A Healthy Dose of Professional Development

A Healthy Dose of Professional Development

when_you_are_greenThese past two months, we have been busily preparing to launch a new program. It has been an exciting adventure for me because I love to learn. I am always making time to attend conferences, seminars, download special reports, and invest in programs that help me become a better partner, mother, sister, friend, business person and coach. I believe that the better I am, the better I can serve those in my life. 
 
There are four primary areas that we should be focusing on to grow our businesses:
 
–  Serving clients 
–  Marketing 
–  Administration 
–  Professional development.
 
And to have a long term, successful business, we must invest our time in ALL of these areas.  Professional development is NO exception. 
 
When working with my clients, I often notice an imbalance in these four areas. When it comes to the area of professional development, I often see the pendulum swing to one side or the other. One side is business owners spending way too much time, money and resources on getting that “next” credential while neglecting other areas of their business (mostly the marketing area). And the other side of the pendulum is that they completely stop growing all together
 
The competition is fierce and there is always something bigger, better and faster around the next corner; therefore, we must continually be improving our skills in performing our craft and growing our business. In fact, this is one of the greatest investments we can make in our business. 
 
With today’s competitive landscape, our prospects are looking to hire experts in the industry. They want to know that their money is being spent on someone who “specializes” in solving their problems and meeting their needs. It is more important than ever to always be “at the top of our game.” 
 
When we are growing we feel like we are more in the game, we feel more marketable, and that we have more and better ways to serve our clients. 
 
T. Harv Eker, author of the bestselling book, Secrets of the Millionaire Mindencourages that you have a budget for education and that you are regularly involved in some personal or professional growth program. When discussing his money management strategy he suggests:
Put 10% into your EDUC (education) account whenever you receive money, such as your salary. You can use the EDUC funds for your self-education, such as books, seminars and events etc. Everyone needs to learn, especially in this changing world. Grow your comfort zone through learning and doing. If you are not growing, you are dying! Take this quote from Ben Franklin: ‘If you think education is expensive, try ignorance!’
 

Dan Sullivan of the Strategic Coach recommends that you allot time in your schedule for specific activities such as planning, serving clients, and education. It is important that when you are spending time on growing yourself that you do not feel guilty and allow yourself to be distracted by all the other things you should be doing. Instead, think of how you are strengthening yourself and your skills so that you can better serve your clients and grow your business.

I encourage you to make learning a priority in your business. Here are three simple ways you can do that: 

  1. Set a monthly or quarterly budget for your personal and professional development and spend it.
  2. Schedule time into your calendar to learn a new skill or success principle every week.
  3. When you are engaged in an education program – show up 100%. Listen to audio all the way through, attend webinars and focus on what is being taught, read articles and make notes, and implement what you learn. 
It is amazing how we do not even allow ourselves the freedom to read a daily motivator that takes one minute to complete, or to watch a five minute video that will give us a new perspective or teach us a new skill. There seems to be a voice inside of us telling us that it is selfish or unproductive, or that we should be doing something else, when spending time on ourselves and our professional development is exactly what we should be doing. So allow yourself the freedom to learn.
 
When we are growing we feel good. We feel empowered by our newfound knowledge, and we feel more confident. And then, of course, there is the obvious perk–you will have new skills to serve your clients and grow your business.

So next time you are scheduling your time and your budget, be sure to include a healthy dose of professional development. It is good for you and your clients. 

 
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About Online Biz Boomer Babe

Rachel Lavern is a Certified Business Coach and founder of My Booming Online Business--a blog for middle-age, global, uptown women. She is on a mission to transform entrepreneurs' finances by teaching the action set, mindset and skill set needed to get launched + make money.

Comments

  1. Rachel
    That is so true. I work in a technical field that makes constant education a requirement but it also helps you keep fresh and ahead of your competitors who choose to adopt the dinosaur approach and deny change/progress is important
    Lorraine McNulty recently posted…Sunday Snippet: When opportunity knocks – open the door!My Profile

    • I also worked in IT/IS for several years Lorraine.  We had lots of in-house training.  The training was usually not required but one would be foolish not to stay current–especially in a field that rapidly changes.

