eBusiness Institute

Matt Raads alternative to university education

How Kristen Started Her Work-From-Anywhere Career Without Going To University

Are you a parent with teenagers who aren’t sure if they should go to university?

Kristen is our youngest student who started learning her digital skills with eBusiness Institute at the age of 12. She started out shy and hiding behind mum and dad.

Today, Kristen is 20 years old, and is a leader in her community. She has also built a successful digital career at home through buying and selling websites.

The great thing studying digital education is that your kids can do it part-time around school or full-time as a new career.

So, if you are looking for alternatives for your kids from the traditional mainstream lifestyle, then check out Kristen’s inspiring story.

WATCH THE VIDEO BELOW or read the transcript to see our alternative to university education

How Kristen built a successful digital career without going to university…

Matt Raad: Hi again, everyone. It’s Matt Raad here from the eBusiness Institute, where we teach people how to both buy and build websites, and specifically, we teach beginners.

Today is an exciting interview because we’ve noticed something over the last 10 years of running the eBusiness Institute.

Young eBusiness students are skipping university and learning digital skills instead

Matt: We’re a private training organisation specialising in teaching people specific digital skills. We teach people how to make money online by buying and building websites.

And as most of you know, we train corporates (professionals) and, let’s call them adults (older members of our community), typically who have kids. These are people who want to get away from working long hours and start earning money online.

But we also end up training their kids to build online businesses. So, over the last 10 years, we’ve been fortunate because we have quite a few younger people who are learning this skill.

Not only that, but if you’re a parent, you’ll find this interesting. Many of our younger people are deciding to skip university because it’s too expensive and time-consuming. Instead, they do our training and use these skills in their career in the digital space, and they do this full-time.

Kristen started learning these digital skills at the age of 12

Matt: Today, we have one of our star students in that cohort of young people. She’s been with us for many years, and I thought it would be a great opportunity to speak with her.

Not only is she one of our star students, but she’s the youngest student who ever started with us. In fact, she’s been with us a lot longer than I initially realised!

So, Kristen, I want to thank you for coming along today and agreeing to do this interview with us.

Kristen: Thanks for having me. It’s great to be here.

Matt: A lot of people in our community already know you. But they usually know you because you are in tow with your mum and dad (Rosemary and Stuart), who’ve been with us for many years.

Your mum is a teacher, and your dad is a chef?

Kristen: That’s right.

Matt: They were working long hours and wanting to get out of it.

So, you saw your parents going through that journey of learning how to buy and sell websites over the years.

She realised why you don’t need to go to university

Matt: And Kristen, do you mind us knowing how old you are now?

Kristen: I’m 20.

Matt: And when did you first start with us? When did you first hear about Matt and Liz Raad?

Kristen: I started with Matt and Liz when I was 12. My parents brought me to their events, so that’s how it all began.

Matt: That’s awesome.

So presumably, being only 12, you were coming to these events thinking, “What the heck is all this buying website stuff and learning about websites?”

And then fast forward to today; you’re now 20 years old. Have you gone to university?

Kristen: No, I left school during year 11, and I was able to just continue with what I have been learning with eBusiness Institute.

Kristen now runs a 6-figure business with her parents

Matt: Now, you work online full-time with your mum and dad. Do you work with them in their Paramatta digital agency?

Kristen: Yes, I get to work alongside them.

I work a lot with clients in building their websites and getting them up and running online. It’s really exciting getting to work with so many different industries.

Matt: Absolutely. That’s incredible, Kristen.

Kristen left high school to make money online full-time

Matt: So, it was fun catching up with you face-to-face the other day when I was in Sydney. And it got me thinking that you have a great story to tell here. You skipped university to do this full-time, and I remember when you guys were asking if you should do this?

And so, you stopped school in year 11 to do this full-time; is that correct?

Kristen: That’s right. I started taking the website stuff seriously in year 10 of high school. I decided this was the path I wanted to take. So I got a bit of a head start with it.

She built her first website when she was just 15

Matt: And how old were you when you could build your first website? Let’s start at the beginning.

Kristen: Well, I started coming to the events when I was 12, and it took a few years to get my head around it. And then, I built my first website when I was 15.

Matt: And then in year 11, you decided to quit school. Would you say that was an unusual decision amongst your family and friends to make?

Kristen: I think it was. I had been thinking about it for a while before actually making the decision. But yes, I think it took a few people by surprise!

Matt: Myself included.

For the record, I suggested at the time that maybe don’t quit school. But we’ll talk about why you did this in a minute.

