For all the intrepid entrepreneurs of the 21st century, learning is a continual process that certainly doesn’t stop with traditional schooling. Many even forgo going to university altogether as studies show a staggering 47 percent of business owners do not have a college degree, yet plenty succeed regardless. There are certainly new means to educate yourself and the world simply moves too fast these days to coast on current knowledge for long. To survive in business means you are constantly adapting strategies to capitalize on the trends of today.
Some would say that lifelong learning is a fundamental aspect of successful entrepreneurship, making the mindset a requirement more than a recommendation. Whatever the case, there’s little debate that most successful entrepreneurs these days have found a form of education that suits their learning style and expands their abilities.
Learning unlocks skills and mastery that can set a business apart from its competitors, and there’s nothing else in the world that can replace its function. As with any endeavor, there are tips and tricks which can help guide us along our way.
1. Merge Passion With Programs
An easy way to make learning a lifelong habit is to make it enjoyable for yourself. By taking your enthusiasm into a structured educational program, you give yourself an invaluable tool to increase your knowledge base. Having the experts in the field shed some light on your path can make a massive difference in a business where even the smallest decision can have significant long-term effects for your company.
There are countless options these days when it comes to education, and remote learning has certainly risen in popularity in recent years as it is both accessible and effective. Without being restricted to what’s geographically near, you can then search more broadly to find a program that feels right.
“I always advise people to take the time to research and find a program which truly resonates with them,” says Steve Gross, CMO of the University of Phoenix. “As then you have intrinsic motivation fueling your effort. Learning can come about in all kinds of forms, but completing a program built around your passions gives you a solid base of knowledge. From there you can branch out in more specific directions based on your overall goals, but in my experience, the first step is to find a program which fosters and facilitates your passion while giving you an intellectual foothold.”
Once you have the tools together, then it’s just a matter of staying diligent and dedicated to the process.
2. Stay Accountable
In the middle of the learning process, engagement often starts to fall and this is precisely where accountability comes into play. Learning can be both satisfying and frustrating all in the same day, but try to keep an even keel and stick to the plan as much as possible.
“For disciplined people, the time is now,” explains Sherrie Campbell, author and psychologist. “They can take advantage of a busy schedule by getting their urgent tasks done first which allows them to carve out time for themselves, their family, and other personal life necessities that refuel them–such as travel.”
By coming up with an organizational system of tasks, entrepreneurs use their time far more efficiently. This frees up mental bandwidth for other tasks, including the often-overlooked celebration of accomplishments.
Owning a business means accountability in so many forms, but it’s important to set a tone and schedule which functions fluidly with the rest of your life. To make learning last, there certainly needs to be a system, but creating one that celebrates as well as reminds us a key difference-maker for longevity in a program.
3. Foster Curiosity
The best way to stay engaged with education is to feed your natural sense of curiosity and always be on the lookout for atypical means to educate yourself.
There’s never been more information at our fingertips, today the struggle is finding the right means and motivation to access it all. By not getting frustrated but engaged with obstacles in business, entrepreneurs find yet another source of growth.
“Entrepreneurs need to be curious to be fully engaged with the world around them,” says Chandra Flarke, founder and president of Scribendi. “When things aren’t working as well as they could be, entrepreneurs must gain an understanding of how things work and come up with solutions. Finding these solutions requires curiosity, which prompts them to study problems from multiple angles and inquire about how to get better results.”
Curiosity can spark passion, which with the right time and attention becomes knowledge. The whole system ideally functions as a self-renewing process, and it’s important to take the time to give each step the time and energy necessary to flourish.
By viewing learning as an exploration and application rather than a burden, we can make healthy mental habits that last for life. With this mindset of continual improvement, entrepreneurs push themselves to become better informed and better equipped to deal with the business world.