on learning, and teaching...

back when i was a school teacher, our district used to put on a huge two day teacher's convention every year. it was mandatory for teachers to attend (schools were closed for those two days) and it was for all teachers, all grades, all subjects with a variety of key note speakers as well as smaller subject or grade specific sessions.

i remember many teachers would show up, be seen by their bosses, and then take off for the rest of the day. not me. i loved teacher convention. i loved being inspired by amazing teachers, i loved meeting new people and reconnecting with old friends, i loved walking away with a brain full of ideas.

last week i went to the problogger event in melbourne along with 300 other business bloggers, and it was very much the same feeling. new ideas. so much inspiration. meeting awesome people. and though the introverted part of me always feels anxious before an event like that (gah! i won't know anyone. i won't have anyone to sit beside. i won't have anyone to talk too….) as soon as i get there, the teacher/student side of me LOVES it.

and that is the thing, aren't we all students of our craft? aren’t we all students of business?

no matter what product or service you sell i would bet there are goals you have to gain more expertise, further qualifications, additional skills… and i would also bet that there are areas of business that you need to learn more about or get better at.

we are all students.

back when i was a school teacher we used to create individual learning plans for our students – based on their strengths and weaknesses, the way they learn best and any gaps in their knowledge.

i believe that we need to create individual learning plans for ourselves, as business owners. 

  • start with your goals and work backwards… what are the gaps in your knowledge? what skills do you need to acquire? what training do you need? 
  • then consider your own strengths/weaknesses/constraints… do you learn best one:one? in a group setting? do you need something with a timeline or something more flexible? do you prefer to DIY? 

work out what you need to learn. work out how you would like to learn it. and start adding your individual learning plan to your business plan for the coming year.

this might seem like really obvious advice, but there are two things i often see from little biz builders:

1. we mean to learn something, to tackle a project or topic and get better at it doing it for our business… but then we get too busy doing the actual work of our business and never seem to get around to making time for learning new things

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2. we perpetually sign up for courses, buy ebooks, attend webinars etc. all in the name of learning and improvement… but do so to the point that we avoid implementing what we learn and taking a leap with our business.

when we create a learning plan as part of our business plan we are much more likely to make the time for learning (we won’t waste time or dollars), and we actually follow through on the implementation of what we learn (we don’t just jump from one course to another). 

we are also teachers

as much as i believe we are all students i also believe we can all add value to this world by being teachers. if you can add teaching to your business plan you can grow your business in brand new ways, and meet the needs of even more of your right people. 

if you have a service business it may be more obvious how you could begin to teach your skills and expertise to others. but even if you sell a product, try breaking it down to the skills and expertise that go into sourcing or making your product. or look at complementary skills & expertise that would help your customers.

be brave. be bold. and do not assume “i can’t teach. i am not a teacher.” your right people are looking to you for help. they love what you do. just ask them – what would they absolutely love to learn from you? i bet you already do teach in someway - via your blog or newsletter or social media or even live interactions with your customers - when we help people we teach.

we are all students. we are all teachers.

my goal for the remainder of this year and for the next, is to add more teaching to my business plan. i know there are some people who don’t learn well DIY style from my workbooks, and i also know that one-on-one sessions or services are not for everyone either. workshops will allow me to help more people in new ways, and i am super excited about that!

you can help me out by commenting – what is one thing you would really like to learn for your business?