This page is a collection of questions people frequently ask about me, or about things I haven’t yet had time to make a proper piece of content about. I’ll keep updating it as I go.
Are you a student?
I finished my formal education when I graduated college in 2013; however, I’m still constantly learning through books, Coursera courses, and experiences.
What did you major in/where did you go to school?
I went to Iowa State University and majored in Management Information Systems. It’s basically IT management – think computer science, but replace all the math and physics with business classes, and replace most of the programming with networking, project management, and database stuff.
Is that a good major?
Yes. It teaches both a hard skill set and gives you a well-rounded business education, in addition to building some communication skills. That being said, remember that I haven’t worked in that field since my junior-year corporate internship, so talk to your school’s career counselor before taking my advice sight-unseen.
What was your GPA when you graduated?
3.46 (out of a possible 4). My GPA was quite good, but not perfect – and I’m completely satisfied with that. I started college with the intention of earning perfect grades, but after a couple of years, I realized my time would be better invested in my personal projects due to the nature of my goals. As an entrepreneur, no one will ever ask to see my GPA to judge my merit – they’ll only care about my past work. That may be the same for the path you’re on – or it might not be!
What’s your MBTI personality type?
I get asked this a lot, and I would be classified as an ENTJ. However, MBTI is inaccurate and isn’t a useful indicator of personality.
I want to start a blog/Youtube channel of my own; any advice?
I wrote a full tutorial on how to start a blog – it’s the longest blog post I’ve ever written.
As for Youtube: Just start making videos and gain some skill. Check out my friend Caleb Wojcik – his whole focus is online video.
Your channel will probably do better if you focus it on something rather than making it very general. And don’t pick “personal development” as your topic – people only want to listen to “personal development gurus” who have already had a ton of success in their lives. They won’t care that you read 50 business books. Get more specific.
Caveat: For 99% of the YouTube advice I could give you, there are people out there who have done the exact opposite and are wildly successful. So take anything I say with a grain of salt.
Caveat 2: Just want to have fun making videos? Then do that and don’t worry about anything I say – my YouTube strategy is very much based around results and growth.
Is YouTube your job?
College Info Geek is my company, and running it is my full-time job. Here’s a breakdown of what that includes:
- YouTube – researching, scripting, filming, editing, creating motion graphics, designing thumbnails and featured images, writing full blog posts for each video
- Podcasting – booking guests, recording, editing
- Writing standalone articles – I do this very rarely these days; Ransom writes most of them now
- Marketing – writing newsletters, posting stuff to social media
- Answering emails – please send help
- Speaking at schools
- Participating in meetings
- Administrative work – bookkeeping, booking travel, other various bits and bobs
- Drinking coffee
- Leading mid-day Pokemon Go excursions
Sometimes I tackle huge, one-time projects as well. Past ones include:
- Designing this site’s theme from scratch in Photoshop
- Writing 10 Steps to Earning Awesome Grades
So you run the whole thing yourself?
I did for the first 5-ish years, but not anymore! Now, I get help from these awesome people:
- Martin Boehme co-hosts all non-interview podcast episodes, edits all podcast episodes, does all the coding/programming on the site, helps with course development and research, and occasionally helps film videos.
- Anna Ellenberger illustrates all the social media images for the podcast.
- Ransom Patterson writes all the standalone articles (the ones without a video).
How do you make money?
Advertising, partnerships, speaking fees, and book sales. The Resources page features some of the companies I’ve partnered with. Using the links there benefits College Info Geek at no extra cost to you; in many cases, I’m able to offer a special discount. (Additionally, most of the resources there are free – only some cost money).
I also earn income through advertising on my other podcast, Listen Money Matters.
In the future, I’ll create and sell courses as well.
How did you get to the point where this can be your job?
It’s hard to boil down 5+ years of work into anecdotes, but here are a few:
- I started with a passion for the topic and didn’t have any intention of making money at first
- I’m always looking for ways to improve any aspect of my business
- I create deadlines and force myself to publish consistently – because that’s what professionals do, and you have to act like a professional if you want to be one
- If something’s already been done, my goal is to do it better or find a unique angle on it
- I built relationships with people I could learn from
- I listen to my audience and create things that help with the problems they tell me about
- I learned a ton from Pat Flynn and the Fizzle guys, and can’t recommend their work highly enough.
Where can I buy your WordPress theme?
The CIG theme is completely custom – it was a collaborative project between Martin Boehme and myself, and it was built to match my exact needs and accommodate all the little quirks my site has acquired over five years of existence.
However, it rides on top of the Volatyl Framework, which can give your theme’s codebase a good head start if you decide you want to go custom as well.
I have a question you didn’t answer here.
It’s impossible for me to answer every question (see my duties above), but the best place to ask is here:Follow @TomFrankly