The rate of development and competition is increasing exponentially. For you, this means that it’s vital to ensure ongoing learning opportunities to remain relevant, knowledgable and at the top of your game. For freelancers in particular, the responsibility to do this lies solely with you. Unless your chosen field explicitly requires selected post-graduate education, there are plenty of economical and time-efficient ways to keep learning and upskilling as you grow your business and client base.
1) Sign up to online learning sites
You can learn about almost anything online, and many excellent courses are either free or have minimal costs associated with them. Check out Coursera, edX, Udemy, Skillshare and Khan Academy. Some of these sites have classes by top universities, with optional add-ons available on some topics for certification.
2) Attend networking events with featured speakers
Search on Eventbrite for events in your industry taking place where you live. Be on the alert to industry-specific events run by industry bodies and associations, explore the classes and workshops at General Assembly, and keep an eye on upcoming events run by co-working spaces. They have entrepreneurial, ambitious speakers who share top knowledge, and are attended by people who could be your next business partner or client.
3) Limit your e-newsletter subscriptions
Email marketing has reached extreme levels of frequency. In an endeavour to avoid missing out on useful information, we can find that our inboxes become inundated with newsletters that we often don’t even get around to reading. Limit direct e-newsletters to a small selection of those that are most relevant to you, use Unroll. Me to roll others into one daily email and unsubscribe from any you don’t need to see anymore. This way you’ll be able to focus on the information that matters, and not feel overwhelmed with a cluttered inbox.
4) Subscribe to Quora
The answers to questions on Quora are submitted by knowledgeable, articulate subject-matter experts. Follow questions, topics and members who are thought leaders in fields that are of interest to you, and you’ll be exposed to snippets of very useful information.
5) Connect with colleagues
The proverb “two heads are better than one” rings true - joint thinking truly pays off. Whether you’re faced with a specific challenge or just want to discuss your industry from a broad perspective, organising regular catch ups with friends and colleagues in your industry (or a similar industry) is a great way to learn from each other as well as investigate possible collaboration opportunities. There’s one final tip I want to share….and that is to READ. Read everything from fiction to nonfiction, from biographies to science. Take this broad perspective on how you approach other education prospects. Quite often, you’ll learn the most from speakers and industries that you least expected to gain useful insights from, so it pays to be open-minded to maximise your continued learning opportunities.
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