In Defense of the Non-Degreed

I don’t have a college degree.

(And before I go any further, please know I am not disparaging anyone who does.)

My mother worked two jobs to get me through the one year I managed to accomplish.  There simply wasn’t the money.  And I really couldn’t understand why she needed to sacrifice so much for me to learn about the history of China 300, AD.

So I started gathering experience.  To pay the rent, I was waiting tables and tending bar when a customer told me I’d be good at selling. She offered me a job at her radio station selling advertising.  I never looked back.

After selling airtime, I started a little ad agency in the spare room of my house.  In those 32 + years, we grew to a staff of 12. Armed with no degree, I signed up clients, developed their marketing plans, wrote the copy, planned media, art directed, produced video, did some on-air and on-camera work, managed staff, and learned how to read a P&L.  I made more mistakes than I can count, and learned valuable lessons from every one of them.

The great Bob Hoffman said in his book, Marketers are from Mars, Consumers are From New Jersey, “ If you’re in advertising, you’re a salesman.  It doesn’t matter what you think you are or what you want to be. You’re a salesman.”

I’m a good salesperson. No college degree is a substitute for experience, work ethic, passion, and common sense.

So when you have an advertising position to fill, stop looking for a piece of paper. Start looking for a salesperson.

 

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