Welcome to 2015. Every freelancer, their dog, neighbour across the road and guy who delivers toilet paper (go who gives a crap!) has a great idea for a business workshop.
As the individual who is investing your hard earned cash into your education (not to mention the time taken away from your business), how do you know you should choose one business workshop over another?
Well, you don’t. Until you get there most likely. Not 100% anyway.
But here are some of the things you should look out for when deciding on the right workshop for you that will help guide you towards the right educational opportunities.
I don’t know many universities or “on the job” training places that require you to bring your swim-wear, allocate time for cocktail drinking, or fly overseas to graduate by walking on hot coals. They also don’t offer show bags or have a ‘selfie with your teacher’ backdrop set up.
No. You pack your favourite pens and pencils, and bring a notepad along with your motivation. You spend time learning things you can apply to your career. In short, you get your nerd on.
So why should business workshops and courses be any different?
The courses you choose should be about gaining knowledge you can use afterwards. It needs to be practical so that the knowledge you acquire works weeks and months after the course has finished. It’s not about popularity.
Yes, there is an audible, sharp intake of breath when you read this line, but it’s true. What someone who went to the course who was happy with it has to say about it means nothing in reality.
Here are the realities of testimonials:
Besides, what suits someone may not suit you. After all, I might love the local steakhouse enough to write a review. Doesn’t mean my vegan sister will enjoy it.
Testimonials are (unfortunately) useless in most situations. So ignore them.
Do you know the second scariest trend I have seen in business (the first being people not paying themselves)? Spending money you don’t have on courses, conferences and business workshops.
If your life partner or parents are funding your business and that includes buying courses and conferences, please STEP AWAY FROM THE CREDIT CARD.
That is not business. It’s a little girl pretending she is in business.
Smart business is working out when you have a return on investment. It means being able to make money and re-invest profit. You cannot re-invest profit if you are not making any.
Business spending is no different to luxury spending. But this is the problem. The very same people who wouldn’t spend $2K on a wardrobe of the latest fashion when they have no money are the people who are spending money on the latest fashionable course. And it has to stop because it never leads anywhere productive.
If you aren’t paying yourself a wage and you have no idea of where your revenue is going to come from, spending money you do not have will not fix this situation.
If that means buying a $10 kindle version of a book instead of a 2 day B School conference, you are already 10 times better at business than the person who opts for the latter.
Make it your business to ONLY spend profit on education. If you can’t afford it with your own money, it isn’t the workshop for you.
Do yourself a favour. Write down the top 5 challenges you are facing business wise. Next to them, write the possible remedies from a small and large perspective.
Take those remedies and look at the pros and cons associated with each one. Write them down, too.
Then consult your bank account and see how much money you have to spend on the options available.
Factor this in, and build yourself a remedy and self education plan that takes into account the skills you need to overcome your most pressing problems.
Always make an informed decision. And don’t be blind-sided by your favourite business inspiration coming to town, or what the girls at the business catch up you belong to think.
Only YOU know what your challenges are and what remedies you can employ to succeed. And these will be the decent business workshops, what books to buy, blogs to read, courses to undertake and investments in higher learning that you need to make.
And if you are feeling stressed, overwhelmed and/or looking at ways to improve your productivity, I hope you consider Brook and I for Self-Care for the Self-Employed.
But only if you’re paying yourself. Always only if you are paying yourself.
Tags: business, motivation, problem solving, work, workshops
After growing up in a dusty farming district where happy moments were few and far between, Rebekah packed a bunch of books and headed off in pursuit of education, the sea and a sense of anonymity that simply can’t be found in a town of 200.
Keenly aware she was an outsider, Rebekah attempted to discover happiness via five universities, island living, and all the wrong kind of activities before she triumphantly discovered she was potentially the happiest marketing nerd alive.
Rebekah has carved out a career through connecting people. She spent over seven years working in the dating industry, has worked agency-side in the tough Asian advertising world, and now freelances in marketing and content creation for community, social enterprise and startup ideas.
When she isn’t listening to prog and post rock as it pours out of her partner’s guitar, she’s connecting women as the Head of Disruption for Discordia Zine, marketing and writing as Unashamedly Creative, advocating for freelancer happiness via the Freelance Jungle, or being reminded that life is random, creative and silly by her Labrador, Gibson.
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