50%
A growing number of parents and high school students are searching for a new path to a meaningful career. Nearly 50% of high school seniors don’t plan to enroll in college this fall.

Know the math before committing time and money
A few stats you should know about College
A little over 30% of those who enroll in college will drop out before completing their degree. To make matters worse, a growing number of those who DO graduate are requiring five or even six years to do so.
20% of recent college graduates end up working in a field different than the one they studied. More than 50% of overall college graduates work in a field different than the one they studied.
33% of college graduates end up in a job that doesn’t even require a college degree.
A young person with average consumer debt, car debt, and school debt payments will need to make about $70,000 per year to have the same purchasing power as a debt-free person earning $40,000 per year.
The College-Degree path to a meaningful life is fraught with pitfalls
Big costs. Massive debt. Spiritual shipwreck. Wasted years. Paying for classes you don’t want or need.
Disclaimer: We at The Freedom Program are not "Anti-College." Instead, we are:
  - Anti-horrendous-math.
  - Anti-wasted-time.
  - Anti-crazy-debt.
 - PRO-get-exactly-the-training-you-need-in-the-most-sensible-manner.
Bypassing college isn’t necessarily a great option, either
Most young people who don’t go to college lack intention and spin their wheels. They wander from job to job, hoping something magic takes place and they end up with a satisfying career that provides an ample life.

Young people without college degrees tend to make less throughout their lives than those with degrees, to the tune of $1,000,000 or more.

Few 18-year-olds are prepared to live within their means.

Lacking a clear financial plan, they settle for small savings, get tangled in debt for cars and consumer goods, and waste their “Opportunity Years.”

Lacking focused effort, they struggle to grow emotionally, spiritually, and intellectually.

The non-college-degree path to adulthood is also fraught with pitfalls. Lack of focus. Lower lifetime wages. More difficulty finding friends on the same life-journey as you. And yes, still debt.
What if there is another road!
What if there’s another way to become an adult, find a meaningful career, and live a rich, satisfying life?

Imagine yourself as a 22-year-old.

Imagine that you have:
  • - $80,000-$100,000, which you personally earned and saved.
  • - No debt.
  • - Four years of work experience in a primary job.
  • - Additional experience working in a number of different “hobby” jobs, part-time jobs, or ministry opportunities.
  • - A network of business mentors rooting for you and opening doors of opportunity in front of you.
  • - A long reading list of the very best books under your belt.
  • - The conviction that you can figure out what you need to know, that you’ve “learned how to learn.”
  • - The confidence that comes from the capability you developed by real work in the real marketplace.
What if there is another road!
The Freedom Program is a

Sensible,
Four-year,
Non-degree,
Self-directed,
Parent-and-mentor-advised,
FreePro-Community-assisted-Get-paid-while-you-learn
Path to adulthood.



The program is designed to shine the spotlight on:

Financial Freedom
Intellectual Freedom
Vocational Freedom
Emotional Freedom
Spiritual Freedom

In other words, “Freedom in the FIVES.”
Learn More About The Journey
What if we build a community together?
What if there’s a whole community seeking to help one another accomplish this goal?
What if we could build one?
What if you could join us for encouragement?
And what if you could come alongside us to build a robust community of energetic young people and fired-up adults building resources to help each other and encouraging each other in the FreePro journey.
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A word from some of our graduates and current Free Pro'ers
The Testimonials are larger then the container to read all them you can scroll through each one.
-Hudson-
It was my senior year of high school and all my friends were getting acceptance letters to colleges around the country. I hadn’t really put much thought into what I wanted to do when I was done with high school but I was pretty sure that the lucrative career of “musician” or “artist” was calling my name…I just didn’t know a thing about either industry.

That was okay though, college would take care of that right??

I would go to college, learn all about music and art, then I would make a great living doing what I loved!

Thankfully before I could get my hands on a college application I talked to my parents about my plans and they recommended I take a gap year and try Free Pro. That seemed pretty cool, going to college in the future WITHOUT DEBT, so I was in!

Pretty simply the idea of free pro is that instead of going to college for a degree that's not worth the cash you paid to get it and the years you lost to earn it why not spend that time in the workforce earning money and getting experience, meeting with people who are actually in the field that you want to go into, and studying books around areas that you are interested in.

