With remote jobs and education skyrocketing after the pandemic, working from home sounds like an opportunity to do something you enjoy and manage your own time, without compromising your income. If you have found yourself watching video after video on how to get started in your career to maximize profits and have better flexibility, you probably have wondered if it’s all too good to be true, and with numerous individuals promoting different career paths, it’s better to analyze with caution everything they have to say. We are here to make sure you don’t have to wonder if a remote job is something you can aspire to, or if it’s just another scam to watch out for, helping you discern valuable advice from clickbait.

So, what are these hustle influencers?

Hustle influencers are people in social media that have a substantial following on social media platforms to which they promote alternative lifestyles, different from the already known 9 to 5. Some influencers are self-proclaimed lifestyle coaches, becoming almost guru-like to their followers. Depending on what hustle influencer we are talking about, some claim you don’t need a degree or special skills to get started in the career of your dreams, just a laptop and maybe a phone. Hustle influencers tend to promote starting your own business and base their advice on their own life stories and experiences. These influencers might give you tips on entrepreneurship, personal development, academic objectives, productivity hacks, etc. While some people resonate with this type of messages and the lifestyle that hustle influencers represent, that being working from home, starting your own business or completely shifting to an online job, others have raised concern over the possibility of some individuals taking advantage of their audiences by self-promotion, shady businesses, and setting unrealistic expectations.

Like in most industries, it is important to differentiate the truth from the fantasy in order to make good decisions, whether that is going back to college and getting a degree at 40 or enrolling in online programs that promise career advancement. Now, hustle influencers can be found in an array of industries. Where there is a job opportunity, you are likely to find a hustle influencer telling you how to get it. However, we are especially concerned with hustle influencers that promote remote jobs and business ideas through the first step of online education, whether that means an online course, a masterclass, a subscription, coaching sessions, or any online education offer. Our reason is quite simple, people who want to expand their education and get better opportunities are preys to people who know how to exploit that yearning for success.

Read about our eight tips to help you stay safe while you search for remote job opportunities.

#1: Differente a Niche from An Ad

Hustle influencers are supposed to shed light into alternative career paths or lifestyles, showcasing the possibilities of thinking beyond the 9 to 5 paradigm. Many of these influencers specialize in different niches, meaning they focus their content on particular subjects or career paths. For instance, one influencer might focus solely on content creation, while other targets online sales. Having a niche is not necessarily bad, quite the opposite in fact. It shows that the influencer knows about a particular subject and is probably equipped with the capability of giving good advice on the online careers, side hustles or remote jobs they highlight through their platform. However, beware of influencers that sell their product or services claiming that it is the only way to get the results they preach about. If an influencer is constantly referring to the same service or product, always think before you purchase and make sure you make an informed decision.

Many influencers are successful individuals that offer masterclasses, coaching or courses where they share their life’s path with you and show you how they got to where they are now, and though this is a fantastic way of learning about different lifestyles and stories, a great way of making sure you are purchasing something of value is to take a look at the influencer’s background and credentials before spending any money. A niche is a certain area of subject, NOT a step by step guide you must adhere to.

#2: A Smart Business is A Legal Business

Some content influencers see an opportunity of profit in numerous activities, and they are likely to share that same thought with you. After all, their content is based on making money and finding success. Having this in mind, always be careful of the type of business that the influencer is praising, what it sells, what its services are, and how it operates. Though our current times provide an array of industries and different paths, it is always important to confirm that every step you take towards your objective is within the legal possibilities. Always beware of business proposals that promise massive amounts of profits in a short amount of time, not because they are all dubious, but because ill-intentioned influencers might take advantage of hopeful audiences by promising the world and delivering everything but. Also make sure any activity you decide to take part in is allowed in your area, and don’t risk being caught in the middle of something you later realize was maybe not the best idea. Now, keeping in mind we are focusing on online opportunities, it’s easy for an influencer to present its product like something you can trust, but remember that anyone can create a webpage and a social media account. Just because something looks nice and well thought, it doesn’t mean you can trust it with your eyes closed. Always make sure anything you get into is in accordance with your local laws, businesses sell legal and real products, and services are allowed.

