You’re about to dive head-first into self-education, and – let’s face it – you’re scared.
And you’re quickly discovering the world of self-education is wide and unstructured compared to traditional education.
You may be asking:
“What career path should I take?” “Should I start a business?” “Where do I go for advice?”
Most importantly, how do you know you’re getting the right advice?
These questions are normal. So is being afraid of the unknown.
Still, this is the best time to start an online business. More than half of the world is online, 99.9% of United States businesses are small businesses, and ecommerce is worth more than $3 trillion. That value is expected to double by 2022.
BUT only 1 in 12 startups actually succeed.
And the longer a new business runs until the tenth year, the higher the failure rate gets.
So what about the 10% that succeed? How do you achieve that – and avoid advice that gets you in the 90 percent?
When in doubt, follow what works.
Knowing industry experts and why they’re worth your time and money is imperative. Here are 22 experts to follow – a great place to start when you’re just finding your way.
22 Career and Self-Development Experts to Follow
When you’re just starting out, it’s important to develop yourself first. Follow these two experts to determine your career and build skills to thrive in the real world.
1. Dr. Ai Addyson-Zhang
A college professor for more than 10 years, Dr. Ai is now a proponent of non-traditional education because she “realized the traditional education space is not preparing our students for the future.” In her programs, students learn practical, timely advice, gain mentors from all over the world, and become teachers themselves. Her process involves learning, unlearning, and relearning to break the grasp of traditional education and make way for true education. Dr. Ai will be teaching with Julia McCoy at Save The Tuition.
2. John Maxwell
Named the most influential leadership expert in the world by Business Insider and Inc. Magazine, John Maxwell has trained six million leaders in 126 countries over more than 25 years. His 18 courses provide leadership development, training, and coaching for business and church leaders, as well as youth mentorship. A leader is not born, but made, he says – and “growth is the only guarantee that tomorrow is going to get better.”
Entrepreneurship Experts to Follow
In business, one of the worst mistakes you can make is following the wrong advice. These four experts will steer you clear of their mistakes and help you determine best practices for your business.
3. Angela Fehr
Once a shy Canadian teen artist who became a burgeoning entrepreneur, Angela is a prime example of how to turn your passion into profit without losing your creativity. If a watercolor painting business is your thing, her blog is one to follow. She has created “a community of fearless artists who strive for authenticity over perfection, and understand that it is the heart that gives life to our art.” Thousands of watercolor painters have taken her classes.
4. Marie Forleo
Marie is an entrepreneur, writer, and philanthropist who started with nothing. She learned how to find strength in being a little of everything and turned her diverse palette of skills and interests into a career. After all, she believes that “you must bring your whole self to the table if you want to thrive in today’s world.” By following her, you can learn how to build a business out of your seeming lack of direction.
5. Dan Lok
“The Asian Dragon” is a college dropout. When his rich father went bankrupt, he struggled to take care of his mother through several failed business attempts and thousands of dollars of debt. The kid who couldn’t speak English is now writing dozens of best-selling books, making eight figures, and running over 24 successful companies. Follow Dan and take his starter programs to learn financial confidence, entrepreneurship, and investing skills. You won’t get rich quick, but Dan is a strong believer that “it doesn’t matter where you came from… You can do it.”
6. Amy Porterfield
This online marketing guru went from overworked “yes girl” to being her own boss. She’s done it herself: In 11 years, her experience in eight-figure business has successfully empowered more than 250,000 online entrepreneurs. Her courses teach actionable ways to do business better – without self-doubt and overwhelm. To her, “Confidence isn’t a function of how many affirmations you repeat each morning – but in how many steps you take in the path laid out in front of you.”
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Marketing Experts to Follow
If you’re considering marketing as a career, you may realize that there is a lot of “noise” – marketing advice that doesn’t work. However, these 7 experts know the industry inside and out – and they’ve seen results themselves.