It's self-taught, self-motivated and requires self-discipline. It's an intentional gap year. And if it's all over and you still want to go to college or need to go to college to get the degree you need then you can do it, hopefully without debt!I liked my landscaping job and was excited to go right into the workforce with the option of college in a few years.

Those years passed and I learned a LOT! For starters I loved landscaping, specifically management, but also those years had given me the space to breathe and figure out what I wanted to do with my life…turns out it was still art and music.

The thing is, thanks to the Free Pro system I had also learned that you don’t need a degree to do most work, you can just DO IT! Crazy right!?!Knowing that I still wanted to do music, so I began the journey of learning how to make it and TAUGHT MYSELF for a fraction of the cost of a degree.

Thanks to Free Pro I am now an indie artist and producer with over 50 singles, 2 albums and an EP on all the major music sites. I achieved my dream and you can too.

I still work landscaping because I enjoy it and without the debt most of my peers are dealing with I have just as much buying power to provide for my family. Not only that, have a great network of friends, family and acquaintances who I get to serve and to pour into me emotionally, mentally and spiritually. There's also the matter of job flexibility. I'm not nailed down to one profession and if I suddenly decide I want to do something different then I know how to learn the skills needed for that job.

Oh yeah, and I took a year off work at 26 to be a full time musician and try out some other careers I became interested in over the course of my “college years” without having to worry about money, actually I made money without getting a single paycheck, again, thanks to the foundation the Free Pro plan gave me.
-Hunter-
I graduated the freedom program about 3 and a half years after graduating highschool. By that point I had enough money saved that I was able to buy a car with cash and later when buying a house I had my first offer was accepted because of my ability to make a significant down payment in cash.

The freedom program has allowed me the time to develop interests with real world value. I have been able to commit serious time to coaching youth sports. Not only have I become a better coach but I've also developed leadership and relationship skills. Ultimately I have gone from being a volunteer coach to being able to make money doing something I love. When I first began the freedom program coaching was something I did to participate in my community and invest in my family. It has grown into a significant pillar of my interests. It provides a way for me to encourage young people and help them develop the skills they will need later in life. It also continues to challenge me, reminding me to stay humble and continue to grow.

When I grow up I would like to be self-sufficient. Able to take care of not only myself but the people around me. I would like to have the freedom to pursue a variety of interests and the skills and discipline necessary to be great at those interests. The ability to explore interests without feeling the pressure to commit 4 years to getting in the door gives me the flexibility to try things that I might otherwise not ever pursue.

Networking is more natural when you pursue careers and interests that you are drawn to. When you are excited about something that excitement and interest shows. Making it easier to connect, ask questions and develop relationships. Be aware however that you will have to create these connections. The opportunities are all around you but you are going to have to see them and capitalize.
-Graham-
I am a seven-year freedom program student. I hit my target of 80,000 a little behind schedule. I have never been the best at tracking money, not very interested in continues counting and monitoring when it comes to finances. (I literally lost track of 10,000 in a 401k. Seriously, it’s not my strong suit)

Now, I make about 45k annually.

I have been working for Paragon Landscaping for 11 years and have grown into a management position. I enjoy working hard and seeing the fruits of my efforts terraform the earth.

As for my interests; I have always been moved by stories and inspired by art. So, naturally, when I graduated high school, I wanted to study writing and art….However, the price tag on art degrees was staggering to say the least. Not that I couldn’t go to a local college and learn about my interest, but I definitely questioned the value. Especially when I looked into potential jobs after college. Art and writing are both incredibly competitive fields with only a small percent actually being able to make a living off their work.

So, I decided to do something different. I decided to see what I could learn on my own. Thanks to the internet, I can find artist whose work inspires me, and many of them have courses. These are not free. But they are a fraction of what I would pay for tuition and it is focused purely on what I’m interest in.

Now for stories and mentors. Stories connect us to each other and can help us have empathy for others. A long time ago I was told by a person I respect that I should always learn at least one thing from any given experience. This has stuck with and all it really takes is focus and implementation. I have learned more about others, about myself and even more that I don’t know anything at all.

This may seem flowery, but I consider many people that I have never met to be my mentors. Everything and everyone I have interacted with has had an effect on me. But as David Foster Wallace said, “we get to choose what we think”.