#3: Watch Out for Unsubstantiated Claims

Be cautious of any influencer that preaches any health, wealth or success claims without any scientific or verifiable evidence. Make sure you make an effort to differentiate a true business or career influencer that gives valuable advice from a scammer that will say anything that attracts more clicks and views. Always verify that whatever the influencer is saying, selling or promoting is licensed and compliant with local regulations. Checking for proof that verifies what your influencer is saying is a great way of ensuring you are really following a successful professional and not just a storyteller. Look for testimonials from others that have purchased what the influencer is selling, see what they think, how it went for them, and make a knowledgeable decision with the right previous research. The good thing about focusing on online jobs and opportunities is that there are multiple online communities where you can find information on the product or service you are interested in. Remember to always find out more about anything that seems too good to be true!

#4: Beware of Hidden Costs

If you find you trust your influencer and are interested in a specific product, always make sure you are aware of possible hidden costs like training fees, subscriptions, inventory requirements and more. If something feels too risky, trust your gut and walk away. There are plenty of legitimate career influencers out there, with careful investigation and understanding you will get to one. Don’t forget to have an exit strategy when investing money, so that whatever chances you take, you always have a Plan B to turn to. Start small, whether that means a small investment, small steps, or small commitment, so that you can minimize risks until you are confident of the advice you are receiving. Make sure that the influencer you are listening to is absolutely transparent in anything related to payments. With online purchases, it is easy to make what you think is a one-time payment and have it result in a subscription, or, if you decide on a subscription, make sure there you have the possibility to unsubscribe and walk away anytime and there is no minimum period. You don’t want any unpleasant surprises!

#5: There Are Plenty of Fish in The Sea

Say you have considered all our previous tips and still find that hustle influencers are something you admire and look up to, and you are seriously considering taking steps towards a remote job or career. If that is the case, make sure you don’t rely solely on one source of information! Whatever advice hooks you, make sure to check for reviews on similar subjects from other influencers and communities. For example, if you enjoy an influencer that speaks highly of the possibilities of being a virtual assistant, do some research on what that job means, how it works, success stories and testimonials, and more. Don’t take what any influencer says to heart, and make sure you always research, educate yourself, verify information and look for transparency. Remember, a perk of online education and online businesses is that you can most likely find information on different platforms and communities to confirm that the information you are receiving is, in fact, true and trustworthy. Consistent ideas or similar messages throughout different influencers and communities is an excellent way to verify facts, especially if it’s about something you are just learning about.

#6: A Big Following Does Not Make Them Trustworthy

We cannot stress this enough; a big following does not mean someone deserves your trust! Influencers with massive followers have come under fire for scamming their loyal followers out of their money. Take Austin McBroom, for example. A former college basketball player with following 6 million followers on Instagram, 18.5 million subscribers on YouTube, and credentials from different American universities. His content is rather varied, but he has praised the hustle culture in multiple occasions. A popular hustle influencer whose power and success attract millions of people around the world, McBroom has faced several accusations for scamming investors in his business ventures, misleading his followers and deceiving participants in some of his organized events. One of his criticized ventures involves a program which he claimed would help his audience achieve their dreams and master social media, something which he has done, which means people are likely to believe his advice. However, his course apparently had some hidden costs that subscribers were not aware of.

Another influencer that has faced scrutiny for illegally scamming their followers for almost $2 million dollars is Kayla Massa. The Instagram influencer was arrested as part of an investigation on a debit card scam. With hundreds of thousands of followers, Massa would post stories that showcased eye-catching piles of money, with a caption along the lines of “Message me if you want to make money.” With such a big following, it’s easy to see why people would trust Kayla Massa and message her in order to earn some cash. When they did, Massa would allegedly ask for their debit card information so that she could “help them better manage their money,” and then withdraw all their money. Both cases go to show that a big following does not, by any means, equal a professional individual. Their massive following means that there will be people talking about them online, so check what people are saying and get as much insight as you can. Remember, some influencers don’t really care about their followers, and you can’t be too cautious when delving into their proposals.

#7: Influencers Are Good Marketers.

