Want to drop out of school? READ THIS! (my personal story, MANY LETTERS)

Every week someone comes to this forum and asks if he or she should drop out of school. Every now and then I hear the same question in real life from my 18-23 year old friends. The answers they get are greatly influenced by the place they present their question at. On BlackHatWorld most folks are encouraging drop-outs and telling how this decision is right and will change their lives to the better.

I know we are all here "too cool for school" and especially too cool to be employed by someone. But let me tell you something. Most people giving you advice to drop out of school and pursue IM career have never dropped out of school themselves. Most of them have never earned a dime in internet. Heck, most of them even have no clue what internet business is besides some shady YT+PPI tactics.

Who am I and why you should listen to me? I dropped out of school twice, when I was 17 and 19 years old. Later, when I was 24 years old, I dropped out from the sophomore year at college. Why I did that? Because I was thinking like most probably you are thinking right now. I was bored of school and wanted to do something serious. I thought that I am smarter and better than others. I thought that people around just "don’t get me" and I couldn’t understand "why no one believed in me". Now looking back, I ask myself two questions:

1. Do I regret dropping out of school and university? NO
2. If I could go back in time and change the past in a way that I would have stayed in school and university, would I use this opportunity? F#$K YES

Aren’t those two answers contradictory? YES, THEY ARE. And later you will understand why but until then let me briefly describe the path I had to go through to reach the point I am currently at.

After I dropped out of school for the first time, I had no idea what I should do next. I did not want to take any money or help from parents because I already went against their will and made my mother sad. Obviously, I had zero skills required to make money doing any white-collar work, so I went to work on construction to get the ball rolling. There I quickly realized that working at construction site without an agreement you had no more rights than African slave. At best I would get 50% of the money I actually earned. So I rather quickly left those jobs, learned PHP programming language and started freelancing.

At the age of 18 I left parents’ house. I had just enough money to pay for the first month to rent a room in a shared apartment. Freelancing allowed me to have some small cash but it was nowhere near enough for living. During those times I learned how to do local SEO a bit. Those were golden times, you could rank #1 for some good local keywords just by doing inner optimization. Combined knowledge of SEO and programming has helped me to get a few regular clients.

Meanwhile, my former classmates have finished school and went to colleges. One of them, who was my best friend at school, has dropped out from the freshman year to try some luck creating own business. He joined forces with his childhood friend and they got around 4500 euros bank loan to start business in outdoor advertising niche. Months went by, they had had a few customers here and there but profits were nowhere enough to cover office rent and other expenses. As negative balance started looming on horizon, my friend came to me asking how to better divide company and start all over alone. What he actually wanted to do is leave his partner with 4500 eur credit and no means of repaying it quickly.

Instead of advising him on this, I offered to overtake the control and all associated liabilities and start doing business together instead. This was one of the best and one of the worst decisions in my life ever. We dumped his partner by mutual agreement after running a few psychological tricks on him. I took their website and using my limited PHP and SEO knowledge reworked it fully. It still was very clumsy and contained many errors in texts written in local language (which was not my native language) but soon enough we started getting first orders from customers.

All you need to know about the next 3,5 years is they were a never ending battle against EVERYTHING I DID NOT KNOW. You know, there’s an idiom "step on a rake". During those 3,5 years I stood on every rake I could find in a 1000 miles radius. We were pricing things incorrectly, we were focusing on wrong things, spending money on wrong advertising, not spending money on right things, taking bad orders and loosing money because of that, not signing agreements, signing bad agreements and so on. Even when we managed to accumulate some profit, we would quickly lose it due to mistakes in production or management.

This picture illustrates those times at their best:

My former schoolmates were doing their sophomore years and taking internships mostly in IT companies. They would think I was doing over 1000 euros per month while actually all I could pay myself during those 3,5 years was below average salary in my country (which was 600-700 eur per month at those times) and sometimes even less. In the first two years of doing own business I was so broke (but proud) that I would visit my parents while they were not at home and "steal" a couple of vegetable or meat cans just to not eat macaroni and fried onion for the 1000th time in a row. I think they knew about it but never said anything.