This gave her the confidence to have a career without going to university

Matt: At this age, did you already want to be an entrepreneur? What was the influence there? Because I want to point out to all the parents reading this that Kristen is one super-smart young lady. She could easily blitz it at school, so it’s got nothing to do with the marks or anything like that.

What was your thinking, Kristen? Why did you want to quit school and not go to university?

Kristen: I just saw it as an opportunity to do something that was maybe a little unusual, especially in the circles I was part of at school.

Being surrounded by people like Matt and Liz (and people with a very entrepreneurial mindset) opened up a different doorway for me. I thought, “Well, we’ll see how we go. Just take a risk.”

And from there, I haven’t looked back. It’s definitely a decision I was happy to make.

Matt: Ok, great. It’s been amazing to watch your journey.

All of us in the Champions community know your journey and have watched you develop so much over the years.

Choosing to be an entrepreneur rather than working a traditional job

Matt: So, looking back over your journey, I would suggest it was in year 11 that you got really serious about this. You were thinking, “Ok, I’m not going to do the normal 9:00 to 5:00 job thing.” And we’ll talk about what your mum said there in a minute too.

But, for other kids reading this, let’s put you on the spot here because you’re now an adult. What advice would you give teenagers (say 16 or 17 years old) considering a university course?

Should I go to university?

Matt: Suppose someone is studying hard for year 12 and is thinking about attending university. Do you have any insights or advice for someone in that position?

Kristen: I would say it depends on what path you want to take.

For me, I was very clear about wanting to take an entrepreneurial route. So, if you are very clear that’s the route you want to take, then go for it and see where it leads.

I think there’s a lot you can get out of going to university. So, there’s definitely value in that. It just depends on what direction you are looking to take.

But there’s also a lot of value in putting yourself out there. You never know what might happen and what opportunities could come up.

Kristen leverages the support of the Champions community to build her online business

Matt: I also want to point out that for parents reading, this is another big benefit for Kristen being part of our community.

Back then, your mum and dad would take you to all our workshops, and you met many different people. You were hanging around with a lot of entrepreneurial adults that must have influenced you quite heavily, I’m guessing.

Kristen: Absolutely. Just getting to see a whole bunch of people who are already out there doing it.

There are also a lot of people in Matt and Liz’s community that I used to look up to when I was getting started. I would see what they were doing, and I’d think it’d be really cool if I could do that too.

It’s about getting out there and networking with people.

Matt: Yes, so you had some excellent role models.

The benefit of being around people who inspire you

Matt: I want to give some advice to all our young readers. I highly recommend you do what Kristen did here.

When Kristen started getting active in our community at 12 years old, there weren’t many other young kids in our program. So, she’s hanging out with all these adults, parents looking to quit their jobs, and already working in corporate roles etc. And she realises, “Wow, they’re also making this journey.”

And over the recent years, a few more younger students are joining us (such as Jasmine and Jack etc.), who are starting to do the same as you. They were a few years older than you, and you saw them choosing not to go to university. They’re doing this digital training instead.

So, out of interest, Kristen, who were some of the people that inspired you in our community? Give them a shout out.

Kristen: Yes, well there are a few people who inspired me, such as:

They are all Ultimate Champion Cup winners. Seeing them on stage and talking about how they’d gone with their online journey was really inspiring for me.

I would look up to them and think, “It would be cool to do what they’re doing and become friends with them one day.”

…and today Kristen is the one who is inspiring others!

Matt: Well done, Kristen, and you are one of them now! You are one of our star students, and you’ve also won the Ultimate Champions Cup, the eBusiness Institute’s highest award.

You inspire all the other people in our community now as well. Particularly a lot of our younger readers who may have just started the course or are coming on board.

So, congratulations, you should be proud of yourself.

Kristen: Thank you. It was really exciting winning that award, and I remember thinking at the time, “I can’t believe this is happening.”

Matt: It’s a nice way to look back on your journey. And I know your mum and dad enjoy looking back on this and the changes you’ve made.

Teenager using digital skills to earn money online
Kristen won the Ultimate Champions Cup for the digital skills she learned to build her online business

Kristen used networking to build her online business

Matt: Another thing that really impresses the people in our community is that you get out there and do a lot of work in the public eye. You are working with adults advising them on their businesses and their digital marketing strategy. And one of the things you’re very involved in is with BNI.

Kristen: Yes, BNI has played a big part in getting me where I am today.

I started going to my first BNI meetings at the end of 2018. At first, I was just visiting and getting my confidence up. Then I eventually joined, and it was outside my comfort zone for quite a while. I had to force myself to network and get out there.

