If any of you reading this are like me - trying to start your business, build an online presence, and fumbling in the dark - this is for you. In fact, considering that we are close to bringing in the New Year, I REALLY hope this jumpstarts your new resolutions for the coming year…I’m pretty much handing you ways to meet your goals, and this is why…
Living in rural is liberating in so many ways (fresh air, lots of space, time to enjoy nature without leaving my backyard, plenty of adventures, and the feeling of being able to do anything I want in business because the slate here is so clean - those are a few examples), but it is also isolating - there aren't people doing what I'm doing, fewer people my age, and less resources for finding mentors in this line of business than there are gas stations (by the way, there is ONE gas station). That's why being truly resourceful, and using top notch tools to learn, grow, and market yourself are important.
Here are three resources I use, and I hope this short list can serve as a launch pad for your future learning and growth.
1) Online Learning Sites
I am a student, first and foremost, and I especially like learning when the classes I’m taking classes ARE FREE. I've basically made a life out of learning on my own time and dime, and mostly it's because I launch myself into situations where it's sink or swim. It's a terribly exciting and addicting habit, but it can backfire, and leave me feeling like I'm always trying to keep my nose above the water. This is where sites like Skillshare come in quite handy.
I love being shown how to do things (roping, accounting, marketing, knot tying, teaching, etc.) because I feel like it gives me at least a basic foundation in the skills I want to acquire and then perfect later – I am definitely a “watch and learn, then do and learn” kind of gal. Skillshare is a website that is dedicated to just that. Their mission is "...to close the professional skills gap and provide universal access to high quality learning. By teaching the skills needed in tomorrow's world, Skillshare empowers creators to do the work they love today." AND…and…you can take so many of their classes for FREE. Seriously!? THIS IS MY DREAM COME TRUE!
On Skillshare, more than 2 million students are taking classes like Become a Better Blogger: Content Planning, Beyond the Logo: Crafting a Brand Identity, the Basics of Photoshop: Fundamentals for Beginners, Going Freelance: Building and Branding your Own Success, and about 13,000 other kinds of classes in culinary arts, film, fashion and even gaming. The options are endless, and I feel like this was made for me. If you are a lifelong learner, waste zero time in signing up, and taking classes through Skillshare to boost your confidence in your work.
2) Free Online Certifications
Do not overlook the power of a certification, ever (unless it’s in Bubble Blowing Safety Protocols for Adults or something…though I don’t know how applicable that might be to your future business pursuits). The most recent certification that I have been working to acquire is through Hubspot – the founders of inbound marketing. They offer a certification in inbound marketing, inbound sales, email marketing, growth-driven design, and content marketing, and the majority of these certifications are free. They are good skills to have in your tool belt for lots and lots of reasons that I won’t dive into here. If you become certified in something that is pertinent to the way people are doing things nowadays (be it mechanic work, marketing and PR or in a field of your choice…barring bubble blowing safety) you will have one more way to show you’re certifiably as good as you say you are.
3) Other Successful People
While I LOVE the internet, and all of the fabulous things it can do for networking, learning, connection and growth, there’s nothing so good as one-on-one conversations with people who have experience in your field, or who otherwise can and will give you advice or a swift kick in the pants. Even if you’re paying for their time, if it’s something that works for you, every penny will pay itself back if you pay attention, take their advice, and find a way to get it to work for you. People I have reached out to for guidance and advice are: Katie Neary Wood at Crowheart Creative and Christopher Gillespie from Find A Way Media. To say my interactions with these two fabulous humans have been instrumental is undermining our conversations…but that’s what they were, instrumental. Find people you can connect with, people who are succeeding in your field, and make them your friends. If you’re scared to reach out, just get over it. Remember, everyone wants friends.
There’s your blazed trail, folks. Now follow it to your rabbit hole and get some sh*t done!
May this New Year be filled with goodness, creativity, connection, productivity and love for all of you, and may you all reap exactly what it is you’re in the process of sowing.
To resolute resourcefulness!