Competitive Advantage

Delivering Tips, Insights and Resources for Success

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Competitive Advantage

Delivering Tips, Insights and Resources for Success

Get monthly updates of the latest articles

Influencers Are Everywhere


If you spend time on social media, you’ve probably encountered influencers. You might subscribe to a makeup review channel on YouTube or find your next novel after listening to readers on “Book Tok.” 

But did you know you can be a real-life influencer by earning a college degree? Inspire your family, friends, and community by daring to achieve your dream of higher education. You’ll also gain skills that you can use to influence others online, at work, and in other parts of your life. Learn how Complete 2 Compete (C2C) can help you finish your degree and elevate your influence.

#InfluencerGoals: The Social Media Pros

Professional influencers have become trendy thanks to the popularity of platforms like TikTok, Twitch, and YouTube. Social media superstars typically influence others by recommending particular brands or products, such as clothing lines or snowboarding gear. Or they might promote businesses or locations, such as quirky tourist destinations.

Social media influencers often get paid by corporate sponsors, but they’re not marketers. You can think of them more like trusted acquaintances or friends who share their recommendations. 

Influencers need an audience, but their number of followers can vary widely. Celebrity influencers often have millions of followers, while more niche “nano-influencers” might have fewer than 1,000. Usually, more followers mean more corporate sponsors, which can lead to more money. 

If you want to become a professional influencer, you’re not alone. A recent survey found that 54% of people aged 13 to 38 want to become influencers. But you can also make a difference by using education to become a positive influence.

The Power of Everyday Influence 

Becoming an influencer isn’t limited to social media pros. Influencers are everywhere, even if they don’t always realize their impact. You can make a difference by earning your degree. Here are three ways Complete 2 Compete graduates have inspired others.

The Building Blocks of Long-Term Success

Education is one of the most powerful forms of intergenerational influence. C2C graduate LaShawnda Clay returned to college to set a positive example for her two children. She says, “I am now able to check the box next to ‘College Graduate’ when prompted for education level. It feels SO good! Best of all, I feel like a great role model for our kids. Their mom is a college graduate.”

Research shows that families with two generations of college graduates have a significantly higher household net worth than families with no history of college education. Earning a degree can impact your family for generations to come. 

Uplift Younger Generations 

You can make a broader impact in your community and workplace by encouraging the younger generation to pursue education. For example, C2C graduate Paul Stuart became a workplace influencer by completing his education degree. He has inspired his coworkers to follow in his footsteps. Stuart reflects, “As an adult student, there is a learning curve, and you still struggle with it… But now there are a lot of new hires in the same boat. I’ve gotten them started in online learning – I don’t push it, but I do tell those who left college early about the opportunities with C2C.” Stuart has also discovered a new passion for teaching community college, where he impacts even more learners.

Make Connections, Change Lives 

You may be surprised by how far your influence extends once you earn your degree. Kristi Dearing, a C2C coach at Mississippi State University, remembers working an event when she was approached by Deona Allen, one of her C2C students who had recently graduated. Deona brought her friend to Kristi’s booth and said, “This is Miss Kristi, who I have been telling you about.” Thanks to Deona’s encouragement, that student is now finishing her degree.

Leveling Up Your Influence: Benefits of Going Pro

Do you want to go one step further by becoming a professional influencer? This career is a valid educational goal that can lead to long-term success. Let’s look at four benefits of pursuing a career as a professional influencer. 

Transform Influence Into Income

In the United States, influencers earn an average base salary of $68,947. The highest-paid influencers can make over $80,000. Influencers can earn money by getting paid for sponsored posts, taking commissions for custom artwork or videos, or promoting their product lines. 

Even if you don’t earn enough money to quit your day job, influencing can be a fun way to make a little extra income.

Grow Your Online Network 

Many influencers use their platforms to build inclusive online communities. Whether you love dog training or traveling, you can positively impact others by sharing your knowledge and passions. Plus, you can inspire fans to learn more about your niche. 

You can also use your platform to connect with major brands and other influencers. These relationships could lead to future career opportunities. 

Score Free Products

Companies may give you free items or services to promote on your social media account. You may also get a sneak peek at new products before they hit the market. 

Savor Your Flexible Schedule 

As a self-employed influencer, you can choose when and where you work. Say goodbye to a traditional 9-5 office job and hello to freedom. 

Best Degrees for Influencers

You don’t necessarily need a degree to become a personal or professional influencer. However, going to college can give you a competitive edge by teaching you valuable skills like communication and problem-solving. And earning a degree is a great confidence booster because you’ll level up your skills and see your hard work pay off at graduation.

Here are four degrees that can boost your career: 

  1. Accounting: Learn business strategies that can maximize your profits and grow your career. Plus, you can understand how to file self-employment taxes to receive the most deductions. 
  2. Communications: Master the art of writing and public relations so that you can share your message effectively with your followers. You’ll learn how to craft compelling captions, plan videos, and more. 
  3. Marketing: This degree can teach you the psychology of advertising and methods you can use to positively persuade others. Plus, you can use your inside marketing knowledge to develop corporate partnerships. 
  4. Photography: Studying the art of photography will allow you to create striking visual posts and videos. 

You’ll gain valuable skills while completing one of these degrees — skills you can apply directly as an influencer or in other careers. 

Influencing: Are You Up for the Challenge?

Completing a degree isn’t easy, but it’s one of the most effective ways to make an impact. You can be a positive role model for others by persevering through academic challenges. For example, C2C graduate Kierre Rimmer’s family celebrated his success at his graduation. Rimmer says, “It felt great to hear my wife say she’s proud of me, and the smile on my kids’ faces was priceless.” 

Plus, your academic success can promote intergenerational change. Many C2C graduates land higher-paying jobs after completing their degrees. You can use your higher income to improve your family’s life and help your children pay for college. And your success may also inspire people in your community, like younger coworkers. 

Are you up for the challenge of becoming an influencer but wondering how you can finish your degree? The C2C program can make your return to college easy and stress-free. Eligible students can receive a $1,000 grant each semester, meet with a personal C2C coach, and more. 

Complete the registration survey to see if you qualify and elevate your influencing career.


C2C is a state program that helps Mississippi adults who previously attended college earn a degree and create a brighter future.