7. Andy Crestodina
Ethical marketer. Tree lover. Co-founder of Orbit Media, Chicago Cause, and Content Jam. Andy Crestodina’s award-winning expertise in web design has impacted over 1,000 businesses in 16 years. He teaches, speaks at national conferences, and knows everything there is to know about blog analytics. Follow him to learn how to get results online – for online business or for content marketing. This data and analytics expert will remind you to “never bring an opinion to a data fight.”
8. Brian Dean
Known as the SEO expert in the industry, Brian Dean is the founder of Backlinko and Exploding Topics and writes one of the most popular marketing blogs. Because he implements SEO every day, he knows it inside and out. He ranks because he knows that “there’s a lot more to SEO than ‘great content.’” Follow Brian to learn SEO for rankings and traffic.
9. Seth Godin
You could say that Seth Godin is an unconventional marketer. He loves to “make a ruckus” so much that he is one of the only people in both the Direct Marketing Hall of Fame and the Marketing Hall of Fame. Yet he simply calls himself a teacher – and he proves it in his many courses. From him, you’ll learn how to lead, freelance, and make an impact. “The world has been upside-down on a regular basis,” he says, “and now it’s on us to do something about it… by how we choose to make a ruckus.”
10. Ryan Holiday
This Texan rancher is not just a marketer, avid reader, and strategist with 10 best-selling books and clients like Google, TASER, and Neil Strauss. Ryan Holiday is a modern-day philosopher who applies ancient philosophy to everyday life. His courses discuss humility, Stoicism, research, strategy, dealing with a**holes, and how to be self-critical and self-aware. “You can’t get better,” he says, “if you don’t look honestly and with self-awareness at who you’ve been over the last 24 hours.”
11. Michelle Schroeder-Gardner
As a young adult and recent graduate, Michelle is a traveler and blogger at Making Sense of Cents – and she’s debt-free. From her self-taught knowledge of finance, she paid off $38,000 in student loans and now earns $1 million while sailing. To learn how to make and save more money, get out of debt, and leverage affiliate marketing, follow her blog or take her courses. She’ll encourage you to stay motivated by envisioning “what your life will be like once you reach your goal.”
12. Joe Pulizzi
Joe is the original content marketing evangelist. And the founder of Content Marketing Institute. And a 400-time speaker in 16 countries. And a novelist. CMI is the leading content marketing educational resource for enterprise brands, and he launched Content Marketing World, which is the premier international content marketing event. For anything content marketing, he is the handbook. He says, “Content marketing is not a campaign – it’s an approach, a philosophy, and a business strategy.”
13. Ryan Stewart
As a marketing consultant, business-builder, and growth hacker with over 12 years of experience, Ryan Stewart has a rare mix of left and right brain. He has helped Fortune 50 companies, big businesses like Best Buy and Target, and even startups with his SEO expertise. Now he offers The Blueprint Training course for building an SEO framework. “A framework, he says, “allows you to walk into any campaign, no matter what, and have success.”
Writing and Storytelling Experts to Follow
Stories are perennial. And with most of the world online, writing online is more relevant than ever. Writing may be your strength. Still, there are many pitfalls to avoid – and you can always improve your craft. The following 7 experts know how to tell stories online, whether for books, blogs, podcasts, or to get conversions.
14. Dan Blank
For Dan Blank, people are front and center. For 10 years, he has helped thousands of authors grow platforms, launch books, and create successful marketing strategies through meaningful reader connections. If you’re an aspiring author, his courses are useful. Though he obviously knows the importance of marketing and the business side of writing, Dan still insists that you must “put your craft first and accept that the world needs what you create.”
15. Elna Cain
Elna Cain is a Canadian freelance writer, consultant, mentor, and mom to twins. Her website has been featured on Business Insider and ranked in the Top 100 Sites for Freelance Writers. Over 20,000 writers have learned from her courses, including Freelance Blogging in a Weekend. Follow Elna if you want to learn how to do what she did: “Within six months I was able to earn a full-time income as a part-time freelance writer.”
