The Jack of NO Trades – New Breed of Online Entrepreneurs

Karol K
Karol K. (@carlosinho) is a blogger and writer for hire. He has his work published all over the web, on sites like:, Six Revisions, Web Design Ledger,, Quick Sprout, ProBlogger, Writers in Charge, and others.
Karol K
Karol K
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Here’s one for you: would you raise your hand to be a part of a team responsible for building a nuclear power plant if you were not an educated, nuclear scientist? Probably not. So what makes you think that you can start an online business if you haven’t gone through any kind of business school?

You probably have a clue where I’m going with it.

Is traditional education important for online entrepreneurs? Or is it completely redundant? Can a Jack of No Trades succeed?

(Don’t get me wrong though. I’m not ranting on anyone here, which you will realize in just a moment.)

Of course, having some business education can’t possibly harm you, but do you really need it in order to succeed? When building a nuclear power plant you surely do, but is online business any different when you boil it down to the essential skills and knowledge?

My answer is both yes and no. Here’s what I mean. There are basically two ways of obtaining knowledge about anything. You can either get it through a precise, thorough school-like process (by learning and memorizing lots of theoretical material), or through action and gaining experience from a first person perspective.

Therefore, there are also two kinds of activities you can pursue:

Experience driven vs knowledge driven

Experience driven activities require very little education to get started. These are the things you can start doing right away and figure stuff out along the way.

Knowledge driven activities, on the other hand, require a bigger amount of fundamental education to get started. These are the things that you can’t be doing if you don’t have enough expertise.

What about online business?

I believe that online business

lies somewhere in between, and that’s the beauty of it.

Basically, you can start with next to zero knowledge, have some business ideas, figure the essential stuff out along the way, launch a website, offer something to the world, and adjust later.

I’m saying this because the starting activities are not that difficult. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to be successful. There are only two mandatory requirements: the desire to make it happen and the will to put some hard work into the project (well, some amount of money may be useful too).

Then if you want to take your online business to the next level, some specific, targeted education/data/advice might come handy. You might have to consult with someone more experienced and more knowledgeable than you, or go through a training program. However, the starting point is available to everybody. Even if you’re a Jack of No Trades when it comes to the online business world.

Let’s get one thing straight. I’m not here to convince you that you need or don’t need education to be an online entrepreneur. What I really want to do is ask you a question, find out what your opinion is.

What would you do if someone gave you a significant amount of money and two choices what you can do with it:

  1. Spend it on top-notch business education, so you can start a tailor-made, well researched business later, and hopefully be successful because of all the things you’ve learned.
  2. Use it to start a business immediately, in a field where you have absolutely no expertise, and try to figure stuff out along the way.

You can choose only one of these paths. Not a combination of both or anything like it. It’s either #1 or #2.

I’m really looking forward to your answers. Please don’t hesitate to speak up in the comments and tell me what your choice is and why.


  1. your article is pretty good i will choose option #1, Because if i have some knowledge about some work than i can easily cross the hurdle in my work, knowledge is must to start anything knowledge gives us self confidence. if you are choosing any wrong way than you are just wasting your time and money.
    i will say about the second option it is risky if you have patience than you choose this path.
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  2. Well hello Karol, always option 2. Why waste time on an education teaching you business lessons based upon historic ideals and principles when you could get in the trenches and focus on building a business based upon today’s business reality. Of course this could ultimately be the more expensive option but you will if you are focussed enough only learn what you need to whilst connecting with those that have the knowledge and expertise to fill your gaps.

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  3. Hey Karol,
    Excellent Article. I will prefer 1 option. Because without a quality knowledge you can’t sustain for long time . Also starting any business without any knowledge is like searching any object in darkness . Chances of failure is more than success .
    Awesome article by the way. Thanks for sharing it.

