There are a lot of people succeeding in businesses they did not receive formal training for. This could be a result of passion, circumstances or informal training. Perhaps you’ve always had the ability to sell or you’re good with words. Maybe you are passionate about something you couldn’t justify as a study choice or didn’t know was an option. Whichever the case the following list of businesses is meant to serve as inspiration for those who think formal training is a barrier or just have a burning passion for something but are not sure how to make the most of it.

Before we start

Now the definition of formal training can be tricky. To remove any doubt what I refer to as formal training is training delivered through an educational institution that is paid for and certificate of completion or competence is issued. So while on the job training is formal education by many definitions for this article it is not. The idea for this article is simply that you can start and succeed in certain businesses without spending a day in class for them.


As a person with experience in this, I thought I should put this first. Food is such a wide industry and people have really found success in farming, ingredients supply, serving cooked meals and even food processing with little to no formal training. The training I would advise is essential is food safety training. Other than that you really can break out and do impressive things with no formal training.


This is somewhat a bit more complicated than say food but we have seen people succeed in fashion without formal training in it. What it takes is a deep understanding, undulating passion and a good marketing head. It is after all about appealing to people. There are opportunities in both design and retail for those who have a gift when it comes to fashion. It’s not just clothing as entire careers have been created from beads, jewellery, hand bags, hats, scarves and so many more accessories.

Decor and event planning

This is one of the quintessential examples of businesses where people succeed with little to no formal training. The key is convincing your customers that you can deliver their vision. In fact, decor can be very cruel to those with formal training if they are not on the pulse of customer tastes. The same can be said of event planning. This one needs the ability to coordinate and see both the big picture and the small picture at the same time.

Retail and Distribution

While I already mentioned retail in fashion it deserves a shout on its own. Many successes have been created simply from selling and distributing other peoples products. That’s right! Beyond being able to talk to the customer about the product in the terms that matter to them you don’t need anything else.

Luxury items

As an extension of retail and distribution luxury items have the same appeal and you can easily succeed in businesses that involve these with little to no formal training. Influencers serve as a great example of this, both in digital and online spaces.


There are certain things you will have to learn to get Social Media Marketing right. If you’d started learning it 10 years ago you wouldn’t have been able to find a formal school for it. While there is a lot to learn here you will find books and peer discussion platforms will teach you the most effective concepts while formal education does round out the mechanical elements. Still, a lot of money has been made by people without formal education in this space.


A lot depends on what you write but if you have a way with words you could find yourself in the money with this one. You could write news stories, deep-dive articles or short copy. There is so much you can do and there is money to be made without ever sitting in class for it. Yes, you learnt to write in school but that doesn’t count.

Graphic design

Graphic design can get very heavy but at its core, it is a simple exercise of transferring vision to pictures and graphics. When I say simple I do not mean easy, far from it. A lot of the design is done on the job and this is one where the practice is more important than just about anything else.

I’m sure you can come up with more. These represent the best opportunities as things stand in Zimbabwe at present. Give one of these a try.