16. Sebastian Rusk
The author of Podcasts Suck! (if you don’t have one) is also digital storyteller, emcee, speaker, and podcast launch specialist. As the founder of Podcast Launch Lab and Beyond the Story, Rusk ranks #16 in Podcasting and Webcasting on Amazon. Sebastian Rusk is who you learn from if you want to start a podcast. And you might need a podcast even if you don’t think you do: “If you are launching something new, you should be launching that ‘something new’ with a podcast.”
17. Joanna Wiebe
Jo is THE Copy Hacker. With 15 years of experience and trusted by over 70,000 companies, Joanna Wiebe will teach you how to get conversions from words. Some of her clients include Canva, Intuit, MetaLab, Sprout Social, and Prezi. Over 10,000 successful copywriters, freelancers, and content marketers have taken her courses at Copyhackers Academy. As the #1 advocate for copywriting, she believes that “copywriters are the best-kept secret in the sales and marketing world.”
18. Jon Morrow
In his own words, Jon Morrow is just “a dude on a computer, trying to make the world a better place.” He’s the CEO at Smartblogger. Despite having spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), he says, “Not only have I survived my condition, but I’ve built a life most people only dream about.” That life includes a multi-million dollar company and more than 5 million readers of his blogs. If you want to earn a high passive income by blogging, take some of his courses.
19. Jacob McMillen
Jacob McMillen was once a salesman who hated sales. Now, he’s a six-figure freelance copywriter, blogger, and founder of Write Minds. If you Google “copywriter,” he’s usually the #1 result – he may have hated sales, but he was good at it. To become a six-figure writer in a year and get quality clients, take the internet’s best copywriting course or his free course. He sums up his own value well: “I have the best free training for freelance copywriters online. Period.” Enough said.
Pssst… Jacob’s story is featured inside Skip the Degree. It’s just one of over 40 expert contributions to the book. Get your copy today and get inspired.
20. Ann Handley
Ann Handley is a writer, speaker, digital marketing pioneer, and tiny house owner. Named the most influential woman in social media and one of the top 20 women bloggers, she is a Wall Street Journal best-selling author and the CCO of Marketing Profs. There, she offers courses on how to become a better writer, storyteller, and marketer. Her Total Annarchy newsletter is also full of useful marketing tips and ideas. To her, “In today’s online world, writing matters more — not less.”
Content Strategy Experts to Follow
Content strategy guides the creation, delivery, and governance of useful, usable content. That’s why, if you’re a marketer, content strategy is doubly important. While many of the marketers previously mentioned are also content strategists, the following two experts are paragons of the industry.
21. Kristina Halvorson
“Woohoo, content strategy!” You can tell that Kristina Halvorson is content strategy’s biggest fan. With more than 20 years spent in the industry, she has consulted 30 Fortune 100 companies and basically made content strategy essential with Content Strategy for the Web. Her podcast ranks in the top 10%, with 100,000 downloads since 2019. What does she do for a living? She talks about how content strategy is awesome. If you want to learn content strategy, she is the woman to follow.
22. Mark Schaefer
Globally recognized as a strategy expert, Mark Schaefer has advanced degrees in marketing and Organizational Development, has made seven patents, and consulted startups and brands such as Adidas, the United States Air Force, and Dell. His books are used as textbooks in 50 universities. He even studied under THE Peter Drucker. Though a strategy veteran, his marketing purpose is to retain humanity. “The fact is,” he says, “we cannot love a logo, a jingle, or a piece of branded content. But we can love a person.”
Save the Tuition but Follow the Experts
Career searching and determining the best sources of self-education can be daunting. But it doesn’t have to be. Now that you know who to follow, you can start soaking up information right away. So save the tuition and learn from the people who know what they’re doing.
One word of advice before you click “follow” 22 times: Don’t follow everyone. Pick a handful to follow, and when you’re ready to invest in courses, take one at a time. Too many sources of information will just hinder your learning. You’re investing in yourself – the best kind of investment – so make it count.
Are you ready to dive in and start learning? Find out how to save the tuition with Julia McCoy and Dr. Ai Addyson-Zhang – get your copy of Skip the Degree, Save the Tuition.