I don’t think we can ever truly prepare for the future. All wealth rots, all plans change. But stories are perhaps the best way to be ready to meet the great unknown.

I am glad I have done the Freedom Program and still continue to exercise its teachings. I would recommend it to anyone seeking a different approach to learn. A more focused and cheaper alternative to collegiate education.

But it requires dedication and self-drive.

You are responsible for what you learn, regardless of if you do the freedom program or not.
-Beau-
I have hit my target and graduated in summer 2021, although I have opted to continue in several aspects of the program.

I am thankful to be apart of a business, soccer club, and church that have given me the opportunities to try my interests and to challenge them in a safe environment to see what are possible vocational options and what are passionate interests.

As I have worked those interests and learned more about my interest subjects. I have found for myself that they have changed several times over the course of my time with the Freedom Program.

With every interest that doesn’t seem to fit, I begin to see more of the interests that do fit. I have the desire to be a teacher and coach, working especially with young people in soccer, church, and work.

I have been sharpening these skills by several years of coaching and teaching opportunities, reading good books, and participating in the university of life and meetings with many professors (mentors) in this university who have encouraged me and challenged me.

In doing the Freedom Program and staying plugged into life, there has been many skills that I am learning that I have been told are key in a family.

For example, learning about clear communication, budgeting your time and money, and managing information well, I have heard to be key in a single’s life as well as in a marriage or family.

I am still working on my professional network, but the network that I have built already is by seeing other people in my vocation or in my interests who I have seen to possess knowledge and talent.

I have taken the  time to ask questions and build relationship with these people. Most of my mentors probably don’t even know that I see them as a mentor, because I observe how they live, or listen to them in person or podcasts or videos, or have read their thoughts and observations.

I have learned so much from those whom I call mentor, probably the most priceless thing that I have learned from them is too be purposeful with what I have, time, money, my character, love, joy, abilities. It all counts for something, so I must make it count.

The biggest way that I have been building and strengthening these freedoms is by 1) responding to the valleys and hills in my lifetime in a way that I can learn and grow from my and other’s past experiences, 2) Reading a great book by a great author, 3) Have a strong cloud of witnesses around me who encourage, challenge, and mentor me in these freedoms.

I am glad to have done the Freedom Program, I am learning a lot about life and all sorts of subjects that fit under the umbrella of life, and I feel as though I am coming more on top of other young adults my age.

I would recommend the Program to any student, in high school, who have graduated, or in college who have no clear plan for the future, and want to continue moving their life forward in all aspects of the FIVE Freedoms.

One of the weaknesses of the program is community. We have sought to overcome that by being intentional with doing group events, like bonfires, meals, backyard sports, and Bible studies.

I still benefit from the good habits that I have and are still building from Freedom Program, I still consider myself still in the Program, I don’t think I will ever technically not be doing or not be in the Freedom Program.
-Honor-
I am in my 5th year of the Freedom Program. As a high school student, I was able to work ahead and ended up being able to “graduate” after my sophomore year. I stayed in high school for the normal time, but since I had my transcript and classes completed, I was able to use my junior year to go through a trade school for massage therapy. I started the Freedom Program when I officially graduated from high school as an 18-year-old. Two years into the program I got married, and my husband and I reset our financial goal as a couple. My husband has his undergrad for pre-chiropractic, and we have been working towards him going to grad school for his chiropractic degree. We hit our financial target and graduated from the Freedom Program in August of 2022, which would have been my 4th year of the program. We have continued to follow the Freedom Program as we prepare to move in March of 2024 for my husband to go to school.

I had not hit my financial target when I got married, but my husband and I worked with our primary mentor to reset our target as a couple. We set our new target at $160k, double my original target, and we hit this target by my 4th year of the program.

My primary job is as an office manager for a landscape company. I started working in the office as a 14-year-old, because that was the job that was available at the time. I have found that I really enjoy many aspects of bookkeeping and have been able to grow in my understanding of accounting and business management through this job. I have been able to have great conversations with both business owners, learning about profit vs. cash flow, and EBITDA, and accounting as it applies to business.

