How to Pay Off Your Student Debt in 6 MONTHS, Thomas Reveals All.


Choosing universities is a pretty big deal in itself, and it's especially exciting to be able to go 'yep, THAT'S the place I want to spend the next few years of my life at'  - but you know the other surprise that comes tagging along with universities? 

A moment of bliss, I hear you ask? Oh heck no, because there's just this ONE. Little. Thing that's getting ready to make you go insane.

(Get ready for these two dreaded words students): 

TUI-ITION FEE-S. (duh, duh, DUHHHHH).


(Anyone have a seizure yet?)

It's a word that's gotten SO much more painful these last few years in fact (remember those lovely university fee rises here in the UK?). 

Just ONE year - ONE - will now cost £9k at the top uni's (which was previously about £3.5k to £6k per year). 

And you know what, that's the one aspect I'm dreading

I hate the idea of being a wrinkly 50 year old who STILL has the burden of paying off those insanely high debts (OK I may be exaggerating with the being 50 thing, it doesn't take THAT long - I - hope?).

Coincidentally a month or 2 ago I ran into Thomas's blog 'College Info Geek', and up popped his story on how he paid off over £9.4k of debt - in SIX MONTHS - BEFORE even leaving uni. (Want to swap lives?). 

To say I was impressed is putting it mildly.

And the thing is, with university just around the corner for me (Ok it's a slightly looong corner - I'll be applying in 2014 and whizzing off in 2015), I could really do with that information on how he managed to pay it all off using the internet in 6 MONTHS? (Without losing his sanity, in case you were wondering).

It's especially important for me seeing as my parents made it pretty clear that once I'm off to uni I'm pretty much on my own financially, as they simply can't afford it.

So I roped in Thomas to have a chat about how on EARTH he managed to pay off his student debt in 6 months, and how you and I can too! 

Pens and notebooks at the ready!


1.       You mentioned in a recent podcast that you actually had the idea of paying off your entire student debt listed on your Impossible list (the challenge from The Impossible blog, right?). Do you think that every student should create one, or is there the risk of it being counterproductive and demotivating if the goals are too hard to reach?

I think every person already has big things they want to do; the difference is that some people merely think about them every once in a while and don't do anything about them, and others write them down and actively pursue them. 

I think anyone serious about achieving their goals should create an Impossible List; creating a concrete list of goals that you can look to as a reminder can only motivate you. 

I can't see how it would do the opposites; however, I do think it's important to have sub-goals that can be achieved along the way in the short-term.


2.       What did you do to pay off that humongous debt in only 6 months! Can you break down the main stages of the process?

I was fortunate enough to stumble across an opportunity that turned out to be profitable. 

All the work I had done over the two preceding years to establish my site as an authority had helped me to gain an audience, and I then created a resource for that audience with a component that I could generate revenue from. 

As the guide gained popularity, income rose - and I dumped almost all of it (save for rent/food/etc) into my loan payments. 

I was very aggressive and denied myself a lot of fun money once I got serious about paying it all off.


3.       What exactly did you do to generate money from your blog? Did you sell ad space, use affiliate links, or create and sell a product?

You can see a detailed breakdown of what I did at my debt payoff article, but the short answer is that I use affiliate marketing

I follow the same code of ethics that Pat Flynn uses; I disclose my affiliate relationship right up front, and only promote products that I have experience with. 


4.       What were the biggest issues you faced when trying to gather the money? Was it relatively easy, or a huge uphill battle?

I'd say that the most difficult part of building a profitable blog was the initial phase of building up my content base and audience. 

Once I found my product, generating income wasn't really an uphill battle. That came before profit was ever a consideration. Luckily, making money was not my initial goal, so I never felt that I was struggling with it.


5.       What 5 tips would you give to other students who want to replicate this success and pay off their own student debts as quickly as humanly possible!

Number #1: Don't go trying to build a blog in order to replicate someone else's financial success. 

Blogging is not a good short-term income strategy; it takes a long time to make money (if you do at all), and if revenue is your main motive going in, then you will burn out quickly. You must have a passion for your subject.