Influencers have gained massive followings through strategies and tactics. They are no strangers to capturing an audience’s attention through carefully produced content. In other words, influencers are masters of knowing what to say to get you interested. Beware of phrases like “You will make $10k/month after 90 days if you start today,” or “Earn a 6-figure yearly salary with this online course.” Some will promise you will “earn thousands while you work from home,” which clearly sounds interesting but should be approached with caution. While such phrases can be a result of bad marketing, anything that promises you incredible results as long as you take a course, purchase a product, or join a subscription immediately can be the first red flag you see. There is a difference between convincing advertising and pressuring people into giving up their money. Again, we don’t want you to get discouraged. Working from home IS possible, earning a good income with flexible hours IS possible. You just need to be smart and careful about it.

#8: Stick to The Honest Ones

We repeat: Not all hustle influencers are scammers. In fact, many are proactive professionals who saw opportunities in a modern world. They are passionate about the remote job phenomenon and see the possibilities in it. Many online job advocates are mothers that saw the difficulty of sustaining a single income household but couldn’t afford to leave their children at home. These influencers are passionate about sharing their success with other mothers that might be in their same situation. An excellent example of an influencer motivated by a desire to empower mothers is Whitney Bonds. Not only does she shed light onto numerous different remote job areas, from virtual assistants to real estate preservation contractors and content creators, but she also provides her audience with access to a community of people in similar conditions. Yes, she promotes certain courses that promise to help individuals take their first steps towards a remote job or different career, but she promotes different courses depending on what career you are most interested in. She also is not the owner of all the courses she talks about, and actually shares multiple testimonies and experiences,

Similarly, Lauren Golden is a businesswoman and founder of Free Mama TV, where she aims to help moms start a successful virtual business. Like Whitney, Lauren identified a problem that many mothers face: being able to raise their kids while in the 9 to 5 model. Her purpose with her content is to help moms break free from the 9 to 5 grind and work from home. Lauren promotes her Free Mama Membership, but she also provides her audience with several testimonials and references from people that have actually taken the course. She also makes it clear that you can cancel your subscription any time. These are all green flags you can look for when choosing which influencer’s course you wish to take. Remember, not every influencer that promotes their own course is trying to scam you, and you can verify this with your own research! Another green flag is that Lauren does not limit her advice to her subscription only and you can find multiple well researched videos on her YouTube account.

Final Thoughts.

Whether you are a mom who needs a job while spending time with your children, or a digital nomad that wants to travel the world, remote jobs are extremely attractive. Remote jobs might allow you to have flexible hours, work part time, work from home or anywhere in the world, but they have to be done correctly. If you are interested in how to find a job where you can work from home, hustle and career influencers are a great way to learn more about different opportunities and lifestyles to inspire you to work on your personal objectives. Many of them are legitimate business owners that aim to inspire and empower others so that they too can take reigns of their time and efforts. Many are passionate about what they do, following the mindset of “if they could do it, so can you.” Don’t turn away from these influencers just because you are scared of falling victim to a fake professional or a scammer. Instead, make sure you are careful in every step you take, double check credentials, look for reviews and different opinions, and always trust your gut. Remember, there are legitimate opportunities and valuable advice out there, but there are also wolves in sheep’s clothing, and you should always approach opportunities with a smart and critical mindset so that you can work on your goals while protecting yourself from potential scams.

As of Sep 1, 2023, student loan payments that were deferred are now due this month. Much has been written about the economic impact of student loan repayments. According to Nik Bhatia, a professor of finance at the University of Southern California, “Proponents have come out of the woodwork over the years for student loan forgiveness. Moral hazard is already at nuclear levels, and the decision by our policymakers is for yet more easy credit, thus moral hazard. Genius.”

Mr. Bhatia further explains “Eliminating the need for students to repay student loans will distort credit incentives even further for future borrowers. If you set this precedent, people will knowingly take on debt that they cannot repay with the expectation that they won’t have to”. His claim is substantiated. According to CreditKarma.com, 45% of borrowers expect to go delinquent once forbearance ends.

