Our SaskTel Small Business customers are busy making entrepreneurial magic happen in their work life every day. So it may not seem like there’s a lot of opportunity to prioritize professional development. Yes, there are conferences and trade shows, but these are costly and require time away from your operations. They’re also often focused on one theme or subject—it’s a single, overwhelming load of information.
So why not make professional development an ongoing priority in small doses?
From introductory information to in-depth courses that will help set you apart from your competitors, there are all kinds of easily accessible resources to keep you at the top of your game. Here are our top 5:
Skillshare - This platform has become a massive learning hub known to be highly useful for the modern entrepreneur. It offers tons of free courses as well as more advanced ones for a fee (but with a one month free trial for new users!). They cover subjects that span both creative and technical realms, but always with the entrepreneurial spirit in mind.
Lynda.com - This classic online resource merged with LinkedIn in 2015 to become LinkedIn Learning. They offer affordable courses that range from photography to web development and everything in between. Choose from either a team or individual membership and get ready to enjoy their easily digestible but highly valuable content. Plus, most post-secondary schools and major public libraries in Saskatchewan have partnerships that allow you free access to Lynda.com classes through your library account.
Masterclass - Masterclass is a newer platform that is arguably the most highly curated learning hub in the world. Only the best leaders and trendsetters of our generation have been selected to host courses there. With stunning production value, their tutorials are extremely immersive and inspirational. Once you get an All Access Pass, prepare to witness impeccable talents that will inspire you to be the best at whatever your desired craft is.
Adobe Digital Learning Services - If your business utilizes creative services (spoiler, it probably does!), understanding Adobe’s industry-standard line of programs could prove to be highly valuable. Further, if you're someone who outsources your creative work (design, video production, etc), this is a great way for you to better understand what your contractors are doing for you. Are they working effectively? Are they overselling their services? The more you know about a task you’re outsourcing, the less of a chance you'll be taken advantage of.
YouTube - You can find pretty much anything on YouTube. The drawback is that the pool is vast. It will probably take some extra time to curate channels that provide worthwhile information. The upside? Always free. Some channels we’ve scoped out to aid your professional development are: Entrepreneur, Crash Course, Five Minute Social Media, Silicon Valley Girl, and Young Entrepreneurs Forum. Plus, for some free tax tips that focus on Canadian small businesses, check out Allan Madan’s channel!
In addition to these suggestions, we want to help you succeed too! This past year, our SaskTel blog has housed several resources for professional development. Check them out here! They will help to inspire and provide some useful tips for budding entrepreneurs and small business owners.
Alright, now that you know where to go online, let’s make sure you stay on track in real life:
First, try to schedule a dedicated time either weekly or bi-weekly for skill development. Put it in your calendar, hold yourself accountable, and you’ll be more likely to get into a rhythm! Don’t feel like you have to put aside hours. A 15-20 minute window to take in new ideas can be enough to provide long-term value. Plus, the benefit of an online course is that you can easily press pause and come back to it later.
To help your motivation, it might be valuable to team up with a friend or colleague and work through a course together. You’ll be able to bounce ideas off each other and hash the information so it sticks!
And, there are always opportunities in your community that will aid in your professional development. Public speaking practice, social media workshops, and various networking events are all happening this month in Saskatchewan! Check out a full list we’ve compiled here.
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