  2. My good friend Dr. Seuss said “The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” That applies to life and to our businesses. Education, to me, is like a cone in our life… we can ignore learning and head for the dark narrow end of the cone or we can keep learning and reverse the direction: open up our future and our potential and widen the view of what’s ahead!
    Agnes Knowles recently posted…Weekend Wisdom 8My Profile

  3. Excellent advice and so true. Very informative post. Thanks for sharing Rachel.
    Merle Gibbins recently posted…How To Increase Blog TrafficMy Profile

  4. Learning is key to anything in life. We need to keep learning but as you said it needs to be in balance with the rest of your business. Today someone could spend almost every week at a conference or on a online course. I try to allocated 1 or 2 hours a week to learning online and 1 big program per year. I find if I do too much I just get overloaded.
    Heather Cameron recently posted…Choose HappinessMy Profile

  5. Hi Rachel.

    What sound advice! There is a never ending learning curve when it comes to marketing. And marketing on the internet has man choices and is updated all the time.

    For me, I hired a coach to finish my product. Now that’s on the shelf all done with a coach that made me make my deadlines. If it wasn’t for him, I would still be up in the air. But I had paid a pretty penny for him to give me a timeline, report to him every day and have my product finished, reviewed and tweaked.

    As for marketing, this is taking a longer time. Setting up all the nuts and bolts to the product is a technical nightmare for me. So here I go again, hiring someone to do it for me. My membership page is almost working like a dream.

    Then there is the sales funnel, which after beta testing will become an affiliate link. Another coach hired for that one so all will work fine when it’s ready.

    Ahh…the nitty gritty: How to do split tests another thing on the agenda.

    Bottom line is we can be grate marketers but we do need a little help. Yes, money was put aside for this so it won’t take me 3 years for a product which would be outdated by then. It is so important to familiarize oneself with marketing. And when you find yourself at a pitfall, know it will take you forever to learn something, hire someone to do it.

    After all, Everything needs to be in place before even beta testing. So pocket away time and money for any marketing endeavour.

    -Donna
    Donna Merrill recently posted…Do You Blog Strictly Within Your Niche?My Profile

  6. Professional development is especially important, Rachel, if you’re in a position to be teaching things to your clients.

    If you don’t keep up on the latest developments and technology, your advice will appear to be out of date (as it will be). Your entire business model will be compromised by your failure to maintain a brisk level of professional development.

    This is the reason that licensed professionals like doctors, lawyers and teachers, are usually required by their professional societies to maintain a prescribed level of what is known as “continuing education”. While this is not required of entrepreneurs, it is essential to their professional growth and expertise.
    David Merrill 101 recently posted…Sales Funnel Part 2 | Front-End ProductsMy Profile

  7. As an educator we constantly attend professional development. I could not agree more that we must continue to learn and to hone our craft. Well said!

  8. Angie von Scheffelheim
    Twitter:
    :

    When I worked in law as a researcher, the lawyers I worked for insisted that the non-attorney staff attend professional development and continuing education programs. They, too, attended these programs because law is an ever-changing field and they wanted to be on top of things.

    All four of the things you listed are indeed essential to a thriving business (regardless of what that business is) but since I have left law for marketing, professional development seems to be on the back burner when it should be a top priority. Odd how things like that seem to slip under the radar.
    Angie von Scheffelheim recently posted…Why You Should Start Writing for Yourself FirstMy Profile

  9. Lisa Barton :

    Very true Rachel – I’ve only just come to terms with the fact that spending time learning/upskilling/researching is just as valuable as actually producing something – even then though I still only do it when I have a few minutes to fill between other tasks 🙁
    Lisa Barton recently posted…No cutting required 12″ x 12″ origami folding christmas gift boxMy Profile

  10. I love learning new things. Every year I challenge myself to learn one or two new skills. I would love to take classes and someday when I no longer have nursing babies I know I’ll do that too. In the meantime, I check out books from the library and use online resources.
    Jennifer S. recently posted…Library Time 13My Profile

  11. I love DR Seuss!
    Wise words here 🙂

  12. Awesome article. I love to learn as well and go to many as events that I can afford. I do believe people look for well rounded coaches to follow. Thanks for sharing. Anita
    Anita Levesque recently posted…I Have A Black Friday Deal You Don’t Want To Pass Up!My Profile

  13. This is so true, Rachel. I’ve noticed that people are quick to cut out professional development as “optional” when revenues are down. But we always need to be stretching and moving forward to stay fresh and relevant.
    Seana Turner recently posted…Seana’s Top 5 GiftsMy Profile