Today, more than any other time in history, online learning is happening all over the world—whether you’re listening to podcasts, taking online courses, or reading, you are doing some form of distance learning.
At this moment, we still don’t know how life will change after the Coronavirus. One thing we know is that we were not prepared for such a sudden life change. As time goes on, it is yet to be seen how online learning will pan out in the public and private sectors.
For this piece, I’m going to focus on how entrepreneurs can use different types of virtual life-long learning resources to get updates, learn from the best in business, as well as remain connected with the outside world from the inside. Many entrepreneurs will tell you that the key to their success is lifelong learning. By continuing to learn, founders can ensure they are equipped with the most useful and up-to-date information they need to stay competitive in their market.
If you’re an entrepreneur, you may feel that continuing education is expensive, or will take up too much of your time. You don’t need to go back to school, or get a costly business degree to enhance or learn something new. Ongoing learning can have a direct impact on the bottom line of the company—especially now. Many learning options available do not require sitting in a classroom on a designated time or specific day.
Today, entrepreneurs can continue their education by watching videos, listening to podcasts, reading blogs, taking online courses for free, attending virtual industry networking events, or even work with a private coach. Continuing education options are vast, and are much more flexible than ever.
However, with so many learning options, it can be challenging to know what the right continuing education option is for you. Below are some helpful resources and tips, along with commentary from a few entrepreneurs who have taken steps within the last year to continue their education. I asked them how learning had an impact on their business.
Blogs and Podcasts
You should listen to the new podcast and sign up for the newsletter 21 Hats Morning Report, which Loren Feldman runs. Especially now, if you’re a struggling entrepreneur or know someone who needs top business advice, please listen to their new podcast for some of the most valuable tips you need to know in these rapidly changing times. The newsletter and show are loaded with references to important resources and information for business owners.
There are thousands of online courses to choose from for entrepreneurs. Whether you are choosing to take a class to work toward a degree, or if you want to improve your skills, there is a course for you.
You’re an expert in what you do. Otherwise, you wouldn’t be in business and making a living in your industry. However, when it comes to improving your business, take inventory of your skills to determine which of them helps generate the most revenue for your company. What if you could go to the next level with new skills that earn you the most money? What would that do for your business?
That’s precisely what Tiffany Toombs, the founder of Blue Lotus Mind Institute, did to over double her sales this past year. I caught up with Toombs, and she shared how continuing her online education courses transformed her business experiences, and improved her most essential business skills in the process.
“I took Marshall Sylver’s Irresistible Influence digital training to improve my sales skills, and to deepen my knowledge of influential language patterns. After studying the program and implementing it into my business, my closing rate at my events and on calls jumped to 60%.
Upon seeing my results using the tips from his program, Marshall invited me to speak at one of his live events and sell one of my products. I had a table rush like I’ve never seen before, closing half the room and outselling all the other speakers at the four-day event combined,” said Toombs.
Work With a Mentor
A few days ago, on LinkedIn, I spoke to Jason Greer, founder of Greer Consulting Inc., a labor relations and diversity management-consulting firm. We spoke about how time with his mentor helped him significantly in the growth phase of his business.
“My mentor, Phil Dixon, is a guru in the brain-based leadership space. He gave me a ton of training on how to effectively incorporate brain-based processes into my approach with employees and managers.” “Taking a brain-based approach to leadership has helped me better understand the importance of checking in, and listening to the people I work with both internally and externally. By taking the time to listen while also getting their input on what is working or not working—companies will find that their employees will not only embrace the change, they will also work to ensure that people who are slow to change will embrace it as well,” said Greer.
Greer was able to improve his approach to dealing with others on a one-to-one basis, which has made him a better leader.
And, you can work with a mentor remotely.
Attend a Virtual Business Mastermind
In an article titled, “The Incredible Power of Mastermind Groups,” you can find out more information about the benefits of Mastermind groups. In your area, you should be able to find many online Mastermind groups by conducting a simple local, online search.
As your business scales, it’s a good idea to reinvest to expand your network and find new mentors with different views and perspectives. One of the best ways to do that is to attend a business mastermind (virtual for now). A mastermind group is a peer-to-peer mentoring concept used to help members solve their business problems with input and advice from the other group members.
I asked Jake DeMichele, founder of JDM Capital Solutions, to share how attending a mastermind helped him grow his business this past year.
“Joining a high ticket mastermind has been game-changing for my business. As you and your business grow, the quality of your network needs to grow as well. You always want to be surrounded by people who have more experience, and are smarter than you. By staying close to colleagues in business, it can also ensure you never lose focus and strive to keep going.
It can be challenging to maintain the long stretches of momentum we all experience, but when you are surrounded by others’ excellence, you will be inspired to push to the next level. There’s also an exponential effect when you join a mastermind. All of the members inside the group also have a vast network themselves. You not only have access to the people inside of the group but can now leverage their network as well.”
By making continuing education a priority, entrepreneurs can set themselves up for continued success. As an entrepreneur, you are your company’s most valuable asset.
Make sure to invest in yourself with that in mind. Learning shouldn’t end because you graduated high school or college. If you are in learning mode and need some great resources, be sure to stop by my LinkedIn thread for a ton of free resources.
EDITOR’S NOTE: THIS ARTICLE ORIGINALLY APPEARED ON FORBES AND IS FEATURED HERE WITH AUTHOR PERMISSION.