Pat Flynn recently answered a reader question on his podcast about the best way to build a profitable passive income stream in the least amount of time. His answer was to build useful software, and I agree. 

So if you've got coding chops (or know someone who does), find a good problem and build a solution. The Buffer guys are an amazing example of this.

Tips #2-5: Keep persevering and learning every day. You will uncover your own path and build your own strategies while learning from others.


6.       On your blog, College Info Geek, you say that every student should have a blog. Why, what benefits are there that would make it worth their while?

All my reasons why students should have a blog are detailed in this article, but the main ones are that it allows you to help lots of people and establish yourself as an expert in your niche.


7.       What has your experience with blogging been like so far – have you had any major opportunities from it, aside from being able to pay off your debt?

Definitely. I got to work with some really cool companies like Adobe and Sony, and even got to travel to California twice for blogging work. 

I've also been able to meet lots of other amazing bloggers and build friendships with them.


8.       What are your 3 'holy grail' pieces of advice for students who want to create a successful blog like yours?

First, write about something you're actually passionate about. 

Second, persevere. You most likely will see limited success in the early days. 

Third, build relationships. There's a reason humans formed tribes to survive in our species' infancy; we can do little on our own. This applies to blogging as much as it applies to anything else.


9.       How did you start attracting the attention of thousands of visitors? Did you use any strategies?

Building relationships with other bloggers and guest posting was probably my most useful strategy.


10.   If some students already have a blog, and have been working at it for a looong time and are still not seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, what actions do you suggest they take?

If the current path you are following isn't yielding the results you want, you need to evaluate it. 

I can't give you the definitive answer, but there are some questions you should ask yourself:


  1. Is this currently taking time away from something else I could be doing that I know would be useful? 
  2. How much of a time investment is it? (I never quit blogging because I could simply blog less when I need to). 
  3. Is there some component of my blog I can improve - or is there a new thing I could try - to break out of my slump?


11.   What does your daily routine look like now that you’re a full time blogger?

I haven't really had time to establish a good daily routine yet because I just finished college and spent much of the summer traveling. 

I also have some large projects I'll be diving head-first into, finishing old work, and I may simply go all-out on those until they're done. After that, I'll worry about a daily schedule.


12.   Does your educational background apply to your current job? If not, where and how did you get those necessary skills?

I think my first on-campus job as a tech support worker has contributed to my current skills more than any of my classwork. 

Learning to be a solution finder, to use established systems to find solutions where most people would give up, has helped me a lot. 

My MIS major is certainly related to the technology I work with, but I think most of the skills I use are self-taught or were gained in true work experiences.


Oh hey, Thomas!

Here's where Thomas hangs out:

College Info Geek - His blog on helping us become awesome at College. 

And let's not forget his Twitter and Facebook too!

Ps. for a more in-depth look at how he paid off his debt, here's a blog post he wrote about the whole process.


Now I'd love to hear what you think (in the comments below):

What are you currently doing to make some money?

And would you ever consider using blogging as a long-term tool to pay off those stinking future debts, or just to make some extra cash?

Ps. Image courtesy of The Every Girl.



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Comments

  1. To be fair, student debt does get written off after 30 years and you only start paying it back when you earn £21,000...this might be conversational but because it has low interest and your house will not be reprocessed if you don't keep up payments, it begs the question is paying UK tuition fees of the most valuable thing to do with 9k?

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    Replies
    1. I see what you're saying Rebecca. There is leniency with the paying-back process, but the costs will add up a lot, and to be honest, I'd rather not have any debt looming over me when I first get out of 'school' and enter the real world (wow, that was dramatic haha. But you get the point).

      And the yearly 9k is only for tuition fees, so really it's just the tip of the iceberg. x

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  2. Students need lots of money to complete their education and our education system is very tough but also very expensive but you can get top essay writing service from us. For this purpose, some students get money from different banks and try to get their education. Your tips are very reasonable and I like it.

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