You might think that after years of schooling, college, earning degrees and certifications, your education is complete, but not so fast! Industries progress, technology advances, and what we learn earlier in our careers often needs some refreshing. I make it a point to further my learning in both photography and entrepreneurship to develop my business as well as to support my clients. There are a number of ways in regards to continuing your education and here are my top five:
1. Attend a workshop: Whatever it is you’re looking for further your education in, you can bet there are others out there looking to do the same. Workshops are great opportunities to learn new skills, but they also serve as excellent networking events. Meet folks in your field, exchange knowledge, and learn alongside each other! I attend one or two workshops every year, on the topics of photography, lighting, posing, photo editing, and business management.
2. Take a trip: In 2017, I went to Iceland to challenge myself personally and technically. This adventure was both out of my comfort zone and outside of my career lane. With my camera on me at all times, I experimented with other kinds of photography and tackled challenges different from those that I am accustomed to. It didn’t hurt that the trip was very restorative, as well. It might sound counterintuitive, but taking a vacation is an excellent opportunity learn.
3. Enroll in a class: You’d be surprised how many courses are available around most cities! Colleges, libraries, and community centers often offer a variety of classes, ranging in subjects, times, and prices (sometimes free!).
4. Utilize online learning: The internet is full of webinars and educational websites. I love Creative Live, for example, which is an online education platform offering a variety of classes in topics that range from “Photo and Video” to “Craft and Design,” even “Money and Life,” and more. There is also Lynda.com, which provides an extensive library of classes in business, software, technology, and creative skills, and Coursera, a site that partners with universities and organizations all around the world to provide courses on a myriad number of topics. You don’t even have to change out of your pajamas to take advantage of these!
5. Hire a mentor: In 2016, I teamed up with Mary Foley who is a brilliant speaker, mentor, and business woman in Richmond. She has worked with me as my business mentor, helping me to prioritize my revenue generating activities and boost my networking. Engaging with a mentor is an opportunity to expand your potential with personalized and objective guidance.
Not only does your business benefit from continued learning — your physiology does, too! According to Lifehacker, everytime you learn something new, your brain’s synapses become stronger and your brain actually grows! “The more connections between neurons are formed, the more we learn, and the more information we retain. As those connection get stronger, the less we have to think about what we’re doing, which means we can get better at other facets of a set of skills.”
Learning is lifelong and we will always be students. Whether it’s a skill you’d like to develop or a proficiency upon which you’d like to improve, continuing your education is great thing to do for both your professional and personal lives! Henry Ford articulated it well when he said this: “Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young.”
Have you pursued continuing education in any of the above ways? Or perhaps you’ve found another avenue? Either way, I’d love to hear about it in the comments below!