We’ve gotten a lot of great questions from our community since launch. Now, we’re going to answer them every Friday here on the Pathly blog.
Before we do that, let’s give a little backstory. I started this company for a simple reason. When I began working at 19 after dropping out of college, there weren’t many places to get world-class, radical advice about building a career from people who had actually done it.
Everywhere I looked, options were too expensive, too time-intensive, outdated, or they relied upon professional “coaches” who were little more than info peddlers and who hadn’t actually lived the lives they were trying to help people create. I would have benefited from something better, and since I couldn’t find it, we’re making it.
At Pathly, we’re building, among other things, a platform that people can use to launch their career through 1-on-1 mentorship from people who have done it so that you can get the answers you need at the most important moments of your career.
To that end, we want to give you a free peak behind the curtain by answering your questions every week for free on the blog, questions that I myself and many people I know had when launching their careers:
How do I know what company I should pursue?
What do I do when nobody wants to hire me?
What about college? Should I go? Will a degree help me get hired?
Where do I find free work opportunities?
How can I sidestep BS and create the kind of career I want now?
We aren’t afraid to give away a bit of our product for free to people around the world because we want our free stuff to be better than the paid stuff you can get elsewhere. This weekly QA is just one part of that.
One thing I learned as the Director of Marketing at Praxis, watching my father build a 30-million dollar business growing up, and while I was working with companies on growth around the US is that you don’t build a massively successful business without talking directly to your customers and going out of your way to solve their problems before they even buy from you.
That’s what we want to do with this weekly QA. You send us your most pressing questions, we’ll answer them.
The new Pathly Friday Q&A
Every Friday (starting next week), we’ll pick a handful of community questions and do our best to answer them with actionable advice.
Here’s how it’ll work:
Of course, we’ll also be working to build out a resource library on the site and growing our main blog into the world’s best career launch blog.
Here’s How The Friday Q&A Will Look
To kick things off, I’m going to include some examples of frequent questions we’ve gotten recently on calls with customers.
In the future, we’ll try include the name of the person asking the question, a link to their comment or Tweet, or a screenshot of their email.
1) “People are rejecting my offers to work for free. What am I doing wrong?”
If you’ve been following my work at all, you’ll know I love free work. I argue about it on Twitter. I write about it. I lived it myself when I started my career and it was one of the most “unfair advantages” I had as a new professional with little practical experience to offer.
Unfortunately, I’m inclined to agree with Ryan Holiday when he writes:
What I should have understood—what most people don’t understand—is that the impediment for entrepreneurs and executives is usually not money: It’s time. It’s trust. It’s lack of skills. It’s the opportunity costs.
Most “free work” proposals fail because the person making it incorrectly thinks it’s costless. It’s not! When an employer hear’s “Hey! I’m really inexperienced but I’m willing to work for free to learn,” what they really hear is “Hey! You know nothing about me and I admit I have nothing to offer but can you take time from your day to teach me?”
In the mind of an employer, your “free work” offer costs them their most important assets: time and energy. Of course they reject it.
So instead of just looking to work for free, you need to find something very specific and quantifiably valuable to do for an employer for free. Even better, you might do it in advance and send it to him.
For example, I helped Voice & Exit save 10% on their MailChimp monthly bill free of charge by writing up for free some instructions for how they could do it. Or, to give another example, I once had someone send me a 3D graphic he made of an eBook we gave away for free at Praxis since we only had a flat version of it.
It’s free, it’s small, it’s quantifiably valuable. How could we say no?
Whether you do the work in advance or not, just following this golden rule when offering to work for free: be definite, be valuable. Free work is never free, so you need to do something that makes it worth the time and mental energy a business owner will put into your role.
I recommend reading the following short book and article:
- The Recession Proof Graduate by Charlie Hoehn
- Sorry, Offering to Work for Free is a Really Bad Strategy by Ryan Holiday
I hope that helps you! As always, you can schedule a call with a Pathly mentor to review your free work proposals before you send them in. We can 10x your chances of getting hired, guaranteed.
2) “How do I pick a field?”
I’ve never liked this question as it’s framed because I don’t think you can give a meaningful answer to the question without first having experience, which you lack as a new professional.
Instead of picking a career category, pick specific activities and opportunities that interest you and just do it. For example, instead of picking “marketing” as a field, try making some videos, writing some blog content for a company, or managing a social media account.
Build yourself up into a career category rather than trying to master plan one in advance by finding specific projects to do rather than a top-level label to fill. That’s what I did, and I was able to have a wide range of cool experiences I never would have had if I took another path.
One day you’ll realize you’ve worked your way into what might loosely be called a “field” and chances are it will be wildly different than what would have happened if you picked a field in advance. And if you keep taking this “bottom-up” approach, you’ll work your way into another field after that.
Incidentally, your Pathly mentor can help you come figure out the kinds of projects to try out and give you specific insight into what it’s like to be in a particular role at a company 😎.
Your Turn: Ask Pathly Anything
I’d love for this new weekly QA to be successful, and provide a valuable repository of answers from Pathly for students, professionals, educators and entrepreneurs everywhere.
To do that, we need your help.
Here’s what you can do to get involved:
- Ask questions. Post them in the comments of this post, Tweet them to us at @TryPathly or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Answer questions. Every Friday, we’ll post a new Q&A segment. If you have anything to add or share regarding any of the questions asked, jump in!