During my "running own business" times I got into the army but managed to dodge the draft shortly after. This gave me a little perspective over my life and rather quickly I realized that my business model was not working and there was no way to change it due to rigidness in my partner’s thinking. So I told him I was leaving and went to work at one major advertising agency to get some experience.

How did I get hired without even a school diploma? Simply! Doing own business for 3,5 years and having no school diploma is something so outrageous and out of this world that no one even bothered to ask if I had it. I just told on interview that I was planning to enroll in university soon. And I did after finishing school the same year.

When I planned to stay employed for some time, I was secretly hoping to get a rest from 3,5 year long marathon of continuous responsibility and tiredness. Was I right? F#$K NO! Again I was working 10-12 hour shifts building my customer base. In just one year I became third sales person in a company right after agency director and sales manager, who had been working in it 12 and 3 years respectively.

I learned a lot during those times. The most important thing I learned was that pricing didn’t mean as much as I thought it meant. My director would buy things for €4000 and sell for €19000. Buy for €10000 and sell for €80000. The price was irrelevant as long as relationships with clients were good. We did what no other company in this market could do and our profit margins were outrageously high. Later, when I hired salesmen and they told me that my company’s prices were not competitive, I would tell them to shut up and do their work because I used to work two years in a situation where my offer was always the most expensive among all offers a client had received and I knew it was still possible to make good profit. The higher your price, the easier it is to meet sales goals.

However, being employed I felt that my potential was unfulfilled. Even though I was allowed to do lots of things besides sales in that company, they were moving slowly because I had to coordinate my decisions with higher management. I also developed a dream of being free of working in an office cubicle, moving freely around the world and having control over my time. Probably at this point the right decision would be start working on IM in evenings and on weekends and slowly switch to it over time. However, I could not do that because my new dream had dazzled me so hard that I could not do any work in advertising agency anymore. It literally was making me want to puke. I would sit day in and day out doing nothing besides writing out invoices to my repeating customers and living from it.

So I came up with the next plan. I wanted to create an agency similar to the one I worked in and lure away some of my biggest clients there. Of course, this was against the agreement I had signed with my employer but guess what? My employer taught me before that those non-compete commitments didn’t mean much. In the worst-case scenario I would lose a couple thousands euros and would never be hired again by advertising agencies in this country. No big deal. However, if I started competing with them, I would still be vulnerable because I could not defend against full-fledged attack on my new business. They had more salesmen, more money for lawyers and more everything.

I realized I had to do everything smart and disguise my operation as long as possible. During the next two months I was secretly dumping all information from company’s databases, all files related to my projects from designers’ workstations. I dumped all dirt I could find from private servers and wrote down every password I could get my hands on. At the same time I started talking about bitcoins with colleagues and how I made good money trading them. I also made an arrangement with one of my LED modules supplier to become their distributor in my country. This was yet another backup plan and yet another vulnerability.

If clients buying LED modules from me discovered that I also compete with them in outdoor signs manufacturing niche, they would cease buying LEDs in a moment. So I had to use other people as avatars to conduct some of those businesses. This is where my former advertising manufacture business came handy. I made an arrangement with my former partner that I will be selling signs for him and he’ll be manufacturing them. I hired one girl who later turned out to be very dumb but at that moment I only needed her as a proxy between me and clients.

Since the moment I told I was leaving company I used to work in, my plan worked almost flawlessly except a slight falling back on schedule. During the first half year I would implement all gathered knowledge to fuel new business. Once again I was working 10-12 hour shifts but this time building my own thing. Every weakness my former employer had in his model, I fixed and turned into a strength. I even secretly restored relationships with partners who were in conflict with my former employer. I would buy stuff from them with one company, sell it to my "avatar" company and sell further to my former employer. I guess it was their price for mistakes they did.

