Welcome to Spark Bits Weekly where I ask a panel of homeprenuers a blazing question about running and growing their businesses from home.
Today’s Q is:
What have you learned recently that has helped you in your business and what are some tips you can offer for learning something quickly?
Stephanie Watson from Barry Publishing says:
My business has recently grown by four new clients in a very short period of time. Normally, I obtain one new client every couple of months, but about three weeks ago I suddenly acquired four new clients over night. I’m super happy about this, but every time I start with a new client I am a little bit nervous, especially when I agree to use their project management system instead of my own. Yea, I know — as business owners we should use our own system — well, sorry it doesn’t always work that way. Sometimes, if you want to grow you have to leave your comfort zone and use someone else’s system, which requires learning.
Here are my tricks and tips for learning things as fast as possible.
1) Don’t Be Afraid to Ask Questions
It doesn’t matter how dumb you think your question is (or even if the client thinks it’s dumb) if you have a question you should ask. This is the only way you’re going to ensure that you really do understand your client and the only way you’re really going to be able to provide the deliverables your client needs. Even if you get the answer back and suddenly the answer is obvious, it’s OK to ask questions. There truly are no dumb questions.
2) Get Plenty of Exercise
As a service provider I tend to sit down a lot. Over the years this has caused me to get what Nicole Dean refers to as “Computer Butt”. But, lack of movement is also associated with less blood flow, which is associated with brain fog, which is associated with not being able to learn new things as fast. If you find you’re having trouble learning something new, go for a brisk 10-minute walk then come back to it. You might find that on your walk you realized the solution, or you might find that you’re better able to concentrate after exercise.
3) Eat Right
It’s very important that when you are trying to learn new things that you remember to eat right. For some people this might mean something different, for me it means eating a plant based diet. For about 18 months I’ve eaten a plant-based diet along with my husband with some amazing results, which aren’t all physical. Both of us report better mental clarity and the ability to learn faster.
4) Get Enough Sleep
That’s right, sleep is necessary for proper brain function. Yes, when you were in college or high school you had the ability to live off four hours of sleep, but you’re not that young anymore. Now you need to sleep. But everyone is different. For me, I need six hours of sleep per night. Some people need more or less. It’s up to you to determine what that need is by practicing different levels of sleep until you find out what is optimum for you.
5) Enjoy Your Life
Work is always going to be there. It’s important that you find some sort of way to enjoy both. I hate to use the word balance or even juggling. Every juggler drops the ball at least once, and every person who tries to balance will fall down. The best thing to do is schedule in your breaks with your family, and fun time with friends, as well as work times. Then rearrange as needed when it’s important to do so. That’s why working at home is so awesome. Take advantage of that awesomeness.
So, I’m in the middle of learning two new project management systems, and four new clients’ personalities and ways of doing things. I’m taking all my own advice above, because if I don’t it just won’t work out. I really want it to work out.
Brenda Trott from Done4UMedia Marketing says:
The biggest thing I have learned in my business is to treat myself as my best customer. As a marketer, I know all the right steps to take to make sure I get found, but I often put them aside to work on someone else’s business. Once someone brought that to my attention, life changed a bit. I started doing things for my business FIRST as though I was my highest paying customer, and then I was able to help even more people because they could find me!
I’m a life long learner so I’m always finding something new to learn. If I need to learn something quickly, I might refer to YouTube, but I’m at a point in my business where time is money so I’d rather outsource things I don’t know how to do to someone else.
Reba Collins from PLR One Stop says:
Recently I wanted to learn how to run a solo ad to help build my mailing list. It seemed like it should be so simple but I didn’t know the first thing about it. I started doing some research and the more I read about it the more I realized I didn’t know. So then I looked in a membership site to which I belong to see if there were any resources there. There was but again, it was incomplete. I then looked for an inexpensive paid resource, found it, and again, incomplete. All this time it wasn’t like I didn’t learn anything, in fact I learned everything I needed to know with exception of one facet of the process. It wasn’t covered anywhere.
Then, someone in a one of the Facebook groups was giving away some reports and one was about solo ads. I picked it up and again; the part of the process I was looking for was not covered. That’s when I decided to go to the source. In the Facebook group I posted a question for the author of the report asking specifically for what I needed to know. He answered in less than an hour with everything I needed.
Learning how to run a solo ad may prove to be very beneficial to building my list, I will know soon as I just ordered an ad.
My tip for learning something quickly is, if you still have questions after reading someone’s information product, just ask them. Most authors are teachers too, and once they realize they left out something or didn’t explain something clearly, they are more than happy to help. I do want to caution here however, don’t expect people who teach to do the work for you or teach you everything they know when you haven’t even purchased their product. They earn a living with their knowledge and experience and you need to respect that.
Helena Bowers from Your Message Amplified says:
I have learned that it’s okay to ask for help and that I don’t have to do everything myself. That may seem weird since my own business depends on people asking me for help, but it has been a really hard one for me to learn when it comes to letting go of complete control over my own work.
My best tips for learning something quickly are to know your learning style, and then make use of all the amazing resources available online. You can save yourself a lot of time and frustration if you take the time to figure out how you learn best.
For example, if you know you learn best by watching a demonstration, search YouTube for how-to videos showing step-by-step what you want to learn. If you know you learn better by listening then find an audio version such as a podcast or webinar recording and listen to those.
Finally, if you really need to learn something quickly and you can’t find the resources you need, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Reach out to your social media connections or the people on your email list and tell them what you need to learn and ask for recommendations. You have a wealth of information at your fingertips; so don’t be afraid to make use of it to expand your own knowledge base.
When thinking about the learning curve required for starting and growing a business it is imperative for entrepreneurs to learn quickly. Things move fast in the entrepreneurial space and are also in constant flux with the introduction of new tools and methods of doing things. You have to be able to integrate the new information you are taking in so that you can develop new skills and have the ability to apply them successfully.
As I positioned the question for the Sparkplugging panel, I reflected on my own business growth. Of the many things I’ve learned, two things stand out for me. One, my ability to become less fixated on perfecting something (read more about it here) and focusing on establishing a minimum viable product (MVP). The point is to get something rolling and then fine tune as you progress.
Second and most recently, I’ve learned to develop the skill of quick reading. A skill that does me good because I absorb information best when I read and write – a point about learning styles reflected by one of our Sparkplugging advisors.
Consider these two tips for entrepreneurial learning through speed-reading:
- Use a finger (pen, pencil) as a pacer to run through the text as you are reading each line. It is proven to increase focus and speed. Plus, don’t read aloud when you are reading to yourself. Your brain has the ability to work faster than the rate of your speech.
- Get clear about your objective for learning something. When you decide to read lets say a book, ask yourself what it is you want to get out of it before you go through the material. Your brain modulates what it takes in through the Reticular Activating System (RAC) and filters out what you don’t need so that it can focus on finding the answer you are looking for. This also helps you speed things up so that you can take in more in less time.
I tend to make sense of things through science and psychology so you’ll notice the influence of those in my writing. I agree exponentially on taking care of yourself through diet, sleep and exercise as described by one of our advisors. Perhaps it’s because I’m a nurse and a therapist who happens to be passionate about business. These tend to be “soft” subjects in the world of business but I firmly believe in dissecting those topics because success is a combination of all parts of you (external and internal) working together.
It is important to not only optimize your business but also the person behind it. Therefore, developing the skill to learn quickly falls in that category and it will ultimately result in bigger wins for your business.