Sure, as a successful business owner and mother, the idea of continuing education may cause a few startled remarks.
“What...juggling all three at once?” “Is it really necessary?” “How do you find the time and energy, whilst looking glamorous all at once?” Ok ... the glamorous bit may have been made up.
However, since starting Agent99 PR in 2007, I have realised the importance of taking charge of my professional development.
My daily routine has been embedded for nearly two decades, from when I first landed in the PR industry. Wake up, check the news headlines. Check industry websites. Make a to-do list for the week, meet with clients, work with my team on strategy and execution, and secure results for the brands we work with time and time again.
What is my secret? Setting rules for myself and staying true to them. I dedicate periods of time to complete evening classes, research new training opportunities; attend conferences and seminars, source advice from my business coach and professional friends. Every month I set myself a learning target of where I can improve my skills and knowledge of my industry. The rest of the time including weekends, I throw my phone and emails out the window and focus on my family, friends and myself.
Why? Here are my top five essential reasons of the importance of self-directed learning.
1. Studying generates new ideas and business development opportunities
By constantly surrounding yourself with stimulating thoughts and concepts, you are simply building new paths to brilliant business opportunities. By keeping up to date and up skilling, you and your team can inadvertently offer clients new services. It might just give you that edge and point of differentiation in the market.
2. Studying ensures you don’t stay in the dark ages
It is all too easy to remain in your comfort zone, and getting too comfortable with your business may mean getting sloppy. Yes, breaking the mould and pushing business in new directions is scary. However, it is a sure fire way to keep clients old and new engaged. Finding and learning a niche area of expertise will allow your organization to stand out from the rest.
3. Studying keeps you on top of new trends
As a publicist, it is paramount to learn the inside outs of current trends. Not only does the client expect this of you, it enables you to proactively jump on an opportunity to expose clients to media and their target audience. Educate yourself around current events and trends and use this as a promotional tool to showcase your expertise - the key is to catch people’s attention by talking about what’s hot.
4. Studying helps you get the best out of your team
As a company director, self-learning is imperative to keep the workforce strong by sharing knowledge and ensuring the right training is given to staff. Through attending evening classes and speaking with other professionals, I am able to gauge what training is out there for my team. Also having attended the class myself, I am able to assess whether it may be worthwhile for other team members to undertake it.
5. Studying allows you to network and get the word out about your brand
They do say that it’s not what you know, but it’s who you know. So even if you do not come away with anything majorly significant from a course, you may have made a contact or two who could come in very handy in the long run. Also, networking is a great chance to talk to people about the perks of your company, ensuring word spreads and you get your name out there.