In the next year I developed this business from zero to 300k euros in yearly revenue. My former partner became my employee and I started hiring new employees. Information was slowly leaking out however. My former employer had noticed my style in what my "avatar" company did. They started presenting me with questions and I was slowly revealing them some information. I was giving away just enough information for them to think they figured me out while there was the whole iceberg remaining under radars. The more time passed, the more defenses I was building and the less weak spots I had had remaining. I even remember being sincerely surprised how they didn’t manage to discover my undercover operation until this moment and start an attack on me because knowing them I fully expected them to do it.

I still needed to maintain a decent level of disguise however because I knew one big 100k eur project would be coming from one of my former clients that year. This project would both be the biggest in the history of my new company and impossible to hide from my former employer, thus resulting in a direct confrontation with him. Leaping ahead in this story, I can tell that I hadn’t got this order. It was all due to one completely unpredictable event. This client was represented by marketing manager, who already knew about my new business and ordered some things from me. I was in very good relationships with her.

One day we had a storm and one of illuminated signs I made for her company during my days working in advertising agency was ripped away from a wall. Of course, marketing manager has called me and asked if this was a warranty case. It was not and it would cost me 500 euros to fix it if I decided to do so. So I answered it was not a warranty case as stated in the agreement. Of course, I expected her to go to my former employee (as a manufacturer of that sign) and ask the same question. I even expected him to call me and address with this question. And I was 100% sure that they knew that this client will pay for repair and still continue ordering from them.

Everything happened as I expected, she called them, they called me for consultation, I advised to reject her and repair the sign for the minimal price. What I could not expect is this particular time they went against their own logic, against everything they taught me before and even against my advise and against common fucking sense. They repaired that sign free of charge. I don’t know what was the reason, perhaps it was Christmas time, everyone was in hurry, they might have forgotten to act timely and later to compensate it somehow just did this job for free. This all didn’t matter to me because now marketing manager’s director in client company ordered to not inquire about new 100k project from me and ask from my former employer instead.

The funniest part of this story: they could not do this project without me anyway. I was the only person in the city who knew that object well and could advise on how to do this project in the best way possible. So my former employer tried to hire me as a consultant. Instead, I sold the idea of doing the project together and sharing massive profits, which we did.

A little later the very same client had accidentally sent a part of private mail exchange between me and her to my former colleague. This was the first time they discovered I was stealing their clients and running massive disguised operation right around the corner. They were outraged! Luckily, common project and warranty liabilities had tied us up so tight that confronting me would most probably lead them to losing one of their biggest clients. Although, other guys from their higher management felt warlike towards me, the director was wise enough man to not launch an attack in which both sides would sustain casualties (but his would be 10x bigger). This was my first serious win and one of the best moments in business. Me and my former boss just became partners with equal rights while my former colleagues remained being 9-5 employees. I could now talk from the position of power while they continued seeking for approval on their thoughts and ideas.

Nowadays me and my former boss are partners in one brick and mortar business. He manages sales, I manage marketing and business development. Although we might not love each other, we are doing good work together.

All events described above and numerous others allowed me to accumulate enough cash start traveling the world, buying nice clothes and a car and finally switch to internet marketing, which I started learning from ground zero. I found a few high-paying customers that allowed me to hire a few employees and start working on new projects. My advertising business was slowly declining without my attention but that did not matter because I had enough time and money to get through initial barrier in the new business.

Little did I know at that moment all my first internet marketing projects will either fail or be canned due to wrongly accounted resources required to jumpstart them. However, a few projects survived and I am developing them by these days. I still have highs and lows. Only during the last year one big client went bankrupt, another lost a lot of business and owes me a big amount of money. Of course, these events influenced me a lot. However, if before such events could blow me away like dust from a table, now I got stronger and they only can influence me like wind can influence a tree. A tree might bend temporarily but will continue standing and growing.

Now you may ask what this all has to do with YOU? And I will explain you what but first let me ask you a question. Do you know who is the only person in the world I envy?

Warren Buffet? No.
Lionel Messi? No.
Vladimir Putin? No.
Ramit Sethi? No.
Tim Ferriss? No!!!

