The idea of working a job to make your way through college and into your career is certainly nothing new. For Baby Boomers, working a summer job could give them enough money to pay for a year’s tuition, especially if they worked part time during the school year. As wages stayed fairly stagnant but the costs of higher education started to rise, Gen X found themselves, and often their parents, taking out student loans.
They were generally able to find well paying jobs after college that allowed them to pay back their loans quickly. Millennials, however, have struggled to find that same balance. With wages still stagnant since the 1970s, but the cost of college becoming absolutely staggering, they are often turning to creative means to be able to attend higher education.
Enter the concept of crowdfunding yourself. Through traditional crowdfunding websites or through specialized sites, you can ask for investments in yourself. More specifically, investors choose to invest in you, your future education, and your eventual career. This gives you a chance to get an extended education without accumulating debt you can’t ever hope to pay off.
What Appeals To Investors
What may be complicated about this investment solution, however, is that just like startups trade future interests in the company for venture capital, most of these types of crowdfunding campaigns work by giving up a portion of your future salary for a set amount of time (up to 10 years under some models). If you get a good job and are earning a significant salary, investors could make a significant return on their investment; if you don’t get that great job, however, they are less likely to do so.
Just like good crowdfunding requires the creator to push their product through marketing and personal connections, platforms that offer this sort of crowdfunding believe that having investors personally engaged with your career will encourage them to network with you and for you, helping you make connections to the broader world in your field. After all, if their ROI depends on you getting a good job, it makes sense that they’ll want to see that happen.
How To Get Started
To start this type of crowdfunding, there’s some information you’ll want to provide. Your education, your interests, your grades, and what your experience is in your desired field. Your passions are important, and can provide a necessary human element to engage investors. Any connections or networking you have now that can be exploited is also important.
You’ll also need to find and research the right platform for crowdfunding. This is a new concept, and investors may be nervous about taking the leap into this untried form of venture capitalism and investment. Connecting with potential investors and really showing your commitment to your career path will likely be crucial; after all, if you collect money and exchange on your income for a business career then go back to a lower paying job, investors will lose out on their investment, and they are likely to be disappointed. Convincing them of your commitment to fulfilling their investment is likely to be crucial.
How This Benefits You – And What It Can Cost
This method of funding your career could have phenomenal benefits. The most obvious application is financing something like education, or paying off debt so that you can afford to work on a passion project, but there are other options as well. Perhaps an upcoming conference could give your startup the push it needs to start to succeed, but you don’t have the capital on your own for tickets, hotel, travel, and expenditures while you’re there. It might be possible to crowdfund your business trip in exchange for a percentage of the returns once your business expands.
It could also benefit you to have someone in your corner as you work on climbing the corporate ladder. Mentoring is a huge part of building a successful business over time, and those who are committed to your success often make the best mentors. Those who are financially interested may be able to give you advice that is both practical and passionate, since they may better understand how those things need to work together to create a truly successful career.
But just like businesses need to consider carefully how many shares of their company they want to give away during funding rounds, it’s important for you to consider how much of your future salary you really want to give away. Are you willing to sacrifice a portion of your future success in order to avoid debt now? The answer will tell you whether or not this type of crowdfunding might be for you.