If you’re an entrepreneur, you’re expected to know your stuff. No matter what your “stuff” is. Going into business communicates to the world that you’re the best at something – you’re asking people to pay you for it, after all.
But what if you have more passion than you do formal training? Doesn’t love count for something in this world?
It certainly does. But, when push comes to shove, you’re going to be expected to know your trade, craft or product better than most – that’s what’s going to help you sell and build a client base that will keep coming back.
So what if you don’t know everything? Should you shrink back into the shadows? Absolutely not. There are some steps you can take, and sneaky cut-arounds you can use to gain all the wisdom you can handle! We’re talking about moving from being a novice with a hobby to becoming an expert with a business. Here’s how you do it:
Know It All: No-Pay Ways to Learn Everything
Okay, so as long as you’re not creepy about it, this is the easiest (and cheapest) one to pull off. Fact: People love to talk about what they know. It’s a sure-fire chance to show off, and everyone likes to have their moment in the spotlight. Find someone who seems to really know what they’re doing in your world, and attach yourself to them. Subtly. Or, maybe scratch that. If you try subtle, you might find yourself staring at them from behind a tree and that’s…just…not the way to do this. Be bold. Yes. Identify the person who is where you want to be in this game, go to them, and ask them to help you. You’ll not only gain book smarts, but you’ll also get street smart advice from someone who has likely been through some tough knocks on the way to the top.
Let’s go in a completely different direction. One-on-one can be a little intense. If you can’t find a single mentor, maybe you can find a whole group of weirdos like-minded business people to hang out with. Finding and signing up for conferences is a great way to not only learn more about various aspects of your business, but to also do that important little thing called networking. Not to mention, you can spy. Your competitors will likely be at these conferences, and if you’re savvy about it, you can get a sneak peek into what they’re doing. They’ll be showing off, with their wares on full display. Keep your eyes peeled and your ears open. Just show up, learn and absorb. Oh, and make friends. You’ll need those, and they may turn out to be your future partners or mentors, when you’re ready.
* Note: Conferences can come with a cost, but many offer scholarships or have other means of support if you apply! You can also reduce cost by gathering a group to go!
(Get your goofball on.)
Oh my goodness, the internet. A list of learning would be incomplete without mentioning the World Wide Web. Sure, there are pitfalls. Trolls, misinformation, arguments, and hours and hours of cat videos. But still, there is a lot to learn online. As long as you take everything with a grain of salt, and refuse to take any single person’s word as gospel, it’s okay to dive in. Do some surfing, and you’ll find out pretty quick what’s what. Keep your senses about you, and you’ll get a good idea of the most up-to-date debates, trends and desires that affect your industry. That’s important information, and it’s right at your fingertips.
* Note: If you are interested in getting some formal education, more and more colleges and universities are offering coursework online, designed specifically for business professionals. Online coursework also tends to cost less than the traditional experience, which is accompanied by the cost of tuition and other expenses.
(Lay back and learn, son.)
Want a quick, painless way to beef up your cred? Join an organization that caters to your industry.. It’s important to belong – we’ve learned that since childhood. By seeking out organizations specific to your industry and joining them, you are communicating a next level of commitment and interest. You’re tapping into an established network, and letting other professionals know that you take your business seriously. You’re also letting other professionals know that you want them to take YOU seriously! Not only are all these important silent communications happening, but you’re also the beneficiary of certain perks that come with the club house key. You can gain access to discounts, conferences (hey, mentioned above!), literature and journal subscriptions (we’re about to get to that!), as well as private, online discussion groups where you’re more likely to meet top pros than trolls. So, what are you waiting for? Join the club! Membership dues are usually relatively cheap, especially when you save up throughout the year for your annual fee.
(Not this kind of club, sugar.)
If you take our advice about taking on a membership, you’ll more than likely be subscribed to that organization’s newsletter. If you really want to learn, however, this is not enough. Make it your goal to get your hands on as much literature regarding your industry as you possibly can. Take the attitude that you simply can not know enough. With a monthly subscription to a journal or magazine, you’ll have knowledge arriving to you in your mailbox. What more could you ask for? As with all our other tips, this is also a way to not just get information, but to get the most up to date information. In this way, you’ll have a bit of an advantage over others with a formal education. Those who achieve degrees tend to think they’ve learned all they can – they have proof on their wall, after all. But the real movers and shakers in every industry continue to learn, by any means possible. While subscriptions do come with a cost, the cost usually very little when compared to the amount of information you’ll be getting. And you’d be surprised how many interests and industries have magazines devoted to them.
(Reading dad jokes.)
Most of All, Know Where To Go
Of all these tips, the common theme is knowing where to go – what mentor, what organization, what conference. And you need to know where to go for your payroll service. Luckily, that’s the easiest tip of all! PayWow is the payroll service for you! How do we know? Well, we know payroll, and we know how to get it done without charging you an arm and a leg. You can save that money and spend it on membership dues, or your next trip to a conference! (Hopefully, in the Bahamas, right?) Head on over to PayWow, and see what special benefits we have in store for you – at prices that will knock your socks off!
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