There may be affiliate links included in this post, which means I may receive a commission if you click on something and then make a purchase. I only ever link to things I use/love/trust because I'm not a dick. And rest assured, as a Gemini Sun/Aries Moon I have zero patience for fluff. I will only ever share things that are worth your time!

One of my very, very favourite things about running my own business is that my future is in my hands.

That means that what I do, what I learn and what I become is all down to me.

For anyone who started out in the corporate world, I’m sure you can remember the days where you had to jump through all kinds of flaming hoops to develop in any way. Wanting to learn or build on a skill involved 1:1s with a manager, conference calls with HR, contracts, pay cuts, strops and more. Going from that world of restriction to this world of pure possibility is amazing… but it can also be overwhelming.

I know so many people who have used the desire to do (and learn) bigger, better things as an excuse to invest in ALL OF THE COURSES. And we all know there’s an endless supply out there…

As fun as it might be to feel like you’re acquiring all these skills to set you up for success, are you actually getting the results you were after, or is the only impact a slightly lacklustre bank balance?

I want to challenge you to be a bit more discerning with your investments. By all means, keep highlighting and working on your knowledge gaps, just don’t make your first step a super expensive e-course. Try these instead:

Read books.

Around August of last year, I committed to a new habit – to read one chapter of a business or personal development book every day and then implement that lesson.

The implementation aspect is the important part here, this is not about absorbing information for the sake of it.

I’m a big fan of books, as you probably already know. If you follow my example, you might just spend the same amount of money as you would have on that big course you had your eye on… but there are certainly more cost-effective options. Visit your local library. Download the library app. Most libraries now offer the choice of borrowing ebooks through their app, which is a game-changer. Say a permanent goodbye to overdue fees! Oh, and speaking of ebooks, the Kindle store is a great place to pick up a bargain.

Listen to books.

If you’re on your feet a lot of the time, you may not get much chance to sit back and read a book. If that sounds like you, maybe audiobooks are the way to go.

The Audible app is one of my absolute faves. There’s such a great selection of audiobooks out there… and if you’re an impatient sort, you’ve got the option of listening at double speed. I like to listen to something from my audio library whenever I’m doing monotonous tasks – things like updating spreadsheets, batch creating graphics on Canva, filing emails, etc, etc.

Plug into podcasts.

If the thought of auditory learning appeals to you, but you fancy something more succinct than a whole book on the topic, podcasts could be the perfect fit. There is literally an endless supply of podcasts out there on every topic imaginable. You can get long ones, short ones, interviews, panel-hosted, workshop-style… just dip in for a little bit of what you fancy.

Apple guys, head to the iTunes store. Android users, download the Pocket Casts app for access to anything in the iTunes catalogue.

A few of my go-tos are:

Download Blinkist.

Do you want to know the problem with 90% of the business/personal development books out there? They’re way overwritten. Full of fluff. Too many words. Blinkist is your answer to all of that.

Blinkist is a FREE app that offers you a FREE and condensed version of a non-fiction book each day. In other words, someone else reads the damn thing and pulls out all the key takeaway for you. At no cost. What’s not to love?!

Follow blogs.

There are a few areas of my business that I’ve needed a lot of help with at various times. Because I know what I tend to struggle with, I’ve rounded up a list of people who really excel at those same things. That way, when I have a specific problem, I know exactly where to go.

If you want a bit of inspiration to jumpstart your own list of internet “gurus”, check out my little stash of digital entrepreneurs *seriously* worth a follow.

Head to Youtube.

It’s just a thing you do nowadays. If you want to learn how to do something, you search for it on Youtube… whether that’s me trying to figure out a RIDICULOUS new piece of software or my grandad learning how to make his own cajon drums (true story).

(Shameless plug alert – find me on Youtube here.)

Implement all the freebies.

If you take a moment to dig through your downloads folder, I’m betting you have a near-on endless supply of:

  • templates
  • toolkits
  • PDF guides
  • checklists
  • masterclasses
  • workbooks
  • etc, etc, etc

So USE them. Set some time aside to go through these and either do something with them or hit delete.

Look for an actual human.

Sometimes, if you need support with something specific, finding a real live person to help you out is the best way to fo.

This might be a biz buddy who could offer some regular accountability. This might be a coach who will work with you more intensively. This might be a few peeps from your favourite Facebook group, happy to offer a bit of advice.

That human element can be invaluable when you work in isolation.

Just do a course.

I know, I know.  The whole point if this post was to highlight learning opportunities that aren’t just another e-course… but if you go in with the right attitude you can get great results from any online learning experience.

  1. Start by identifying your skills gap.
  2. Find ONE expert who really resonates with you (and whose process is proven, because you’ve seen results from their free content already).
  3. Buy their thing.
  4. Show up MADLY. Implement everything, even if it feels weird. Take advantage of every opportunity to learn from that instructor. Get as much out of the training as you can. Simple as.

Over to you – what’s your favourite way to slay new skills?