How to keep learning as an entrepreneur (and why it’s important)
If you’re a business owner, chances are you already know the value of education. Even more than other professionals, it’s crucial for entrepreneurs to keep learning if they want to succeed.
After all, nobody knows everything. No matter your professional or academic background, there are always new skills you can learn to become even better at what you do.
We’ve put together this non-exhaustive list to give you some general ideas on how you can continue learning -- even as you run your business.
Why it’s important
Education is important if you want not just to be successful but stay successful in today’s business landscape. Think of it as an investment in yourself and your business.
It can be a gateway for professional and personal development, help you keep on top of industry trends and stay competitive, and allow you to network and meet like-minded people.
Studies show the most successful entrepreneurs read over 60 books per year. Most of us don’t have that kind of time on our hands... but there are still many great ways that we can continue our learning.
Get a postgrad education
Furthering your formal education with a postgraduate degree can do great things for your career, even as an entrepreneur. Not only does it allow you to learn new skills, or freshen up on those you haven’t used in years, it also gives you the chance to interact with other professionals in your field (and learn from their diverse backgrounds).
“Doing modules in technical and agile project management hasn’t just allowed me to manage Colouring Department’s projects better, it’s also helped me handle the different personalities and traits of team members and better understand how to match them with each other,” she says.
“Agile project management, in particular, has been important for our development services. It’s allowed us to involve the client at every stage of development, allowing for better results and less opportunity for scope creep.”
Do an online course
MOOCs -- massive online open courses -- are mostly free and allow you to learn a specific skill alongside people around the world. You can also browse what’s offered on other platforms like Udemy and FutureLearn.
Finally, look to leaders in your industry, especially online influencers. Many offer paid or free e-courses that teach you a little bit about what they do.
The best way to learn as a busy entrepreneur is to make learning a habit. Schedule learning into your daily routine, so it becomes natural to you.
Even a simple 15-30 minutes a day can do wonders. Pick something progressive where you can do a different lesson each day (like learning a language), or do something more general (like reading industry news every morning).
Make sure to apply your new knowledge as soon as possible. Implementation is the best way to retain information.
Find a mentor
You can learn a lot from someone who’s been in the game longer than you. Having a mentor means you always have someone to answer your burning questions, and they often have invaluable insights into your problems (even if you feel like nobody has faced them before).
Many business owners willing to help new entrepreneurs avoid mistakes they made. No matter where you are in your entrepreneurship journey (whether you’re just getting started or approach a new milestone), a mentor can help.
If you can’t find a mentor where you are, learn from one digitally. Pick a business leader you admire and absorb all the content they put out -- their YouTube videos, e-newsletters, blogs, etc.
When establishing Colouring Department, we were fortunate to have some great mentors who assisted us in securing resources and growing our business. They also helped us discover funding resources for our clients, such as the TOV scheme which helps businesses establish online stores through a grant of €2,500.
Learning should be a lifelong adventure, not a means to an end. Just because you have an established or successful business doesn’t mean you should stop learning. From formal postgrad education to online videos, find a way that works best for you -- or else be left behind!
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