While dire predictions feed the YouTube algorithm, we at Degree Solutions have found several cost effective deferment programs that will possibly have you come out ahead. We will start our comprehensive review by stating you have three outcomes

How To Get Your Loans Forgiven

Hardship Forgiveness [Bankruptcy Discharge]
According to studentaid.gov, the federal student loan information clearinghouse, they state: In some cases, you can have your federal student loan discharged after declaring bankruptcy. However, discharge in bankruptcy is not an automatic process.” In reality, we wanted to find examples of students that have used this process to determine if it is valid or not.

Hint: It is very difficult to obtain a discharge of your federal student loan after declaring bankruptcy. Nevertheless, there have been a few success stories.

Melissa Loe

Owed over $349,800 in federal student loans while filing for bankruptcy. Through Upsolve, a free, open source app that helps students navigate the bankruptcy process , she was able to successfully settle over $250,000 with the Department of Education. While her full loan was not forgiven, a large amount was reduced. Her hardship was due to having Type 1 Diabetes (medical hardship) and her medical costs, coupled with her medical condition that impeded upon her ability to work, factored into her ability to reduce a substantial portion of her loan during her bankruptcy proceedings.

Why is it so difficult
The burden of proof of undue hardship favors the lender as the borrower has to demonstrate undue hardship. Unfortunately, bankruptcy code does a poor job of defining undue hardship. In addition, these rules have been reformed and renegotiated in the 80s, 90s, 00s and 10s.

Adding insult to injury, the original intent of non-discharge rules in bankruptcy was to prevent students from incurring massive amounts of debt (think medical school students and law students), then filing for bankruptcy upon graduation in an effort to eliminate any financial burdens. It is important to take into account the timeframe of when these rules were written and the climate of the country at the time. These rules occurred during the 70s era, where government trust was at an all time nadir (Watergate, Nixon, Fall Of Saigon, Iranian Hostage Crisis) and there was a growing professional class that prized individual liberties over civic duty. One can argue that this is taxpayer protection as a professional class should not take advantage of government generosity.

After student loans were expanded to middle class families by the [name of bill] led by then Senator Joe Biden, undergraduate students, vocational training students and niche training/educational programs were eligible for loans and this group, unlike the medical and law students, would not command a starting salary that would make a bankruptcy discharge program seem egregious. Unfortunately, the wheels were in motion to ensure discharging in bankruptcy remains challenging. But it can be done.

Total and Permanent Disability Discharge

You may qualify for a total and permanent disability discharge of your federal student loans and any TEACH service obligations if:

  • you’re totally and permanently disabled, and
  • you have a Direct Loan, Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) Program loan, or Perkins Loan.

Work For The Government or a Non-Profit?
If you do, then you are in luck.  If you do not and you seek loan forgiveness, you might consider a career in public service. There are robust public service loan forgiveness programs [PSLF] that provide different amounts of debt relief for in demand professions.  The PSLF got its inspiration from the G.I.Bill, rated by historians as one of the most successful pieces of social legislation in U.S. Government history.  The spirit of thanking those for public service has been extended throughout the government, hoping to attract talented workers into public service.  

Eligible Public Service Careers
Government Employees

Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF)
“You may be able to receive Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) if you work in federal, state, local, or tribal government, and you have a Direct Loan. The PSLF Program forgives the remaining balance on your Direct Loan after you’ve made the equivalent of 120 qualifying monthly payments while working full time for a qualifying employer.

*Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) Program loans and Federal Perkins Loans may become eligible for PSLF if you consolidate your loans into the Direct Loan Program.”

Teachers | Educators
The Teacher Loan Forgiveness of up to $17,500 is targeted toward teachers/educators who teach full time and have completed five (5) consecutive academic years at a school  (elementary, secondary or educational service agency with a low income designation.  This applies to holders of Direct Loans or Federal Family Education Loan participants.

Nurturing Professionals In Education | Education Administrators
Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF)
If you work in childcare, early childhood education, or have a technical and/or an administrative role in public or not-for-profit education and you have a Direct Loan, then may be eligible for [PSLF] Public Service Loan Forgiveness.

Non-Profit Workers
Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF)
If you are a non-profit worker, then you will first need to speak to your human resources team to determine if your organization qualifies.  If your organization does, then as long as you have a Direct Loan, then you may be eligible.

