It’s just as important to keep your skills current in the WAH environment, as it is in a job outside of the home. Finding ways to keep your skill-set fresh or learning new skills can be a challenge. Here, these experts give us their tips on how they keep up with new trends and keep their skills polished!
Paige Arnof-Fenn, says learning new skills or freshening up older ones is easy as long as you get out there and socialize!
Website: Mavens & Moguls
Attend a few top conferences in your field every year to stay on top of the latest & greatest, ask colleagues for advice on best ones, look online or in trade journals
Join industry networking groups and go to the events they host with interesting speakers and content, check out their webinars and podcasts, sign up for their newsletter and attend their events
Subscribe to a few industry trade magazines, join their newsletter lists and follow thought leaders in your field
Victoria Heckstall focuses on making her skill-set work for her. Improving her marketability is her number 1 priority!
Website: Unique Words & Giveaways 4 Mom
“The best way to keep your skills fresh when you work from home is to take courses to either refresh your skills or learn entirely new ones that can increase your rates. I personally like to take 1-2 courses per year to make sure I’m up to date with the latest tactics and to ensure that the skills I don’t use on a consistent basis don’t get rusty.”
Mark Anthony Dyson, says a great way to learn is to ask questions and try new things!
Website: The Voice of Job Seekers
- Volunteer- Volunteering is a great way to hone current skills, give experience on new skills, and build brand awareness around those skills. It’s also a great way to learn and polish those skills in an environment you have a passion for and mistakes are more than OK.
- Feedback- Social media and blogging (depending on the skill) are ways to take people on the journey and network as a channel for feedback. You’ll find people who are succeeding in using the skill and compare notes. People who are polished at times will reach out to you to help. In addition, as you teach what you know brings people who want to learn from you. There is a great quote from Maya Angelou, “When you learn, teach, when you get, give.”
Serena Holmes, says looking for new opportunities to expand your skills can be a cooperative effort!
Website: Tigris Events Inc
- Seek out opportunities to grow your knowledge and skills. Even though you may have several years of experience, there is always something more that you can learn. Read books, attend networking events and reach out to people you admire for advice.
- Surround yourself with those who have skills that you do not have. Recognize that each employee has unique skills to bring to the table. Trusting them to work autonomously gives you the opportunity to see these skills and learn from them.
- Find areas in your business where you can free up some time to dedicate to learning new skills. We have outsourced our SEO, which has both helped our business grow and has given me the time to concentrate on growing and learning in other areas.
Keith Baumwald works hard and keeps his mind focused by taking on more work.
Website: leverag Consulting
- Always have a side project where you can immediately apply what you’ve learned – if I read some new tip about SEO, Facebook marketing, Analytics, etc. I always want to have somewhere I can test it out before I forget what I’ve read. Sometimes I have a client that it’s applicable to but when it’s not I’ll try it out on one of my side projects. This not only gives me the opportunity to immediately apply the technique but the act of using it helps me to remember it in the future.
- Read as much as possible – block out at least an hour a day dedicated to just reading either online or offline. If this hour is a part of your schedule it will allow you more time to focus and keep you from trying to multitask at the same time. I find this is the best time for long-form reading (either actual books or articles I’ve saved to Pocket because they were too long to quickly digest).
- Meetups – meetups can often be hit or miss but if you make sure to go to ones where there’s someone presenting you should be able to pick up something new – the important thing is to go in with the mindset that you’ll glean some valuable advice from either the presentations or someone you talk with while you’re there.
Dennis Goedegebuure dives right into a new skill to immerse himself into it.
Website: Fanatics Inc.
- Full deep dive without any distractions in learning a new skill. I learned Spanish by traveling through Mexico by myself and staying with locals who didn’t speak English. This has taught me to fully emerge myself into the new skill I would like to learn. These days, I’m taking a couple of full days off from work to do an online video course of advanced excel training.
- Repetition is the path to mastery of a (new-)skill. By doing a new skill over and over again, you will master the skill.
- Teaching others will keep your skill fresh. I’ve been doing SEO for large companies for over 10 years, but I keep my knowledge and skills fresh by teaching people how to rank their website or blog in Google.
Brian Jensen, suggests reading more and then reading even more.
Website: Congruent Digital
- Subscribe to industry blogs so that I get alerts on major changes as they happen
- On a daily basis, read industry news from thought leaders and experts
- On a weekly basis, listen to podcasts relevant to my industry
- On a daily basis, review social feeds for other relevant industry news
- As needed, I earn certifications for tools we use for client fulfillment
Staying on top of current trends and methods is crucial to success. My ways of keeping informed include many of the ideas above. Mostly, I’m an avid reader. I read blogs, magazines and books regularly. I also will take online courses. One important element of staying on top of what’s going on, is to implement what you learn. It’s one thing to read about it, but you’ll get much more out of it if you use the information.
Leslie Truex is an ideaphoric writer, speaker, entrepreneur, social worker and mom trying to do it all from the comfort of her home. Since 1998, she's been helping others create careers they love by providing work-at-home information and resources through Work-At-Home Success.
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