Neil Patel

Neil Patel

Neil Patel: Marketing Expert, Entrepreneur, Speaker, Author, & Podcaster: Experience Is Key

Neil Patel is a globally renowned marketer with a wildly popular blog presence (that sees over four million visitors per month). He has started four multi-million dollar companies, worked for clients like Google, eBay, Microsoft, and General Motors, and is a New York Times bestselling author. 

Neil’s Original Story: Experience Is Key

An enterprising, entrepreneurial spirit has been all around me from day one, influencing me since birth.

I was born in London, but two years later my parents moved our family to Orange County, California. My dad worked for my uncle, who had his own business. My mom toiled for a while at a non-paid teaching position, but soon she, too, became an entrepreneur when she started a home daycare.

Life isn’t a cakewalk for first-generation Americans, but the tenacity of my parents and uncles was one of my earliest examples.

My own first brush with entrepreneurship came at 15, when I sold burned copies of movies and CDs to my classmates for a few dollars a pop.

I worked some menial jobs, too. I was hired at Knott’s Berry Farm to pick up trash and clean bathrooms. I even sold Kirby vacuum cleaners door-to-door for a while. These were really just fillers, though. My passion was making money online.

I created my first website at 16 years old. With the money I made from the amusement park, I paid some marketing firms to help me grow the site, but instead I got ripped off. Very quickly, I realized I would have to learn marketing for myself. I got pretty good at it, but I didn’t know digital marketing was my passion until I took some general education courses at community college on the advice of my sister, Amee.

No, I didn’t get my break in a marketing class.

I gave a talk in my Speech 101 class on how search engines work. As it happens, someone in the class was looking for someone like me, with the knowledge I had. They wanted me to consult with a brand called Elpac Systems on their internet marketing strategy. With the sales skills I had built selling vacuums, I convinced them to pay me $3,500/month for my consulting services.

Everything was building on itself, like steps in a staircase. My real-life experiences and knowledge were the keys that opened doors.

From that consulting gig, I continued to make a name for myself. I started up an internet marketing agency, Advantage Consulting Services, with my sister’s boyfriend. A bunch of our first clients came from our connection to Elpac Systems.

Eventually, my path would lead to Crazy Egg, KISSmetrics, Quick Sprout, and my blog on NeilPatel.com. That enterprising, entrepreneurial spirit has never left me. In fact, it has led me to try some crazy marketing experiments and to take incredible risks.

Without those risks, I wouldn’t be standing here. I wouldn’t be globally known. I couldn’t count some of the world’s biggest brands – Google, NBC, Viacom, General Motors – as my clients. I wouldn’t have been recognized by the House of Representatives, the 44th President of the United States, Barack Obama, or the United Nations.

A college degree wasn’t the key. It was experiences.

With that in mind, here’s my last bit of advice for you:

If you want to be a doctor or a lawyer or a profession that requires a degree, by all means, go to college. But for most professions, a degree isn’t needed and adds little to no value. So, instead of going to college, just dive right in. You’ll get more experience under your belt in those four years than what some old textbooks can teach you.

And experience is key.

Find more from Neil Patel at neilpatel.com.