5 Reasons You Should Invest In Business Education
In this beautifully digital world, with unlimited access to free digital content, it’s so easy to get sucked into signing up for that e-newsletter list promising a step-by-step guide to build your business at no cost to you. 80% of my Pinterest boards link to blog posts telling me how to grow my social media following, which photo editing app is best, or how to get ahead in my career – most of which, I’ve never even clicked through to read. With so much available for free, why would you ever need to invest in business education?
Business education has made the most substantial contribution to my career success, and it’s the key component to the growth of your brand that you should be budgeting for every single month. From local workshops to national conferences or even online classes, I’ve outlined the top five benefits you will gain through investing in business education.
VALUE – Blog posts, webinars, and podcasts can be incredible sources for information, but it’s important to remember that anyone can create free content, and there is a chance that content is not accurate or up to date. For example, we know in social media, algorithms are changing on a daily basis, leaving that pin about the best time to post on Instagram irrelevant. Paid courses are usually monitored closely by their creator, updating their information regularly to keep their paying clients coming back for more. Additionally, cost brings value – you are paying an expert in their field for their educational materials, not a hobbyist for their free advice.Lastly, a paid course should be able to provide you with testimonials, so you can make sure your needs will be met before you spend the time going through that workbook. No testimonials? Reach out and ask the content creator if they have any clients similar to you that they’d recommend you chat with to discuss their experience.
CONTENT CREATION – Attending a workshop or conference is an incredible resource for content creation. The topics covered will be a great inspiration for future blog posts, newsletter content or social media posts. Even if some of the information is not new to you, it may be to your clients or readers. By sharing anything new you learn, you are adding value to your service and better serving your clients.Make sure to take photos while at the conference. From the small design details at the event to a group shot with other attendees, make sure you’re using the event’s hashtag and properly tagging the conference creator and its keynote speakers. There is a good chance they’ll share your great shot, scoring you some great PR.
ACCOUNTABILITY – Personally, I pay more attention to things I pay for and business education is no exception. To make serious changes to your business you need to make sure you show up. Whether it’s watching the e-course in entirety or remaining engaged through the full seminar, if you paid for the program, you’re more likely to retain the information and implement it.
CUSTOMIZED SOLUTIONS – How many times have you followed a tutorial, only to get stuck at step four because your website isn’t cooperating and that plug-in just doesn’t exist? Or you saw a really amazing overhead shot on Instagram and you just can’t figure out how they got the full tablescape in the shot? Workshops are your saving grace. You can jot down your questions as you go and pull the host aside to ask specific questions to your needs. At a larger conference, they’ll often have break out sessions with panelists where you can ask specific questions. These are particularly magical, because your panelist will take you a few steps further and answer questions you didn’t even realize you had, like which bookkeeping software they prefer, or where they source their custom gift-wrap.
NETWORKING – I can not put a value on the incredible, long-lasting, working relationships I have made at workshops and conferences. By purchasing a ticket to an event, you are immediately putting yourself in a group of people with similar interests, goals and commitment to success. You will connect with attendees that have the potential to collaborate on a project, exchange services that mutually benefit your business, or use as a sounding board to discuss ideas and challenges.At smaller workshops or conferences, you can even connect with the panelists or keynote speakers. These industry leaders are a wealth of knowledge and are often so willing to help! Don’t forget to get social – carry a notebook with you to get the Instagram handle of every person you meet. When you post about the conference, tag those users in the photo and mention them in the comments. It gives you a little extra face time, helping them remember who you are and they’ll appreciate the shout out on social media.
So how do you decide which type of business education is right for you? I suggest laying out your budget for the year and working backwards. Budget for your biggest business education investment of the year and work backwards. Start by selecting the conference of your dreams, the one that seems way more advanced than your skillset and way more established than you think you are. This will serve as your inspiration platform and guiding light for the year. For me, it was the Creative @ Heart Conference and Create & Cultivate this year, and Alt. Summit next year.
Next, pick a workshop for the year. This will be your actionable step, where you’ll learn how to use a new software or how to create a business plan. I run a two-day workshop to brand and market your creative business, and we get down and dirty with specific, actionable steps to grow your brand. The Bloguettes do a fantastic 3 part workshop, where you can attend the full three days, or just pick one. But your workshop doesn’t have to be a multi-day or large financial commitment. I challenge you to take a mini-workshop in your area, often hosted at a creative studio in town. These workshops are where you’ll meet lifelong friends, that photographer you’ve been needing to connect with, and that fashion blogger who wants to order a necklace from your newest collection.
Finally, leave yourself some budget every month for online courses. Personally, I budget $150 a month for business education but my actual spend fluctuates. About $50 of this goes toward subscription based education like #Upgraded for weekly action items and Q&A sessions, and Lynda.com – my go-to for technical tutorials. When I am busier with clients, I don’t have the time to dedicate to an online course or tutorial, so I use that budget toward a more expensive, more specific online course in my slower months. If you’re looking for help getting organized, this course from the Think Creative Collective absolutely changed my life. And it’s just $29.
Not all business education needs to cost money, I’ve learned so much from reading blogs, inviting someone I admire to lunch, and good old fashioned trial-and-error. Some of my tried and true resources for free education include Rising Tide Society, TED, and Melyssa Griffin. If you have any questions about what type of business education is best for your needs, check out my blog or shoot me an email – I’d love to help! Whatever your budget, commit to making real connections with your industry, commit to better serving your clients, and commit to continued learning.
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