@MariaHarmon what a fantastic question this is! I'm sure there are as many answers for this as there are community members, but for me self-education involves...
1) Looking around at my peers/friends/colleagues, thinking about the aspects of their jobs that I'm a teeny bit jealous about (think working flexible hours, being challenged with a variety of tasks throughout the day, steady workflow etc.), and thinking of the skills I might need to work on to get some of that goodness in my own professional life (taking the above examples: mastering technological tools that make it easier to work remotely, broadening my skillset to include related functions that would also be useful to my clients, learning how to rock social media to broaden my professional network, etc.).
2) Messing up. Learning from my mistakes by figuring out what I should have known and going out and getting that thing, whatever it is - could be a skill or tool but also an approach or mindset.
Those aren't specific tools (classes, books, online courses, etc.) but I guess for me it's helpful to start from there. How about you? How do you figure out what you don't know but need to know, so you can better self-educate?
Once upon a time I wrote a business plan for a restaurant. I had no idea how to start, so I went to the book store and picked up a couple books on "Writing a Business Plan" and read them. Because I learn best through doing, I started to put my plan together as thoroughly as I could. Next I asked to see other people's plans, I found some online to use as examples and lastly - I took my plan to the local Small Business Development Center (a non-profit that consults on growing small biz) and met with a counselor there for free. He read my plan and critiqued it so that I was able to improve it.
I second what @EmilyCowan said about reaching our to your peers or to others who hold the knowledge you want to gain. Networking is always a great way to educate yourself.
Great question, @MariaHarmon! Thanks for sharing your strategies, @SarahGonzales and @EmilyCowan. I go to as many talks, workshops, seminars and presentations as I can. I'm lucky enough to live in the Bay Area, where this is no shortage of events designed to educate, inform and entertain. My local library is a wonderful FREE resource -- I've taken workshops there on everything from online buisness marketing to storytelling to meditation. I love hearing authors and journalists speak, too. Basically, I keep my eyes open for opportunities to hear experts share their wisdom "live" -- and I always bring along a pal so we can talk about what we've heard and learned. Conferences are fantastic opportunities, too -- lots of experts, all in one place!
@MariaHarmon I love this question. I learn from doing so when I want to dive in, I just have to dive in. I also learn from watching so I will ask someone who knows how to do something if I can shadow them. And I love to learn by listening to other people's stories - so I enjoy podcasts as well as the profile stories here in the community. How about you?
@WillowOlder Excellent point about libraries. They have so much to offer, and many people don't realize the resources, events and tools there. Just go in and and ask them about all the adult programs they offer, and you'll be blown away.
I think of self development more than self educate. Only because I think to better my core. If the foundation isn't sturdy the house falls. SO I love a good read, I am constantly looking for good reads. Also, in my industry I became a part of professional associations - as regulations and rules change frequently and in order to be efficient and effective I MUST stay up-to-date with any and all tax reforms.
My peers/colleugues/and you QuickBooks community - no better way to learn how to be better than to watch/listen to someone that has the experience and the know how.
The library, I am a rare breed that still enjoys hardcopy books and just going into the library to enjoy a good book, study, and I take my children for the free events that they host. An all around WINNER, in my eyes.
This is a great question, self-education is very important to me, especially as I often feel 'inadequate' as I didn't go to university and get a degree. I try and dedicate some time every day to self-education. There are lots of great tips posted already here… I especially agree with the library recommendation – I'm a huge fan of libraries.
These days there are loads of online educational resources too – such as lynda.com – which offer an enormous amount of different courses, across wide subject areas. For a price though. Less structured, but still extremely useful, is YouTube – which is often my first port of call – you can find virtually any 'how to' on there, but the big issue is sorting the 'wheat from the chaff'. I also like Quora – where you can ask questions and get answers from the community – often from very highly qualified experts. Choose your feeds/topics with care and it's a great resource.
But, as has also been posted previously, there is nothing like just 'getting stuck in' and doing something. You always learn – even if you get it wrong, your learn from your mistakes.
Hi @CoherentCreativ - thanks so much for your well-considered response to this question! We are quite lucky to have so many educational resources available to us, and if we still miss the mark on short-term goals, well, that's a lesson, too. Great having you here participating in discussion :smileyhappy:
This is a great question. The first thing I did was to join Wolters Kluwer and purchased their year long pass. They have many great topics to choose from and I’m able to learn from various tax and business subject matter experts. They also have specialized courses in QBO
I really need to set my mind frame back into invoicing and scanniung receipts accurately for our business but after an accident that left my left side of my brain in short term mode for the rest of my life, what is the best way to keep ahead in memory and duties? :smileyhappy:
Wow, @Lilmo, that is quite a story. I hope that you're making steady progress in your recovery.
Have you checked out any free online games to boost working memory? Many are designed for kids (my own kids play them to help "remember their place" as they shift from task to task in a multi-step project), but I'm sure there are resources for adults as well.
You bring up such a great point - I think we could all stand to gain from improving brain function!
Since starting my business a year ago, I've read a lot of books from the library, but I joined Toastmasters at the same time. This gave me a place to practice presentations as well as other things that I've learned from books.
Toastmasters has a new online program, Pathways, that gives you different options for learning and practicing business skills.
This is a wonderful question. I have a lot of classroom education (not in bookkeeping, or QBO), but the real thing all that education taught me is that learning opportunities are everywhere. I think each person has to find the learning process that works best for them.
I am doing something so totally different than my formal education. For self-education, I have tried to find classes and workshops when available. I have read books. I have scoured the web. I have also networked, with real life colleagues and with virtual colleagues.
Lately I have been participating in a lot of online training. It's easily accessbile and usually high quality. I've also been trying to develop a larger network.
Lynda.com is a great source of learning for me. I also use my public library to read business books. I also self-educate by providing QBO workshops to my community.
It has been a journey but as many try to understand about brain trauma it damages more than your mind it takes away your ability to even remember adult words.
I am doing some Words on Facebook with my sisters and hubby to work my mind. I have to look up words to see if I spelled them correctly. I feel like a 1st grader learning correct words, nouns, pronouns, etc.
I want to move forward and achieve progression in life. I want others to look at me like I am someone instead of feeling like being felt sorry for, that is not who I am.
We suceed if we gain control of ourselves, no matter what kind of failures we have come upon. I know I can do it and this was my first place to ask, so Thank you all for your words of motivation:).
I like to take advantage of free CPE opportunities that are out there. However, you need to be careful, as a lot of these courses are a waste of time.
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