Most people think that they should only focus on learning while they are in school, and that after they graduate college, they are done with it forever. However, nothing could be further from reality, especially for entrepreneurs.
Between handling the actual work of their company and the ancillary activities that go along with owning a business, there is often little time left over for entrepreneurs to do anything else. While finding time for another “thing to do” may seem impossible, many successful entrepreneurs prioritize doing so because they know the value of constantly learning new things.
Continuing your education, whether formally or informally, is an investment in your future, as well as in that of your business. The business world is constantly changing, and to keep up with it, you have a few options: You can sign up for coursework at an educational institution, or you can simply commit to reading as much as you can about a certain topic. Regardless of how you go about it, you must strive to constantly seek out new information and learn new skills.
Life-long self-education can benefit you and your company in the following ways:
It Saves Money.
Learning the basic skills of coding and user-interface design can save you thousands of dollars in consultant fees. While you may not become an expert on the subject, learning a bit of simple coding lets you handle some of the easier tasks by yourself. It also gives you some tools by which to judge the work of the consultants you do hire.
It Expands Your Horizons.
Learning a new skill gives you more options. Interested in digital photography? Learning how to edit your photos may not be any use to your business now, but who knows how it will benefit you in the future? You may be able to use your photography skills to take pictures for your website, or you may be able to expand your business offerings to include photo editing.
It Builds Confidence.
There is a notable correlation between education and confidence. Knowing that you can master a new skill can give you an extra boost of courage to help you tackle whatever comes your way. Thus, acquiring a new skillset can help you can guard against the self-doubt that often overwhelms entrepreneurs.
It Keeps Your Brain Sharp.
Studies have shown that people who regularly learn new skills can prevent the onset of Alzheimer’s and lead richer, fuller lives. By constantly updating your knowledge and skillset, you can help keep your brain sharp, which will let you adapt more quickly to changes in the world around you. It’s never too early to think about the future, so get into the practice of constant learning today. This way, you can ensure that you’ll continue learning later in life.
It Makes You Well Rounded.
It’s no secret—people appreciate those who can speak intelligently on a variety of subjects, and many consider these individuals to be a valuable resource. Therefore, expansive knowledge is a powerful tool in building your business—regardless what new skills you learn.
It Improves Your Business.
Entrepreneurs can easily fall into a rut, becoming so focused on a single task that they fail to observe new market trends or significant cultural events. Learning new skills allows you to take a step back from your singular objective and let your creativity run loose. This can help you see your business in a new light, which often leads to a new perspective and new opportunities.
Where to Learn
There are dozens of resources that entrepreneurs can use to learn new information or a new skill. Need some inspiration? Try one of the following sources:
MIT OpenCourseWare—Famed Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s OpenCourseWare has become one of the top programming resources available. Offering multiple coding and programming courses suitable for business entrepreneurs at every skill level, MIT’s platform is the place to start if you want to learn how to code.
Project Gutenberg—Looking to beef up your reading? Project Gutenberg offers digital copies of classic literature titles free. With over 50,000 titles available, you can revisit those classic stories you read in high school or find some new favorites. All you have to do is download the titles to your tablet or other portable reader, and you can read them whenever you have a few minutes, no matter where you are.
University of the People—Feel like you need some help running your business? Want to learn about computers? UofPeople offers tuition-free, accredited degrees in Health Science, Business Administration, and Computer Science.
Lifehacker—An online resource with tips about virtually everything, Lifehacker is a valuable source of information on how to do almost anything.
It may seem difficult to squeeze another thing into your daily schedule. Making time to learn something new, however, may be the most important thing you do all day. What new skill do you want to learn?