I never would have thought that this would interest me, but as I did the work in this field interest has popped up.I have continued to use my massage therapy license as a part time business, and most continuing education is expensive, so I have been more cautious about where I want to spend money for what I will be able to learn in return. However, there are a lot of free resources that I have enjoyed using to learn more about holistic health, like books, podcasts, other practitioners, etc. I think this will be a life-long interest for me. I never thought I would be interested in accounting or business, but as I got to work in bookkeeping at my primary job, I found all sorts of interest growing around the subject of business. I still don’t know if I would enjoy the process of owning and running a business, but experience has opened a world of interest that I never would have explored before.

I would love to be a mom, and I really believe that everyday offers opportunities to practice patience, consideration, time management, people skills, humility, etc. My husband would love to own a business one day, and I believe that the understanding and practice I am able to have in the present will be a benefit for both of us if that were to happen someday.

Everyday I am faced with the opportunity to practice humility, patience, grace, and forgiveness as well as a whole host of practical skills, like time management, people management, setting deadlines and accomplishing tasks. While most of this is carried out in a business setting as opposed to a home setting, I believe these skills translate into my ability to manage a household and be a caring wife and mother.

My annual income is around $40,000, it can ebb and flow a little depending on how much I take on other work outside of my primary job.

It seems really fancy to say that I have a “professional network” but I do believe that I have a great network for things related to my work. For my primary job, I have relationships with the business owners, our accountants, the people who manage our 401k, our insurance people. This network was built naturally from my role at my job, but has been a great place for me to learn and built a frame of reference for many different situations as it relates to running a business. For my massage therapy job, I have worked on my own, as well as spending a couple of years working part time for a chiropractor to build my skills and frame of reference. Going to education conventions has also been a great way to build relationships with other therapists and increased my professional network in that area.

Most of my mentors have been people that were already in my life, or who I admired for how they lived out their faith. I find that a lot of people find the term “mentor” to be a bit intimidating, so I usually just ask someone if I can meet them for coffee, or a walk and ask them some questions. Some of these people I meet regularly, and some are just once or twice. I have learned a lot from these people, more recently: How do you transition well in friendships when moving? What does it look like to live out your faith daily? How do you navigate tricky relationships in a way that is loving? How do you build community?With most of my mentors I ask questions that relate more to emotional and spiritual freedom, for the other areas I reference more “mentors” in the form of books or podcasts, etc. These have been helpful for me in learning about business and money management, etc.

For anything to grow, you need to invest time into it. Spiritual and emotional freedom are harder to measure than financial or vocational freedom. Mentors have played a huge role for me in my spiritual, and emotional growth, and I see this as a life-long pursuit. I think one of the biggest practical ways for me to pursue growth in any of these areas is to not be afraid to ask questions and learn to be ok with making mistakes. Give something a try and be engaged and intentional in how you think about and process the information you get from an attempt. Some things may turn into interests and pursuits, others you may be terrible at, but they bring you great joy. Somethings teach you how to deal graciously with failure and others uncover areas of genius in your own life.

I am glad that I did the program. I think without some sort of structure I would have drifted about aimlessly. It has been so good for me to intentionally pursue each of the F.I.V.E.S. and to be able to capture the lessons that happen along the way.

I would recommend this program to others, especially those who are self-motivated, and willing to learn from life experience, and those who don’t have a certain next step for their lives. Even if it is just for one year, the intentionality and awareness that the Freedom Program promotes is better than wasting time by aimlessly wandering between things.

There can be a loneliness that happens, because a lot of people don’t understand what you are doing, and it is different than a lot of the people around you. I’ve had to realize that no matter where you are, deep friendship requires time and energy.  I am learning to be an initiator, and to pursue friendships instead of waiting for them to happen. Because finances are so much easier to measure than the other freedoms, it can be difficult to keep all five areas of freedom in focus. It is easy to become focused on financial progress and neglect others. It has helped me to set reasonable goals in the other areas, so that there is a way to “measure” my progress. For example: I want to meet up with a friend for coffee and ask them ________. I really am noticing that I need to practice patience, how can I do that this week? I keep talking about wanting to learn about this technique, how can I take a step toward that? For me, awareness and accountability have been the best ways to overcome my own tendency to drift through life.

