If you could go back and change 5 things about your education & career preparation, what would they be?
I was recently asked to take part in a survey of Arts Alumni from Colleges & Universities across the U.S.
The surveyors asked about my work environment and annual income.
There were questions about my student loan debt, how college prepared me for my career, and which skills I had to learn on-the-job.
At the end of the survey, I was taken to a graph that showed how my answers compared to those given the last time they administered the survey.
According to their data, 75% of the 90,000+ people surveyed had been self-employed at some time in their career.
And it made me think about what I would change if I could go back and start over.
Change #1- Join MTNA in College
My university had it’s own chapter of MTNA , but back then I thought it was meant for High School Band Directors.
If I had taken advantage of the discounted Collegiate Membership, I would have learned many of the same techniques I use now in my teaching business. . .But I would have known them ten years earlier.
Change #2- Have a Website Up & Running Before Graduation
Websites take time to rise in the Google Rankings. Having an established website makes people take you more seriously.
Related Content: “Why You Need a Website”
Change #3- Take a Business Class
Music majors are already swamped with required classes. And many of those are worth little or no college credit.
When I was in school, taking an extra class was the last thing I wanted to do. But I could have learned about Marketing. Accounting. Tax Deductions. Communicating with Clients. The list is endless.
Change #4- Take a Computer Class
And not just basic word processing. I am sitting here typing a WordPress post.
I’ve spent hours learning about SEO. Figuring out HTML code. Starting from scratch every time I switch Website Hosts.
My teaching job requires me to use Facebook, Instagram, & Twitter. I have to know how to use Google AdWords, AdSense, & Webmaster Tools.
A lot of these things didn’t exist when I was in college. But I could have at least learned HTML.
Change #5- Never Negotiate My Rates
I live in an area where people are cheap. (I should know; I’m the same way.) But that means I constantly have people trying to get discounts.
At first, I let them talk me into paying much less than I was worth.
Not anymore. Now I nicely tell them I don’t do discounts, and I have a waiting list.
But thinking back, I wonder how much income I’ve lost because I wasn’t willing to stick to my rates.
There you have it. Those are the 5 changes I would make if I could start over. Now I want to hear from you. What would you do differently if you had a second chance?