Professional Development Ideas for Entrepreneurs
Entrepreneurship isn’t so much a career as it is a way of life. Owning your own business or working freelance means you don’t have the safety net of an HR department to take care of your personal administration or a boss prompting you to take a course. All of this must be instigated by you, and it is important if you want to be successful in your field. Thankfully it’s fairly easy to do in today’s digital world; there are several ways you can work towards improving yourself and your business. Keep reading to find out more.
Books and podcasts
Regardless of your entrepreneurial field or freelance endeavor, there will be people who have to tread the same path you’re on and lived to tell the tale. These people write the books like road maps for you, allowing you to sidestep common pitfalls carefully. Research relevant people, invest in their books and learn from them.
The same theory applies to podcasts. Although similar to books in many aspects, podcasts deliver a more live experience. They are often hosted by entrepreneurs like yourself and will discuss dilemmas relevant to your field. A good industry podcast will usually have expert guests on the show to offer advice on various niche aspects of the industry and help accelerate your learning.
Learn a second language
You’ve probably heard that learning a second language is a great way to advance your career; it undoubtedly is, especially for people who want to garner a competitive edge over their colleagues or peers. But for entrepreneurs, it can be even more significant and career-advancing, not only from a personal development point of view but also in terms of client service.
If you run a business that deals with overseas customers, it makes a big difference if you can speak their language. For example, you might need to take up English conversation courses to make a better impression on your customers. They will be more responsive to a company that caters to their localization, and your client retention should improve. From a personal perspective, learning a language helps develop and exercise your brain. It’s been shown that people with second language abilities are more disciplined and creative.
Never underestimate the value of continuing professional development. It’s easy to forget about this after your company is earning strong revenue, but if you want to maintain those levels and grow your business, you need to stay sharp and relevant. Your extra training doesn’t have to be in your niche field; it can be Urine Collector, for instance, if you’re a performance sports brand.
Firstly, however, think about what areas of the business you would like to earn more about. Maybe you’ve always been poor with numbers, which is why you hire an account manager. That’s fine for the time being, but it’s also a good opportunity to train yourself in accounting as well. It isn’t so you can take over the role, but you can better understand the workings of the business. After training yourself in these satellite areas, you can then diversify.
Connect with communities
Entrepreneurship can be a lonely business at times; you have so many plates spinning, employees, and clients to manage, and only you intuitively know how to manage it. Or so you think. The reality is there are millions of people in the world just like you, with the same concerns and obstacles; the difference is they have a different perspective from you and, therefore, new ideas.
Industry communities can be found on social media sites like LinkedIn and Facebook. They are built around people operating in your niche area and who encounter similar problems and dilemmas. Engaging with these communities is an excellent way to ask troubling questions and get support. It’s good to know you’re not alone when it comes to entrepreneurial endeavors.
Know your goals
The difference between a successful entrepreneur and one that fails is sometimes down to active versus passive personalities. The passive types tend to find some success, enough to sustain a lifestyle and then settle for it. They don’t engage further in personal development strategies or company growth. Conversely, the active ones tend to be interested in growing the business and improving their personal value.
The difference is only really an attitude. Active entrepreneurs will work to a set of goals that frame their intentions and motivate them to progress. Passive entrepreneurs may have goals in mind, but they are probably long term goals that aren’t timebound. Implement SMART goals in your life and business by identifying the broad categories or important areas to develop and then using your SMART goals to stay on track.
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