It may seem like a no-brainer, but if we want to grow our businesses, we need to continue to expand our knowledge and skills. We need skill development.
There are many ways to increase our aptitudes. We can read and research on our own, sign up for webinars, participate in online chats, and watch YouTube videos. We can attend conferences, read blogs, Google, and try the classic trial and error. Maybe you haven’t done all of these. Maybe you should! Maybe you’ve been so busy dealing with the work fires you haven’t had time. Forcing yourself to block out an hour or two a few times a week to develop your talents sounds like a monster task. Where are those hours coming from? But, let’s be honest, it’s needed if you want to develop your skills and talents. To stretch yourself. To grow.
Have you added to your to-do list to read a particular development book? Do it!
Have you been meaning to search YouTube videos to learn or develop a particular skill for your business? Do it!
Have you found others in your industry that are willing to collaborate or share information? Make time!
Do you think your industry is so tight-lipped that you feel isolated or need a security clearance to be in the know? Think again because we are becoming a society of supporters and helpers. Keep looking and you’ll find friends in your industry.
If you’re like me and can’t afford a $900 (or more) weekend conference (not including hotel and travel), then look for other alternatives. Free and low-cost alternatives. Maybe you haven’t thought of these opportunities or maybe you don’t know where to start looking.
So, check out my ever-growing list of ways to continue becoming even more of an expert as you grow and develop your skills, talents, business, health, life, and badassery without having to go into debt.
If you go to YouTube and do a search, you find several suggestions to advance and learn just about everything you need to know. I did a search to learn if I had wild onions growing in my yard and if they were editable. (As long as they are not in a pet potty area, they are edible and what I had growing wasn’t wild onions). I’ve used videos to declutter, learn more about YouTube itself (yep, searching YouTube to learn more about YouTube), connecting my computer wirelessly to a printer, how to fix a photo issue via editing and more. YouTube is more than dogs being clumsy.
MY TOP CHANNELS
• Channel Notes – Where I go to learn about YouTube. (Yeah, yeah, learning YouTube on YouTube.)
• Social Media Examiner – My favorite spot for all things social media.
• Sunny Lenarduzzi – Great for branding and business building.
• Marie Forleo – Fantastic business development videos.
• MailChimp – Is platform specific, but useful for me in my business.
• Google – A great way to stay up-to-date on what’s happening with the platform.
• LinkedIn – Great tips and tricks for getting the most out of LinkedIn.
Facebook & LinkedIn
Facebook is always popular and is continuing to grow. Have you joined any business-related groups? Do a search on Facebook and check out group categories or events. Joining groups or even creating a group can be a very powerful tool. Just remember to keep up with it. You’ll get the most out of a group if you’re an active participant. Not the group for you? Leave it and join a different one – or three! The same thing goes for LinkedIn.
I found a Facebook group of female bosses where we network online and in public. We ask questions, explore options, help each other find answers, give and receive referrals, hold each other accountable and simply cheer each other on. I am also part of a book study club that is reading a self-improvement business book. The group is a mix of online and meetings.
MY FAVE GROUPS
• Boss Babes RVA – Awesome group for women in business. (You must be with a Richmond company to join, but there are other similar groups on Facebook if you do a little looking.)
• Girlboss – Because who doesn’t need some all-in motivation?
• Alpha Female Sisterhood – A positive active group of women business owners managed by business coaches.
By simply scrolling through Instagram, I’ve found free webinars of all kinds. From these ads, I have participated in 2 different webinars about business development and improving marketing techniques, both of which I learned from. I took notes and implemented their suggestions and have seen positive results. They push you to sign up for services and it’s up to you if you want to pursue more or be content with the freebie.
Even though some may say that Twitter has lost its way, it is still a great place to grow your knowledge and skills. Finding chats related to your business, hobbies or interests is one of the best ways to network and learn. By using a particular hashtag, you can find different conversations to be a part of. Want to learn more about LinkedIn? Participate in #LinkedInChat (Tuesdays at 7 p.m. ET). Need help with branding? Join #brandchat (Wednesdays at 11 a.m. ET). Girl boss? #BizGalz (Mondays at 1 p.m. ET) and #PFWChat (Thursdays at 11 a.m. ET) are great suggestions. The possibilities are staggering! And don’t just lurk. Participate. Share. Ask questions. There are chats for bloggers, trainers, church, foodies, and hippies, just to name a few. Find the ones that speak to you!
Meetup is a free app and website that lets like-minded people meet for pretty much anything. I dug my heels in when it came to meetups because I’m shy and an introvert. I finally put on my big girl pants and joined. I found meetings near me that cover all sorts of topics, many of which are business related! I found meetups for women business owners, photographers, media marketers, hikers, networkers, and on and on. I went to one. I clung to the wall like the floor was going to collapse and ended up leaving a little early because I was so out of my element. I left with really good notes and it gave me a lot to think about. It was uncomfortable. I’m glad I went and, I’m proud to say, I’ve signed up for more meetups near me.
Goodreads is a free app that a friend recommended. I love it!! It allows the users to create lists of books you have read, what you’re currently reading, and book you want to read. Once you start putting books in those three categories, it will give you more book suggestions. Want to read #Girlboss by Sophia Amoruso or completed it? Goodreads will give you other suggestions similar to how Amazon does (because it’s connected to Amazon) like You Are a Badass by Jen Sincero and The 5 Second Rule by Mel Robbins.
Don’t forget to connect with your friends via the platform. If your friend enjoyed a book, Goodreads will suggest it to you. If you finished a great book, then you can send a recommendation to a friend. Goodreads makes reading on your own interactive. I use this app all the time when I’m at the library to help me remember titles and have also found it a great place to store recommended books your friends and colleagues mention during a conversation.
If you haven’t invested in Audible, I recommend it. While the app is free, be aware that the books are not. It’s another way to listen to books, get suggestions, and grow your knowledge. You can listen from your computer or phone, while you drive, workout, cook, clean, get ready, or while having your morning coffee. The app also can adjust the narration speed so you can listen a little faster or slower. (I will say it’s pretty embarrassing when you’re at the gym and realize your headphones aren’t fully plugged in so your neighbors can hear your book in chipmunk mode.) What a great way to make great use of your time! I think Laura Vanderkam, author of What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast would be proud. If Audible isn’t right for you, there’s always the audiobooks section at your local library (obsessed!).
If you aren’t ready to invest in Audible, then podcasts may be more your speed. iTunes and Stitcher have loads of free options as well as various web resources. My personal favorite business podcast is The Social Media Examiner Show.
Take these as a few of my humble suggestions for keeping your skill development on track without stressing over the money you need to invest.
What other ways have you gained knowledge and developed your skills?