A great business isn’t just about delivering quality products or having the best customer service. A business is great when the minds behind its operation are keen and filling to the brim with knowledge.
The need one feels to learn is a very powerful motivator.
It’s very easy to become comfortable with your work and business. In time you begin to lose your edge as a result of having less focus placed into learning and perfecting techniques.
Fresh competition comes at you with a fire and understanding of techniques you’ve neglected to learn and understand. They soon chip away at your share of the market – pushing your business further into obscurity.
What’s need is dedication to learning … and just about all of it can be learned online, for free.
First: Start Small
The Web gives us pretty much anything and everything when it comes to education. You’re bound to find a course, video, or some kind of tutorial out there.
The problem is that there’s simply too much information.
This causes a paradox because you’re likely to become overloaded due to this saturation and, in turn, end up doing nothing because there’s too much choice.
It’s like having dinner at a restaurant with 100+ items. There are so many that you eventually just fall back to the ones you know.
What you need to do:
1. Pick one item you find fascinating (or beneficial)
2. List why you want to learn this new item
3. List the benefits you gain from learning this item
4. Figure out how long you’re willing to commit to the project
5. Set a goal for when you’ll start and reach a comfortable level of completion
Let’s say you wanted to learn a new language.
It’s not just “I want to learn a new language” it’s “I want to learn Japanese”. Be specific. From there you figure out why you’re doing it so it could be “so I can work for a Japanese company one day”. The benefits could be “because I love the culture and being able to fully understand the language will help me take in all of the culture and experiences”. Then you set the goals – “I will start today, practices each day for 3 hours, and plan to be moderately proficient in six months”.
Start small. Do something you want to learn. Do something you feel would complement your business. Do something that will give you an edge against the competition.
Second: Taking Action
Don’t worry about whether or not you can find tutorials for your chosen subject … I can guarantee you that someone has published a course, blog post, or product that’ll cover what you need.
In terms of where to learn – there are lots of options:
- Code Academy – A great location for learning how to code.
- Udemy – A site which houses many, many courses (a lot of them being free).
- Khan Academy – Thousands of educational videos for just about any type of subject.
- Coursera – Another major website with tons of choices and full curriculum.
Of course there are many sites you either already use (or have stumbled across) that provide a rich learning environment:
- YouTube – Plug in your keywords and find videos (or playlists) of the topic.
- Instructables – Get your DIY fix with this great site that has thousands of fun projects.
- MetaReddit – Use this directory to find sub-reddits dedicated to your topic/interests.
Then there’s always blogs and other websites you can find through a search.
Once you’ve found the platform you enjoy make a routine. Dedicate part of your day to learning this new subject. Participate in the communities. Find a study partner. Make education your work.
Make education a never ending journey.
Try to make each day a chance to learn something new even if it’s just 10 minutes of your time. Better yet – if you can dedicate a whole hour (which is really nothing when you remove distractions) you can really start knocking down your list of things to learn.
In all – you’ll better yourself and you’ll better your business.
You’ll have the knowledge to bring something fresh to the table. You’ll remain relevant in your industry by keeping your finger on the pulse. You’ll train yourself to do great habits which will spill over to all other aspects of your daily/work life.