    Ritul Gangwar
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  4. I am thinking with the basics you can get started but there comes a point when you want to take it to the ‘next level’ you have to think more seriously about your knowledge level.
    Example- Anyone can figure out (learn) how to put up a WordPress blog and write about tea. But if you want to get ranked you have to learn about SEO and you have to learn about business so you can learn about affiliates or direct marketing or ???
    So yes, education IS important but you do not need a MBA to do good business.
    Troy S. recently posted…Airsoft Etiquette videoMy Profile

  5. @ Karol K

    Yes, traditional education is important for any entrepreneur, especially online entrepreneurs. The more knowledge, the more firepower one has to dig deeper. Weakness comes from the lack of knowledge and understanding. Sometimes sitting back, observing, listening, and taking notes leads to success. Or should I say, is the key to success. :)

    Great post.
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  6. Hello Karol,

    I still insist on answering your question with a mix of the options provided…this is because, in the real world, a mix is always what make persons super successful and not straight jacket answers.

    I would use part of the money and get an education about the subject matter while I use the rest to invest. Does that option not make sense?

    Akaahan Terungwa recently posted…HOW TO MAKE MONEY ONLINE WRITING EBOOKSMy Profile

  7. Hello Karol, I would differentiate between two types of “active” online users (with active I mean those that add content to the web other than commenting, i.e. they either own a domain (at least a subdomain on, say, blogspot or or participate in a guest blogging scheme, squidoo or some such setup). Type I are those who simply bring to the fore what is on their mind or moves their hearts, whether they’re scrapbookers, gourmets, travel freaks, pet lovers etc. For them ranking in Google may not matter, if only for reasons of vanity. They need not bring tom the table anything else than what they know and if they have a knack for language, all the better. They will find their readers and that’s that. But Type II, those that want to eventually make money, strive even to make a living “from the net”, is a different matter. If you don’t know some basics of research techniques, cannot do some basic calculations and use tabular in a spreadsheet like EXCEL, then it’s hard to see how e.g. you’ll be able to successfully tackle search engine optimization. And without SEO or SEM (or skills in email marketing, which, like successful article writing, require some copywriting skills) Type II will never make much more than what they spend on hosting and ads. They will only be able to eventually quit their day job if they educate themselves and learn a real profession, that of online entrepreneur. Case in point: I was consulting with a small company which though was global market leader in a certain rare mineral commodity. I tried to explain SEO and search ranking to the CEO (an MBA from a European university, son of the founder, a Ph.D. chemist) and how they needed to be among the first, say three, in SERPs to get found for their most important keywords etc. Then next day I got an email from this MBA saying “I just googled our company and it came up second in the list – I don’t see why we should bother with SEO”. When the CIO met me next time and said “See, it’s already settled” I said in exasperation “But don’t you see, that when you search for your own domain it has to come up first! Thats not SEO. But even then you managed only to come up second, which actually is a [negative] feat.” To this day they thrive, but not because of their online acumen. Now they had a solid offline business for fifty years. But an Internet rookie who has NOTHING but high hopes going forward – he/she MUST grab education fast or perish; my opinion.
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  8. Hey Karol,
    Nice post and I really enjoyed this post while reading. If you haven’t gone through any kind of business school, we can also get success in online business but only when we get success when we work hard and consistently and focus into one thing. There are many ways to learn things. If we have some knowledge then we can get success but without knowledge we can also get success by learning from others.Thanks for sharing this post.
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  9. Traditional education is not required for online business. You must have some experience in this field and that you will gain after coming into this field. There’s no need for any type of education but you must have good command in English language. BTW nice post, you have nicely explained every single thing.
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  10. I think I prefer oftion 2. Because I want to challenge by myself and throw me to troubles and I will grow in it. Your article is really cool and I want to train to get experience and I seems dislike Education by reading book, ebook. :3
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  11. I think learning through books and learning through doing are both very important. Unfortunately by the time you get to use what you learn in a book it’s probably redundant. The key is finding what fits for your business.
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  12. You said it mate! I have seen so many of Online Entrepreneur who are not master in anything, just knowing a bit about many things. May be lost or confuse in taking a right call & strong step, to master on something!

  13. I would opt for #2 option. Mainly because I had much rather get advice from people who are successful in the business I am in than sit in a college classroom with some stuffy instructor who has only taught about business and never owned one.
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