Medical Professionals
Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF)

The PSLF applies to certain health care professionals working for a qualified non-profit or government organization.  Due to the current shortage of medical professionals in the United States,  The Health Resources & Services Agency is actively on a near real time basis occupations that need staff and locations that are critically understaffed.  Each location also has special programs and incentives to attract qualified workers..  In the past, these programs were decentralized and managed at the state and local level.  Given the acute labor shortages and the need to fill these positions, the HRSA has outlined the following areas as critical


HRSA Funded Loan Forgiveness Programs

Nurse Corps Loan Repayment Program
Pays up to 85% of unpaid nursing education debt for recipients that serve or elect to work for two years in a Critical Shortage Facility (CSF) or an eligible school of nursing.

Occupations eligible:

  • A registered nurse (RN)
  • An advanced practice registered nurse (APRN)
  • Nurse faculty (NF)

You must have received your nursing education from an United States, or U.S. Territory based accredited school of nursing .Apply for the Nurse Corps Loan Repayment Program

National Health Service Corps Loan Repayment Programs

NHSC Loan Repayment Program [NHSC-LRP]

Eligibility:  Licensed primary care clinicians in eligible disciplines can receive loan repayment.
Qualifications: Must serve a minimum of two years at an NHSC- approved site in an HPSA
(Health Professional Shortage Area)

Application: https://nhsc.hrsa.gov/loan-repayment/nhsc-loan-repayment-program

NHSC Substance Use Disorder Workforce Loan Repayment Program

The NHSC SUD Workforce LRP combats the nation’s opioid crisis by prioritizing treatment over law enforcement.  This program is designed for trained and licensed providers in eligible disciplines that use evidence-based treatment models to treat substance use disorders.

In exchange, you serve at least two years at an NHSC-approved SUD treatment facility.  This could be viewed as a barrier, but look at this as an opportunity to make a real impact on your fellow Americans by serving in a location that needs your expertise.  If qualified personnel do not take up this challenge, who will?

Eligible specialties

  • Physicians
  • Nurse practitioners
  • Certified nurse midwives
  • Physician assistants
  • Behavioral health professionals
  • Substance use disorder counselors
  • Registered nurses
  • Pharmacists

How do I apply?

Get details and guidance on how to apply to the SUD Workforce LRP.

NHSC Rural Community Loan Repayment Program (NHSC Rural Community LRP)

The NHSC Rural Community LRP is for providers combating the opioid epidemic in the nation’s rural communities.Licensed primary care clinicians in eligible disciplines can receive loan repayment. In exchange, you serve at least two years at a rural NHSC-approved SUD treatment facility.

Eligible disciplines

  • Allopathic/osteopathic physicians
  • Physician assistants
  • Psychiatrists
  • Nurse practitioners
  • Certified nurse-midwives
  • Psychiatric nurse specialists
  • Health service psychologists
  • Licensed clinical social workers
  • Marriage and family therapists
  • Licensed professional counselors
  • SUD counselors
  • Pharmacists
  • Registered nurses
  • Certified registered nurse anesthetists

How to apply?

Get details and guidance on how to apply to the NHSC Rural Community LRP.

For states, the NHSC offers the State Loan Repayment Program (SLRP) as a cost-sharing grant.

NHSC Students to Service Loan Repayment Program (NHSC S2S LRP)

Are you a student in your last year of medical, nursing, or dental school? You can receive loan repayment from the NHSC S2S LRP. In return, you provide at least three years of service at an NHSC-approved site in a Health Professional Shortage Area (HPSA)

  • Allopathic (MD)
  • Osteopathic (DO)
  • Family Medicine
  • General Internal Medicine
  • General Pediatrics
  • Geriatrics
  • Obstetrics/Gynecology
  • Psychiatry

Nurse Practitioner (NP)

  • Adult Practice
  • Family Practice
  • Pediatrics
  • Women’s Health
  • Psychiatry
  • Geriatrics

Certified Nurse-Midwife (CNM)

  • Women’s Health


  • Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS)
  • Doctor of Medicine in Dentistry (DMD)
  • General Dentistry
  • Pediatric Dentistry

How do I apply?

