Saying “No” to College and Yes to a “Now” Career Pt. II – Macgyver Style

I just saw a rerun of one my daughter’s favorite shows in the 1980’s. In this episode, as Macgyver mixed a cup of mouthwash with some random plant food to make a hand-grenade, he said: “Desperation tends to make one sort of flexible.”

For those who are too young to remember, Macgyver was the guy who could make a rocket ship out of a paper clip, or a fuel-efficient car out of a 9 volt battery and a skateboard.We watched this hit show each week two decades ago not because it had the script excellence of today’s “Bourne” films, or the cinematographic quality of CSI. No, we watched it because we loved to see how an “average” guy could be creative with what he had, and figure out a way to save the girl, or the day, using everyday junk.And always, with a solution that was fast, economical, and exigent.

Flexibility in the pursuit of a career is mandatory today. Career solutions that are fast and economical are the only ones that make sense. The job market that young people encounter now is one of the worst we’ve had since the depression, and many college graduates with $50,000-$100,000 in college-loans are having to take jobs for barely minimum wage. The high costs of a 4-year University education in many cases no longer are justified when compared with the earnings graduates are receiving today.

Now let me make a quick admission: I am a College graduate.But when I entered Arizona State University at age 17 three decades ago, tuition for out-of-state student like me was a grand total of $605/semester. Or about $5 a day.I worked at night as a waiter and managed to pay my way as I went. After a couple years I got residency, which dropped my tuition to a giant $195/semester.

Today it will cost students $195 a day for tuition. As I mentioned in my previous post, that adds up to over $100,000 on average for a 4 ½ year tour to earn a Bachelor’s degree.

Many high-school graduates today are realizing that for a guy like me, who went to college in the 1970’s, the formula made sense; but in 2009, the costs often don’t justify the reward.For many , I’m recommending that they say “No” to the ridiculously high-costs of college, and “yes” to a NOW career. To see why, take a look at a concise chart comparing career choices with costs listed.

At the top of that chart, in terms of speed, low cost, and income potential,  is becoming a real estate professional.

There are many reasons for this.

  • It’s the fastest professional career path around today-for most people getting your license takes only a few weeks.
  • It’s also the career most likely to earn great income, even in the first year.
  • Plus, you don’t need to have a super high SAT score, be on the debate team, or run a 9.2 hundred in order to enter your school and begin training. As long as you haven’t committed a felony, in most states, you’re qualified to start studying and take your licensing exam.

The process is fast. I’ve conservatively estimated that the average person starting from scratch, with ZERO experience in real estate can be trained, licensed, and working the profession in less than 2 months. For many it’s even faster, but let me illustrate what I mean. There are three basic steps you’ll follow to go from neophyte to a licensed real estate professional in your state. Here’s how the time and cost invested stacks up:

STEP ONE: Get Licensed and Official – Estimated Cost = <$450 Estimated Time= 3 ½ Weeks.

a.Take a Pre-License Course.All states require successful completion of a course of study before you can sit for the licensing exam.You can take this course in a classroom, at a University, or online( like most do today) to get it finished even faster.10 days or less using Internet based training.

b.You should NOT spend any money signing up with a Broker to “sponsor” you, before you get licensed. Keep your options open. Once you have your license you will be in demand.

c.Sign up for your state’s licensing exam. Some states have waiting lists as long as 4 weeks out, so check this out and make an exam appointment BEFORE you are finished with your course.½ hour.

d.Start practicing for your exam using an exam-prep product like For less than $75 they guarantee you’ll pass your exam the first time. You have nothing to lose with these great tune-up products.10 days.

e.Take your Licensing Exam and pass it. Ask for expedited results.1-5 days.

f. Once you’ve passed your exam, you’ll be getting requests from Brokers to join them.

STEP TWO: Set up Your Virtual Office– Estimated Cost = < $500Estimated Time = < 2 weeks

a.Technology: This means a telephone (cell, Skype, Vonage, etc.) and an email address;

b.ID Package: This includes business cards, perhaps a logo, and a Designation specialty;

c.Joining your local Real Estate Board, or MLS. This is usually around $400 for a year.

STEP THREE: Set up Your Online & Social Media Sites = Estimated Cost = $0Estimated Time = < 1 week

a.This means open your free Twitter account, Facebook page, and professional listings;

b.If you desire, you can get a website for free by using WordPress or other sitebuilders.

Total Time = 7 Weeks. Total Cost =<$1000

After that, it’s all about working three almost cost-free tools to build your client-base:

  • The Phone
  • E-mail & Social Media
  • Networking


If you’d like to read more detail about how to quickly build your client base and earn money now in real estate, I wrote a book about this subject entitled “Licensed to Soar” that I’m making available free to my followers and blog readers this week.In less than a dozen chapters I detail how to differentiate your business and use new tactics to gain a client base, fast! To get it, just email with this simple sentence:”Send me Licensed to Soar,” and you’ll have it sent to you immediately.

These are desperate times for many, not just high-school graduates. As McGyver said, “Desperation tends to make one sort of flexible.”

With the unemployment rate going through the roof, and a College education costing more than a heart transplant, today’s wise job seekers are realizing it’s time for some flexibility and innovation in the pursuit of career.My personal belief is that real estate is the career of the future, and is the most fast, economical, and exigent solution around today. And you don’t need to know how to make a rocket ship out of a paper clip to get started.

Want to find out if you have what it takes to be a Real Estate Agent or Broker?

About The Author: Geoffrey Thompson is an owner and founding partner of Express Schools, LLC. Since 1996 the companies under this banner have offered online real estate licensing and insurance licensing courses as well as online real estate exam prep and insurance exam prep.

Comments / Questions

  1. While I’m not going to necessarily agree that all people shouild ditch the college idea and join real estate, for many the above sentiment is so true. I’ve often said that if you spent the equivalent time of a College or University degree in the skills and activities of a real estate professional, you can earn as much if not more than almost all professions on the planet.

    Make this decision carefully, then, once made, go at it with all the gusto, enthusiasm and drive in the world, learn your craft well and reap the rewards to come.

    Glenn Twiddle

  2. Well said, Glenn! Enthusiasm and tenacity were the foundations of our grandparents and the “Greatest Generation” who usually started with nothing. Like the thousands of more recent immigrants have discovered, hard work still does pay in a country like the USA, with or without a college degree. The formula is the same regardless of the industry…start by being a good gardener, then start your own gardening business as a one-man shop, then hire a couple guys, expand based on great referrals, and eventually you’ll have a hundred employees in four cities. A real estate career allows you to replicate this formula faster, and with less dirt under your fingernails in my view, but its the same everywhere.

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