) get a good job or you wind out on the streets. That sort of thinking pressures every student to sign up for a lifetime of debt without thinking it through. Ideally a degree would be worth the investment you put into it but the sad truth is that for some people it’s indentured servitude.

    What’s better is to find ways to gain real experience and network. People will argue college gives you that but it really doesn’t. I know so many people who are waiting until they graduate before they step foot into the real world. Internships are valuable but students would rather wait until they have their diploma in hand.

  • http://mesandeep.wordpress.com/ Sandeep Khanal

    “You can become a legend that inspires others to do the same.”

    I would definitely not agree with this! College education matters and I think it’s crucial! Having a dream job can be absolutely wonderful but still dropping out of college isn’t a good idea!

    However, time decides and you got the job! Congratulations! But, I wouldn’t do the same.
    Thanks for sharing!
    Have Fun With Your Life!

  • http://selfstairway.com/about/ Vincent Nguyen

    Check out my conversation with Barbara below on the subject. :)