Get details and guidance on how to apply to the NHSC S2S LRP.

For states, the NHSC offers the State Loan Repayment Program (SLRP) as a cost-sharing grant.

Substance Use Disorder Treatment and Recovery Loan Repayment Program (STAR LRP)

The STAR LRP repays eligible educational loans. You must work in a full-time SUD treatment job. In exchange, you serve full-time for six years at a STAR LRP-approved treatment facility.

Am I eligible?

Your job must involve direct patient care in a

You must be trained, certified, registered, or licensed in an eligible discipline.

Pediatric Specialty Loan Repayment Program

The Pediatric Specialty LRP repays eligible educational loans. In exchange, you serve full-time for three (3) years at a Pediatric Specialty LRP-approved treatment facility.

Am I eligible?

You may be eligible to apply if you are providing:

  • Pediatric medical subspecialty
  • Pediatric surgical specialty
  • Child and adolescent mental and behavioral health care including substance use disorder (SUD) prevention and treatment services

You must be trained, certified, registered, or licensed in an eligible discipline.

How do I apply?

Get details and guidance on how to apply to the Pediatric Specialty LRP.

Learn what your site needs to become Pediatric Specialty LRP-approved.

Faculty Loan Repayment Program (FLRP)

If you’re a faculty member, we’ll repay a portion of your health professional student loan debt ($40,000 max over two years). In return, you serve at an eligible health professions school.

Am I eligible?

You are eligible for the Faculty Loan Repayment Program (FLRP) if

  1. You come from a disadvantaged background. We base this on environmental and economic factors.
  2. You have an eligible health professions degree or certificate.
  3. You are a faculty member at an approved health professions school. You must have a contract for two years or more.

How do I apply?

Get details and guidance on how to apply to the FLRP.

How To Use Tuition Reimbursement To Defer Payments

Does your employer offer tuition reimbursement of any kind? Have you checked? If you have not, you should.  Why?  According to SHRM, 48% of employers state they offer some form of tuition reimbursement to their employees.  Research firm Willis Towers and Watson found that over 80% of large employers offer tuition reimbursement.  

Before we provide use cases for you on how to use tuition reimbursement to compliment student loan deferment, let’s first understand who benefits from tuition reimbursement programs. According to Guild Education, a platform that allows employees of select companies to source, enroll and matriculate from certificate and degree programs that are reimbursed by the company.  

According to Rachel Romer, CEO of Guild Education, participants in tuition reimbursement programs are twice as likely to be promoted and four times less likely to leave the organization.  A promotion and retention program.

If your company happens to have a tuition reimbursement program and you are accepted into it and you have student loans, this may be a beneficial scenario for you if.

  1. You are attending half time or full time (9 or more credit hours) at a qualified institution.
  2. Your company pays, via tuition reimbursement, your part/full time study
  3. The school you attend contacts your loan servicer to inform them you are now studying part time
  4. You confirm with your loan servicer that your school is eligible for deferment and you show proof of enrollment into your tuition reimbursement program

Note – this is for students with previous loans that are seeking deferment of loans by attending school. The difference in this scenario happens to be the student will be taking advantage of tuition reimbursement.

What happens when my loans go into deferment?

Think of deferment as a payment pause.  You do not have to make payments on your loans, however, depending on the type of loan and deferment, interest may accrue on that loan. It matters if you view obtaining skills and training as a pathway to increasing your salary.  

In our case, we asked, “if an average outstanding balance is 15,000, and a median salary for a college graduate is ~$56,000 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, then what type of salary increase can we expect to make deferring and going back to school worthwhile.

According to our calculations, a person making $56,000 (average salary) with an outstanding balance of $15,000 (average outstanding balance) pays roughly $170 to,$180 per month in student loans or about 3.6% of their income.  After completing the course of study, if we include taxes and make minor adjustments, the student would have to, with taxes, increase their salary by 5.6% to make themselves whole.  In other words, in order for the tuition reimbursement courses to show a positive impact, the person has to obtain a raise of 5% or more from their base salary.

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