Even though I have graduated, I do still consider myself to be doing the program, as in, I still check in with a primary mentor, capture lessons, pursue opportunity, and save aggressively, since my husband and I plan for him to go to grad school soon. But the intentionality to learn from life experience is something I want to carry with me for the rest of my life. There are lessons everywhere, and I don’t want to walk by them without gathering them in.

Because the FreePro is not just about finances, I had the opportunity to work in Colorado for three summers at a camp, doing ministry with youth and families. This was not a financially beneficial time, but I grew and learned a lot in Spiritual, Emotional, and Intellectual freedom. Those were really special, and really formative summers for me, and I am thankful to have gotten to spend time there, and have it be a part of my FreePro experience.
-Braden-
My name is Braden Beyer and my FreePro journey is a little different than the usual one.  In May of 2016, I graduated from high school and instead of starting the FreePro journey then I went straight into college, attending Purdue University in the fall.  My experience in college, however, was NOT the normal 4 years of partying and messing around, pilling up a boat load of debt.  Through money I had previously saved up, grant/scholarship money I was awarded, and money I earned from working during my time at Purdue I was able to graduate completely debt free after just 3 years!  During my years in college, I learned a great deal about living on my own, managing my finances, asking for help from mentors and peers, thinking for myself, and living free spiritually.  Without even realizing it, those three years at Purdue were the start of my FreePro journey.  It was a great start!  When I graduated in May of 2019 though, was when the rubber hit the road.My goal was to become a chiropractor.  However, chiropractic school is very expensive!  Instead of going straight into my graduate degree, I began working like crazy in an effort to save enough money to pay for chiropractic school.  The last 4½ years since I graduated have been full of learning, earning, and growing!  I’ve worked at two chiropractic offices, married my wife, purchased our first home, payed off our first home, become the office manager, learned so much about business and the body from the doctors I’ve worked for, and so much more.  And to top it off, my wife and I are on track to have enough saved to be able to attend Palmer College of Chiropractic next spring! Even though it’s been a really challenging few years, I’m really grateful to have had the chance to work, learn, and save these last few years as I believe I’m a better person for it.  The delayed gratification of working hard for a crazy large goal has shaped my character a lot.  In addition, taking time away from school to work and learn from other professionals has been a huge benefit in my journey as it’s equipped me in so many ways to be a better health care professional when I graduate.  

All in all, I’m really thankful for this program and the chance to be a part of it! I encourage any young professional to take a stab at it, whether you know what you want to do or not.  It will challenge you in crazy ways while also building real-life experience and benefits you’ll take with you for your entire life.   You’ll be amazed!  So, buckle up and get ready for a ride of a lifetime!

P.S. – A quick note on one thing that’s been hard.  I think one of the hardest things for myself (and I think I can speak for my wife here as well), is not having much extra cash to spend on “fun” things.  Especially early on, we were saving most of our paychecks – at least as much as we could after paying for our basic necessities.  But it didn’t leave much extra room for going out to eat, or buying fun things for each other or others.  What we found to be helpful in this time was finding “free” or “low-cost” fun things to do together!  We would go to parks together, go on walks, or even go and buy ingredients to make pizza at home instead of going out to eat.  It was the little things that made it worth it!  Because when you’re saving like crazy, there’s a lot less margin than you think.  Just remember, even when you’re saving like crazy nothing is quite as rewarding as giving away some of what you’re earned. Hospitality and giving financially are so worth it!
-Beri-
I am a 3-year Freedom Program student. I’ve been working at Paragon Landscape for 5 years. My goal is to hit 90,000 by 2025 and I am on track to reaching that goal. I developed an interest in Interior Design after high school.

My job at Paragon has been giving opportunities to practice my interest by letting me redo their offices and do other projects that help me practice Interior Design. I’ve had other opportunities from friends recommending me to their friends, meeting with Designers that are in the house building industry and helping my family with their spaces. The Freedom Program has been such a place of good encouragement, good advice, helping me to push to my goal or push me to pursue my interest, and a good place to equip myself for my next stage in life and the stages to come.

The FreePro has also pushed me to find mentors or make a list of people I know that would be a great mentor for me. I have been thankful for all the mentors that my Heavenly Father has given me. I have learned so many life lessons: lessons about not taking everything for granted, giving thanks for all that the Lord has blessed me with, and just learning about all the life lessons they have learned or mistakes they have made and learned from.