But now, I’ve been able to meet a whole bunch of different businesspeople who I wouldn’t have otherwise gotten that introduction to.

For the people I meet, it’s an excellent opportunity to be able to advise them on their websites. It gives me a good insight into so many different industries online as well.

She stepped outside of her comfort zone to become a leader

Matt: Not only that, but you’re in a leadership role now.

Kristen: Yes, I’ve been asked to take on a couple of leadership roles, including being an ambassador and a visitor host. I get to greet everyone as they come through the door. So, it’s really a good opportunity to push myself even further.

Matt: Well, for many years, Liz and I (and everyone else in our community) have seen you develop from someone who was super shy. As adults, when we look at you, we used to see this young 14–15-year-old who was really shy and quietly hiding behind mum and dad.

So, I’m really proud of what you’ve done there, and I’ve realised you’re as chalk and cheese to who you are today and what you’re achieving.

Kristen used this alternative to university to develop early as an entrepreneur

Matt: It’s great to see you come out of your shell. It’s not just about the skills you’ve learned here. But it’s also the mindset you’ve learned and hanging around all these adults. What a way to develop!

And that’s what you shared at our last Bootcamp, too, about how you developed at this age.

I keep saying, “I wish I knew the stuff that you’ve learned at the age of 20 as an entrepreneur.” I would’ve blitzed it as an entrepreneur way earlier than I did. But I was a late-starting entrepreneur.

So, to see what you’ve achieved already by the age of 20 and to see you take this career path has just been phenomenal.

Kristen: Thank you.

I’ve learned so much from Matt and Liz Raad. Thanks to them, I’ve had all these opportunities, and I don’t take that for granted.

Is university worth it?

How Kristen uses buying and selling websites to make money without having to go to university…

Matt: Out of the strategies we teach, your mum and dad are running an awesome digital agency, and you’re very much a part of that. You’re the one who is negotiating with business owners.

What a great education for a young person to get. You not only negotiate, but you advise full-on businesses too. And some of these are pretty big businesses.

Kristen walks in there and tells them what to do. She shares with them what she thinks about doing about doing and how they can fix up their website.

That’s impressive in itself.

She loves the laptop lifestyle websites gives her outside of mainstream education

Matt: But Kristen, another skill you have delved right into over the years is building and buying passive websites. That’s a passion for you as well, isn’t it?

Kristen: Yes, so I love the digital agency side of things.

But building a portfolio is another side of it; I can get that creative freedom to run it however I like. If I build the site from scratch, it’s really exciting to see it go from the ground up and see that progress.

And for some of the sites I’ve bought, there’s always a work in progress. But it’s exciting to work on them and bring out their potential. It’s good being able to work on something for yourself as well.

Matt: That’s pretty cool as a 20-year-old. You’re out there building this portfolio of passive (or semi-passive) websites, and you work on them a lot.

But do you talk to your friends about it? Do you say, “Hey, I invest in websites.”? It must be a pretty different conversation, I’d imagine.

Kristen: Some of my friends probably don’t know much about what I do. But other people I’ve mentioned it to are intrigued by the idea of investing in the online space. So, it’s cool to be able to talk about it.

…And the freedom she gets from working on her own website portfolio

Matt: Do you have your own websites that you keep separate from your mum and dad?

Kristen: Yes, I’ve got a few of my own portfolio websites.

A lot of the websites we have are a team effort. But it’s good to have a couple of my own as well. It allows me to move them in any kind of direction that I want.

Matt: And so, you can go into the passion niches you like to work in, exactly like we teach?

Kristen: Definitely.

Matt: I know some of the sites you have because I’ve helped you on them, and they’re seriously impressive. The traffic is going up and the results are coming in. So, they’re really nice assets to be sitting on.

Having website assets is like having money in the bank. They’re highly valuable. One of our latest members just sold a start-up site for $20,000, which is very similar to the sites you are making.

Kristen: It’s great to see the potential and watch their curve go up as well. And hearing stories like that one is motivating as well.

Kristen is now partnering with other students on bigger projects

Matt: That leads me to another point. Even at a young age, you’re already in joint ventures with some of our other Champions.

I know someone who inspired you was Nathan Alexa. You’ve seen their portfolio of websites they’ve bought and are building them up. And so, you’ve partnered with them on a project?

Kristen: Yes, that was something that came up and I thought, “Why not?”

It’s such a cool opportunity to be able to share ideas with each other, as well as share the load. You can input where your strong points are, and you can all contribute in different ways. So, it’s great to be able to collaborate.

