A lot of online entrepreneurs will reluctantly admit that, while they see the value of professional development, they haven’t significantly invested in themselves and their employees.
You know that every dollar invested in your online business can return tenfold, but every dollar invested in your professional development goes directly into your business. If you haven’t been convinced that continued professional development could be beneficial to your online business success, consider these facts.
No One Was Born an Entrepreneur – It Has to Be Learned
This simple truth has to be reiterated over and over again – the service you’re offering is only one part of owning your own online business. Being an online entrepreneur involves wearing many hats, sometimes on a daily basis, even after you’ve hired employees to help you.
Marketing your business on various social media platforms, managing the flow of money, and looking for opportunities to grow is also a part of your job. No matter how much time you’ve spent wearing these hats so far, there’s always something new to learn. Even if you rate your knowledge as sufficient, you can always find ways to optimize different parts of your process.
You Have to Grow Along with Your Business
Part of the reason why we start businesses is that we want to opt-out of the daily grind. Doing the same things over and over again without any opportunities to learn something new is probably a form of hell for any business owner. However, if you don’t take advantage of various opportunities for professional development, it could soon become your reality.
Your business cannot grow faster than you. Whether you want to shift gears a little, transition into coaching others, or add a new service or skill to your arsenal, it will require a lot of learning. Without this necessary step, you may be stuck doing the same job for a long time and not seeing any progress.
Online Spaces Are Changing Every Day
Online platforms rise and fall, and new social networks are being developed every day. You don’t have to be prescient and anticipate these changes before they happen. You don’t need to expand your business on every available corner of the internet if you don’t think that’s a good use of your time. But you might recognize that it’s not good if your business success depends on one particular platform. If your business success depends on that platform in its current state, this is almost a guarantee of failure. There are only three certainties in life: death, taxes, and Facebook changing its algorithm yet again.
Maybe the extent of your professional development as an online business owner right now is to read about the changes that are about to be introduced to the social networks you use. Going a step further would be to select one additional platform and learn how to promote your business there. Learning how to develop your own website that rises through the ranks of different search engines would make you less dependent on these platforms altogether.
You Don’t Have to Go to Business School to Develop Your Skills
If you’re reading this and imagining you’ll have to get an MBA or apply for classes at your local college, fear not! The online learning industry has grown exponentially in recent years, and whatever your needs are, there’s probably a course for that. MOOCs (massive online open courses) have been very popular because most of them only require an investment of time, not money. Taking an online class through one of the many platforms that offer them is like being in a classroom with thousands of people from all across the globe.
Strapped for time? Reading used to take up a lot of time, but with blogs such as this one, you can quickly brush up on any topic and gain knowledge and inspiration in bite-sized chunks. If you’d still prefer to read books, but don’t have the time, you can access many books in audio form. Gaining insight from business professionals and inspiration from fellow business owners is now as simple as playing an audio file while you’re driving, or cleaning your house.
There’s No Need to Do This Alone – Get a Mentor!
The option of getting a mentor is often glossed over when it comes to professional development for entrepreneurs. We think of ourselves as visionaries, boldly going where no one has gone before. But there are many people who have stood where you stand today, and getting their advice is invaluable. We have exalted being mentored as a learning technique before on this blog, but it’s worth repeating that a good mentor is worth their weight in gold.
Besides providing advice, a mentor can also offer perspective, fill you in on what’s important and what isn’t, and teach skills they have acquired over years of experience. One value that mentors provide that cannot be gained any other way is access to their professional network. Networking is one of the keys to business success, and if you have selected a successful mentor, the world is your oyster!
Professional Development Can Help You Grow Your Business
We think of professional development as something that can increase the value of your business over time, as you apply your knowledge in new situations. However, sometimes, the process of professional development comes with the added benefit of promoting your business in real-time, too!
Communication is one of the soft skills you can work on to become a more successful business owner. One of the best ways to improve your communication skills is to become a better public speaker. When you learn how to ace a public speaking engagement by getting out there and actually doing it, you’re promoting your business at the same time!
Online business success will not come on its own – it requires a lot of trial and error, and a lot of learning, as well. Professional development is one of the key things you might invest in as an online business entrepreneur.
We created a 10-week course for entrepreneurs who are in the process of building their online business. Get early access here!