Be always studying
For most of us, the job for life is gone.
No more will people start work as an apprentice at Big Widgets, gradually work their way up the corporate ladder and then retire with a chiming clock after 45 years of devoted service.
For most of us, our jobs and work are constantly changing. To keep up we need to study.
CPD and the need to keep up to date
This is recognised in the professions where you need to get annual CPD (continual professional development) ‘points’ in order to keep up your professional qualification.
However if you work for yourself, particularly if it involves any sort of digital or computer work, regular updating is even more essential.
Over the past five years of so, I have done three Open University modules, two American courses on product launches, numerous courses on online marketing, and numerous courses on using new software. Not to mention the constant updating reading I need to do to keep on top of my ‘niche’ – residential landlord and tenant law.
I have also read books on business development, marketing, and entrepreneurship along with countless blog posts and articles. It never stops.
I would go so far as to say that I could never have been as successful (moderately successful) had I not done that training.
Where do you find the training? Much of the training I do is on marketing and comes from America. For example, I have done training courses from Jeff Walker, the Copyblogger team, Leadpages and Ittybiz. All of those are worth checking out.
Jeff Walkers Product Launch formula was quite expensive but changed the way I think about launching products forever. I know that I have more than recovered the cost of the course – and indeed did so in the first year. It is relevant to most types of business.
I absolutely loved the Open University ‘My Digital Life’ module I did a few years ago, although it is a bit pricey now. But it helped to open my mind to all things digital.
Leadpages provide a phenomenal amount of free training (and their product is pretty good too) which you will find here.
For internet marketing in the UK, Chris Cardell‘s courses are very good, although he is rather expensive. Watch out for the special offers – don’t buy at full price. There are some very good free offers but they are cleverly designed to make you sign up for his paid products.
For training on software and indeed practically everything, Lynda.com is an amazing resource. I have a regular subscription and often dip in and watch some of their courses. For about £15 pm it is great value.
Choosing your training
There are so many courses out there. How do you decide which ones to do?
It depends really on your objectives. If you have a plan, particularly for a megabusiness, it may be important for you to study and get to grips with things you don’t particularly like, for the sake of the business.
Being a mere moderate entrepreneur, I tend to study the things which interest me. I find that they are more likely to inspire me and, being interested in them, I am more likely to finish them (and therefore get value from them).
I have several courses on things like using Google Analytics which I know I ought to do more with but which make my eyes glaze over. So I have never really done more than look at the first couple of yawn making modules …
Generally, I have found that the courses I really, really wanted to do – like the Open University ‘My Digital Life’ and Jeff Walkers PLF course, have been the ones which have been most beneficial.
So do it
There is no excuse for not continually learning. It’s not an indulgence or optional extra. It’s essential.
It helps keep your mind young and active and will probably help you live longer. Its the best way to invest in your future.