It’s that time of year, your social media channels have been filling-up with photos from proud parents of their kids in their new school uniforms, because the summer is over and they’ve gone back to school.
Which means it’s the perfect time for you to think about doing the same. What are the benefits of training for solopreneurs? Is it worth the time that it will take away from your business?
Being a solopreneur means you are the CEO: Chief Everything Officer. You are your business, it thrives on your drive and your ambition. But your inspiration and enthusiasm is a finite resource. Everyone needs their tank filling up from time to time - and training is a great way for you to refuel your solo business.
Also, if you ever want your business to grow beyond you, maybe playtime is over and it’s time to study your options, if you want your business to continue to make the grade.
Training: why do it?
Once you don’t have to go to school, any education and training you undertake has to be for you! You may work in one of those professions that requires qualifications, but you’ll have taken those qualifications because you’re interested in your subject and want to continue in it.
Make progress: Other types of training might allow you to progress further in your business - to develop additional skills - which means your business can go on to offer a wider-range of services or more in-depth services.
Keep your edge: Another business benefit can be updating. Businesses evolve. If your business doesn’t, there’s a danger it could stagnate, so you need to be aware of this. There might be some new technique, for example, or some new machinery being employed in your market sector which requires some upskilling on your part. In this case, keeping your competitive edge means you will need to make the time to do the training.
Inspiration: Plus, there’s no getting away from the fact that learning new things is inspiring! If you love what you do, then doing more of it, or doing it better, is going to be really exciting for you. Learning best practice from masters of their art is as inspiring as it is educational. Also, you never know, if you become one of the greats at what you do, one day you might find that it’s you passing on your wisdom to inspire others!
Make more money: From a more pragmatic perspective: the more services you can offer and the greater your skillset - the wider your potential customer base is and the more you can potentially charge!
Ultimately, if training will make you better at what you do, or give your business a commercial edge, or open up new prospects for you, then the time and effort you put in is an investment in your business - which means an investment in yourself!
So, if you’ve decided that it is training time - how do you go about it?
As with anything that involves developing your business - you’ll want to do some research to check out the best option for your needs.
Training: in a classroom
If your local college offers courses that are relevant to you, then you’ll want to check them out.
- The courses should be validated by a legitimate awarding body.
- College courses should be taught by qualified teachers who should also have some real-world experience in a relevant professional field.
- A college can offer valuable resources - such as workshops, up-to-date equipment and libraries, as well as the expertise of the staff.
- Validated college courses can be costly.
- If you’re learning in a classroom - you’re learning to their timetable, not yours.
- College courses can require a commitment of months, or even years.
Alternatively, if you don’t want or need to commit to a bricks-and-mortar college, you can always benefit from a wide range of e-learning options.
There have never been more online training options, many of which are run by large, reputable companies, and some even by world-leading colleges and universities.
- You can choose from a world-wide curriculum of courses, not just the ones which are available in your area.
- You can set your own timetable and work when it suits you and at a pace that suits you.
- The flexibility and accessibility of e-courses means you can work wherever you are with whatever equipment you have to hand - on a laptop, on a tablet, in your workshop, or on a train. Training on the train, what’s not to love!
- Do your due diligence, make sure that the person or company offering the training has the right credentials.
- Legislation and the law are always changing, so you need to make sure that the advice you are being given is reliable and up-to-date.
- You’ll get less one-to-one tuition, less on-the-spot support from your tutor.
- Requires more self-discipline and self-motivation, since no-one is breathing down your neck.
Training: finding the time
Since you are your business’ most valuable asset, how do you find the time to down tools and do some training?
It’s not going to be easy, but there are a few decisions you can make which will help - and which will benefit your business long term, too.
- Prioritise. Make sure that your time is spent bringing the most money into the business - so send off those invoices, complete those big-ticket jobs. These are short-term priorities. For longer term - don’t neglect your marketing - that’s money in the bank in the future.
- Use apps. We’ve written recently about the value of productivity apps, as well as an in-depth guide to apps that can help you orchestrate every part of your business - from your social marketing to your communications to your accounts. Employing these tools can help you keep hold of the reins of your business - even from a classroom.
- Delegate. Presumably you’re training so that your business can become bigger and better. An important part of scaling your business is taking on other staff and delegating to them!
Now you’ve been schooled about training, you’ll hopefully see it as a chance to lift your business up into a class of its own.
So, carpe diem … seize the fish!