The only person in this world I envy is YOU. It’s fucking YOU who I envy.

After reading my story, you may think: "what’s bad in it? I would do the same and become at least moderately successful as you did!" But it’s only facade, it’s only one side of the coin. The other side is that during first five years or so of doing my business I could not afford to buy myself a car. I could not afford to travel somewhere. I could not afford do buy a suit. I could not afford to rest for a few weeks. On my first job interview I was dressed in an old dirty leather jacket. Heck, there were times when I would not go to hair saloon because I had no money to do a haircut. My friends were asking why I would not cut hair off and I would answer I had no time.

You may think you are different.
You may think you are smarter and better than me.
You may think the economy is better now.
You may think your parents will support you.
You may think whatever bullshit story you might want to tell yourself to rationalize dropping out of school.

And I will laugh in your face because 10 years ago I thought the exactly same things. Exactly the same. Until 2007 crisis hit me in the face with a sledge-hammer. Nassim Nicholas Taleb calls such events "black swans" and be sure you will have a lot of black swans in your life. Black swan is a very improbable event, which when happened has extreme consequences.

Could I predict 2007 recession being 18 year old boy? No
Could I predict event described in the story above that led to me losing a big project? No.
Could I predict my clients going bankrupt or losing business, thus influencing my business’ stability? Rather no.

I learned everything the hard way. While I was scrambling among rocks, my friends and former classmates were getting good jobs in IT industry, traveling the world, partying and doing all kind of stuff I would like to do. But I don’t envy them because they are now as old as I am and although they can afford some fun, they don’t have the freedom I have. I envy YOU because you are not yet stuck in some shitty job and haven’t wasted time working 10-12h a day for nine fucking long years like me.

During 9 years in business I have developed a very simple and straightforward system for hiring people. During the hiring process I focus on only two questions:
a) Is this person motivated? Does he/she have a burning desire to work in this field? Does he/she have a burning desire to work with me? Will he/she continue working with me for some time? Will he/she go an extra mile wherever necessary?
b) Is this person reliable? Will he/she correct own mistakes when I indicate them? Will he/she deliver on time and take responsibility for failures?

If both questions answered "yes", it is almost irrelevant whether a person has necessary skills or not because my business does not rely on superstars (this was one of mistakes my first employer did).

My business relies on systems and I hire mostly people in their early 20s (sometimes even younger). I never hire based on resumes I receive. I even don’t read resumes I receive. I teach people I hire everything I know and I envy them because they don’t have to crawl through the shit I had to crawl through to reach the place I am currently at. After two years with me they know 95% of things I learned during 9 years. My ultimate goal is to teach my employees to be so good at business that I could partner up with them and run business together.

The best part: THERE ARE THOUSANDS UPON THOUSANDS EMPLOYERS LIKE ME. You may not believe it, especially if you tried sending resumes or were hired based on your resume. But you are seeing just the lowest level of food chain. The most successful people and companies don’t hire based on resumes. Best positions are filled with people who actually bring something to the table. Show them what you can do for them and they will hire you no matter what.

Now do you remember where we started at? Two questions:

1. Do I regret dropping out of school and university? No, because this made me who I am and I don’t know what road I would have went otherwise.

2. If I could go back in time and change the past in a way that I would have stayed in school and university, would I use this opportunity? Yes, yes and F#$CKING YES!!!! I would stay in school, have fun in college and at the same time find a company I would LOVE to work in and go there and WORK FOR FREE. After a while they would hire me with a 95% chance. Even if they didn’t, I would find another company, just as good as the first one. Rinse, repeat. I would spend 2-3 years learning everything I could learn from them and then would create my own business alone or with them. And I would be exactly at the same place I am currently at except not losing many years of my life crawling through all kinds of shit.


If you don’t, you are hopeless. Like me. Congratulations. Drop out of your school but at least don’t take money from your parents. Have fucking pride to deal with consequences like a man.

P.S. I spent 5 hours of my time writing this for you, little boys (English is my second language, I write slowly). So if you have any questions, you better fucking ask.