Written By: Candice Roberts
Photo Credit: Jonaed Iqbal
The business behind Nodegree.com is in the name itself, the company helps people without college degrees find meaningful jobs that pay well.
“I started Nodegree.com because there are a lot of opportunities out there for people without college degrees but they just don’t know about them. I realized that going to college is a privilege that not everyone can afford. While I did benefit from college, not everyone has the means to pay for school and not everyone’s interests lie in being in a classroom.”
Just like many others, who have to work while pursuing their college degree, Jonaed was no different. A Queens College alumni, with a degree in Applied Mathematics and Economics, Jonaed worked as an actuary for a few years while developing Nodegree.com in grad school. He would later go on to obtain his Master’s Degree in Actuarial Science from Columbia University.
According to the mission statement, at NoDegree.com the aim is to “remove the stigma attached to people who choose not to pursue a college degree…and reduce the growing economic disparity between non-college grads and college grads…with a more comprehensive approach to obtaining skills that are increasingly in demand.”
Can you tell us a little bit about the services offered to clients?
“A lot of the services are related to career development, such as resume writing/review and LinkedIn strategy. I walk the client step by step through how to build and revise their resume. This way they won’t consistently need a resume writer since they’ll have the knowledge to do it themselves. I also recruit for companies and companies can post job ads on the website. Since I’ve spent (and still do spend) a lot of time networking on LinkedIn, many people find me and our services there. For those who can’t afford to pay for services, they can still gain knowledge from articles on the website or listening to The NoDegree Podcast.”
How has the pandemic impacted your business?
“The pandemic has had an impact on the amount of jobs out there and it is even more important to have a good resume that sets you apart. With more people being unemployed, more people are also applying for jobs. The pandemic has also made it easier for me to meet with people because everything has gone virtual including my resume services. Whereas, pre-pandemic clients would always want to meet in person, that is no longer the case and I have a lot more flexibility. In addition, we launched a different entity of the business where we customize virtual events and conferences for companies which skyrocketed our revenue.”
What advice would you give aspiring entrepreneurs?
“There are four types of skills. Skills you’re good at that you like doing, skills you’re good at that you don’t like doing, skills you’re bad at that you like doing, and skills you’re bad at that you don’t like doing. You want to focus your time on the skills that you’re good at that you actually like doing. This is to avoid having a job that you’re good at but essentially don’t like which can lead to burn out. Things you’re bad at, you work to improve on or outsource once you have the means to.”
Being a bootstrap company, would you ever consider outside funding?
“I care a lot about the social mission behind Nodegree.com, which is one of the biggest reasons I don’t have interest in pursuing venture capital funding. While funder’s main interests lie in charging the customer as much as possible, I prefer to help people first. I have seen how hard it is for people without degrees and without support get jobs. My focus is not to take every last penny from the users of my site but to help others as much as I can.”
Connect with Jonaed
LinkedIn: Jonaed Iqbal