Keeping your skills up-to-date, and the importance of learning when you’re self-employed

Learn to love learning and your business will thank you for it. Seriously. I mean if you we’re employed you’d not only do your initial training, but you’d have to keep your skills and knowledge up to date.

Well you need to do that with your business too.

I spent 10 years of my life working in the advice sector, mainly with Citizens Advice, and you wouldn’t believe the amount of training I had.

I went from initial training to learn how to give advice and interview clients to get the right information from them, to topic related training on debt, welfare benefits, consumer and employment problems (and loads more!) I even underwent smoking cessation training and managing suicide risk of clients as part of an NHS contract I was delivering giving advice to patients in GP’s surgeries.

Now I run my own business I don’t ignore my need to keep up-to-date, in fact I love growing my knowledge and passing it on or using it to help others through the advice and training I give.

In the last 3.5 years I’ve spend hundreds of hours (if not thousands) watching webinars and TED Talks, listing to podcasts, reading books and magazines, attending courses, conferences and other events.

 

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So what can you learn?
Professional development

It’s likely that you’ll want to keep any professional qualifications up to date, or develop new skills as your business grows. You might also find professional magazines and journals helpful in keeping up with trends and new developments for your sector.

Consider any training carefully – are the skills you gain going to be of any value, and will the money and time invested be worth it for your business success?

Business skills

Women generally become self-employed because they love what you do, or they wanted a more flexible work schedule. However, starting a business is a huge learning curve and you suddenly require a ton of extra ‘know how’ such as time management, accounting, website development, blogging, SEO, social media and marketing.

Take the time to learn what you can from those in the know. And whilst it’s great to be able to outsource some of these tasks, it’s still a good idea to have a basic understanding of them.

Personal growth

If you’re the only person (or the leader) in your business it’s important that you do not neglect self-development and personal growth. This includes anything from self care to overcoming deep-seated fear or mindset issues which hold you back.

Again you need to consider any training carefully – maybe you could find what you need from a book rather than formal training? Take a look in your local library or book shop, or head over to Amazon to see what’s available. Or maybe an informal workshop or session can give you what you need? Ask around at networking events to see what’s available locally.

 

Develop a passion for learning. If you do, you will never cease to grow. Anthony J. D’Angelo

Learning styles

It’s widely agreed that people learn in different ways – that is, how they take in and retain information to be able to reuse it, and there are several different theories on learning styles. People often find that their learning style is actually a mix, but one style is usually more prominent than the other(s).

Once you understand your learning style it will make it easier for you know how to learn and retain information, and should sway your decisions about choosing the right training. Knowing your learning style might also help demonstrate why you automatically do things a certain way, as often we automatically do things in the way that relates to the style of learning we benefit the most from.

Find your learning style in this simple quiz

Ways to learn

Books are a great way to learn years’ worth of work or study in a much shorter time. Plus Kindle and audio books give good choice for differing learning styles.

Podcasts are a great way to learn informally in bite-size sections on whatever topics you want to. If you’ve got an iPhone take a look at the pre-installed Podcast app, or on Android take a look at the Stitcher app.

Local workshops & courses can be great for one-off’s, and are obviously great for networking too! Take a look at our events to see what workshops we have coming up.

Webinars are usually live (but sometimes pre-recorded) training sessions lasting around an hour or so to teach you about a specific topic. Free webinars tend to have a sales pitch towards the end.

Online courses cover almost every topic imaginable and fit easily around looking after a family and running your business. These can vary hugely in costs from £20-30 up to thousands.

Conferences are great for learning and networking with new suppliers, contacts and potential customers, and they happen all over the world in every industry. Just ask others doing similar work about which are the good ones worth attending, as often they can be a big investment, especially if they involve travel.

Love learning

So what are you waiting for?

…go out there and learn something new!

PS. Did you know that we are hosting a women’s empowerment conference for International Women’s day, 8th March 2018? Get your tickets now for the Her Business, Body & Life Conference – full details here.