I would highly recommend the Freedom Program to people who don’t know what they want to do after High School, people who are wanting to do a gap year, or people out of High School. I’ve learned that not knowing what you want to do is ok. Taking the time to work, save up, and meet mentors who will encourage you and come along side you in the next stage in life is a great way to build up to what you want to do next. During that time of working, you can develop new habits, try different things that you are interest in, it gives you opportunities to grow in your spiritual and financial freedom, to prepare yourself for college, giving yourself a good financial foundation, giving you freedom to do and try things, and it’s a great way to prepare yourself for the next stage in life.  The Freedom Program is a safe place to do all of this. You will see how much this Program will help you grow and be successful in life.
-Eden-
I’m a second-year freedom program student. I am currently on track to hit 80,000 by graduation.

I have been working for Paragon Landscape for 5 years. Although just 2 years ago I started helping with the design process at Paragon. Working in design I immediately felt a spark in the match of my abilities with the tasks required. After working in design for two years and working in the field part time as well, my knowledge of the lead and design process, as well as my comfort with the installation, has grown tremendously. I am currently the design assistant, and I am working towards becoming an independent designer and sales associate within Paragon.

I also have a long-time interest in coffee. And have been intentionally studying it the past year as a potential path if the doors open. I have studied it independently using books and YouTube, and journaling about what I learn, as well as building connections everywhere I can with other coffee enthusiasts.

No matter where I end up in 10 years, this program has been a wonderful experience. It has allowed me to explore my skills and to experiment with whether my interests could create valid careers, or if they would be better kept as hobbies. All the while saving and learning to play good defense with my finances, having access to great business and personal growth books, meeting with some wonderful mentors, and steady growth in every one of the F.I.V.E.S areas.

I’ve found that people are eager to help passionate and excited young people. Wear your interests on your sleeve, and you’ll be surprised how many people know someone who is interested in those same things and will step forward to connect you. It can be intimidating to ask someone you respect for advice or mentorship, but asking is all you have to do, and most people will be very excited to teach you whatever they know.

Once you make progress in one of these areas, your energy level and vision will rise and effect all other areas as well.

I would recommend this program to any self-motivated, diligent person whether in school or working. And it is in particular a great option for high school graduates who aren’t sure where their skills match in a career and want a safe place to figure that out while still making forward progress in their Finances, Knowledge, Relationships, Career, and Faith.
-Jacob-
As someone who is almost in their 30s, it’s never too late to think about your financial situation. You never know what can blindside you when you're not prepared. I have been working for Paragon Landscape for about 8-9 years. I started as a crew member and worked my way up over the years into landscape lighting, drainage, excavating, graphics coordinator, and now irrigation. I fell in love with designing graphics and creating breathtaking spaces with landscape lighting.

After a couple of years of working at Paragon during the winter training, we would touch on planning great defense with your finances. For someone where high school never really taught you how to manage your finances and for someone becoming a contributor to society and having bills rent and other things to pay for you don't have that great defense you can be swallowed whole and not sure where to go.

Being introduced to The Freedom Program as a way to help kids get a hold on their finances early and build good practices. I strongly feel it's not just for the younger generation but for everyone. As an adult, I use The Freedom Program to help track my finances so I can build a strong emergency fund, so I can pay off any debt I have as I was only able to pay for college half out of pocket without the knowledge of the freedom program principles I wouldn't of been able to do and would probably be in more debt.

The next 10 years may seem like a long way away but in reality, it feels like it goes by in a blink of an eye. As I am still unsure where my path will officially lead I look to work on helping Paragon continue building their irrigation division while continuing to work on my graphic design business. Keeping The Freedom Program principles and teachings in front of me will help keep me from side-tracking from the goals I have set to achieve.

I would recommend The Freedom Program to anyone no matter their stage in life. Whether you become a full member or a partial member most adults later in life have more financial responsibilities compared to someone just graduating high school. Being able to track your finances, setting goals, and not going into debt should be on everyone's list, that's why I have appreciated the workbook The Freedom Program put together to help keep track of those finances and the once-a-month or so meetings with a freedom program instructor to help me re-assess my targets.