Matt: That’s super cool, and it’s amazing to think of all the skills you’ve learned.

what can I do instead of going to university
Kristen loves the laptop lifestyle owning a portfolio of websites gives her

Can you build an online business around university?

Matt: There may be people reading this, trying to decide what to do here. They’re trying to decide whether or not to go to university.

Looking back over what you’ve learned. Do you think this course would work, and you could do it part-time whilst starting university?

Kristen: Definitely.

I remember when I started the Champions program, I was in year 10. And so, I would get up at 3:30-4:00 AM and watch a few webinars, build a couple of websites, and then go to school.

You just need to manage your time around it. It’s definitely something you can do as well as university, and it’s totally worthwhile.

Matt: Awesome. That gives people a lot of insights there. If you’re driven and have that goal, you can do it regardless.

How passive websites allows Kristen to live a laptop lifestyle on her own terms

Matt: Kristen, you’ve been around us now for a long time. You’ve got quite a different outlook on this than most people who don’t understand what we all do here, like investing in passive websites.

I’m interested; as a 20-year-old, what does passive income mean to you now?

Kristen: It gives you a sense of freedom to take on different opportunities that come up. Having passive income also means you can invest in other things.

It also alters your mindset a bit, knowing that you don’t necessarily have to take on a 9:00 to 5:00 job. You can live a laptop lifestyle on your own terms. And it’s really exciting getting to design the life that you want.

Matt: That is super cool. And I want to quote your mum, Rosemary, who said to me, “Kristen flat out refuses to ever do a 9:00 to 5:00 job.” So there you go!

You’re quite serious about this, aren’t you? Are you definitely not going to do the 9:00 to 5:00 thing?

Kristen: No. The closest I ever got was doing a 9:00 to 3:00 for a couple of months.

For me, it’s important to be able to live a lifestyle of your own choice, and this allows you to do that, which really excites me.

How would a 20-year-old invest $10,000?

Matt: You’re a 20-year-old who has been doing this course with us for many years, you have all these digital skills through training in this space, and you know how to buy and build websites.

So, I’m also interested; what would you do if you had $10,000 to invest today?

Think about if you were someone new coming onto this course. Perhaps you’re one of our older people who typically have that sort of money to invest.

Even if you’re not new, just as a 20-year-old, what would you invest $10,000 into today?

Kristen: I would put it into a website. I would have a look at what’s available and the different options.

If I was just starting out in the online space, investing in what Matt and Liz Raad are teaching is also super valuable. So, I would join the Champions program.

And I would look at the online website brokerage platforms to see what’s out there. That’s because you invest now, and then it comes back to you multiple times over.

The online space is always growing and changing, and there’s so much opportunity out there. So yeah, I think it’s the place to go at the moment.

Matt: Thank you so much, Kristen. It’s really great to hear that from someone like yourself.

Kristen has secured her future with her digital skills

Matt: You’re in a unique position where you’ve been around us for so long, and more importantly, you’ve been involved in our community. Everyone knows and loves you, and they’ve seen you develop so well.

I’ve been coaching you, your mum and your dad on a couple of websites in particular. You have some very big successful websites in your portfolio. And it must be mind-blowing for a 20-year-old to watch these AdSense sites and big Directory sites take fold and see all that money come in.

So, I want to say a big congratulations on where you are today. I’m sure you’ll blitz it in the coming years. I can’t wait to do another update interview with you in another year or two. Are you up for that?

Kristen: Sounds good. I’m up for that!

Matt: Awesome.

You’re helping to inspire lots of people now. When you were in year 11 of high school, I bet you never thought you’d be out there inspiring everyone, just like the people you saw a few years ago who inspired you.

So, I do want to say a big thank you for chatting with us today. Also, coming and speaking at our events and sharing so openly with people about what you’re doing. It’s just awesome.

Ready to pursue your own alternative option to university?

Matt: If you want to go deeper into what Kristen has learned over the years, like the Digital Investor Program, obviously, as Kristen said, consider checking it out. But at the very least, make sure you sign up for our free masterclass on our website. We go through our exact strategies, the same strategy that Kristen and her mum and dad have learned over the years. We teach you how to buy, build and sell websites, and it’s a digital skill for the future I believe in very, very strongly.

And as you heard, Kristen believes in it very strongly. She’s living proof. She’s doing this full-time now without ever going to university.

A big thank you, Kristen, for helping inspire so many of our community, and we’ll see you in the next interview.

Kristen: Thanks for having me. It’s always great to chat, and I’m inspired by what you guys are teaching, so thank you.

Matt: Thanks, Kristen. Awesome.

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