In today’s fast changing world, it’s not so much what you know anymore, it’s how fast you learn.
Rich Dad Poor Dad
As 2019 comes to an end, it's time make our plans, set our goals, and imagine all the great things that are coming our way in 2020. However, if you're like me, December provides a great opportunity to sum up my year, set new goals, update my plans, and prepare for success in 2020.
With technology moving as fast as it is, there are new tools available to online entrepreneurs and marketers every day. New ad platforms, blogs, YouTube videos, and marketing channels pop up every day, which is as great thing since each new thing gives you a chance to master it before anyone else.
Some of these skills/tasks can be (somewhat) easily outsourced, but it would still benefit you to at least learn the basics. Best of all, this information is already packaged for you as books, videos, and more.
Here are the most valuable skills you can learn (old and new) for 2020 and beyond. They will continue to serve you in your personal, marketing, and entrepreneurial ventures for life.
10) How to Say "No"
“No” should be your default answer to all requests.
Let's start out with a (seemingly) easy one.
Question: what is your most valuable, precious, and limited resource?
Answer: Your time.
If your answer was money, or energy or something else, then I'm sorry to break it to you, but an extra thousand hours is infinitely more valuable to you than an extra $10,000 or more.
But with 99% of your environment set up to waste your time, how can you fight back?
Easy. JUST SAY NO. Family time is the only exception, and even that may need to be planned.
Don’t just haphazardly say no, but purposefully, deliberately, and strategically, and don’t just rid yourself of the obvious time wasters, but cut out some really good opportunities as well.
That means say "NO" to people interrupting your work, to calls and texts during work, to your social media notifications, to that new episode starting soon, and to every waste of time.
"But it's nice to take a break every once in a while!" you might say. That's a nice thought, but you (and most people) are not taking "occasional breaks". Average people combine all of these distractions with the high productivity-cost of interruptions, and are almost ALWAYS "on break".
Wanna know a secret? Allowing these constant breaks IS nice. I agree. However, "nice" = unproductive, time-wasting, and a complete waste of precious resources. You cannot afford that.
Great books on this include Essentialism, The One Thing, and The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck.
Time vampires deserve no courtesy whatsoever. He is telling you that your time is less valuable than his, that whatever you are doing is unimportant and easily interrupted.
No BS: Time Management for Entrepreneurs
9) How to Make a Simple Website
Learn the newest technologies and learn how to do it on-site, to minimize competition.
Born For This
If you do not already know how to make a website, you are missing out on a skill that allows you to create entire businesses and/or sales pages in a day. The market now offers many great website-builders that make it easy for absolute beginners and advanced customizations alike.
Popular (basic) website-builders include SquareSpace, Wix, Weebly, and Site123.
WordPress is also a popular website platform, which was originally meant for blogging, but has now become a full advanced website builder. My favorite website-builder is the Thrive Architect WordPress plug-in, which is an easy-to-use and install WordPress add-on.
Similar advanced platforms include Click Funnels, Lead Pages, UnBounce, Optimize Press, and more. Most of these offer much more than just website-building.
Compare factors such as pricing tiers, features, and customizations. You won't have to worry about ease-of-use since all of these tools are easy enough to learn and use.
Even if you're not going to build a website or funnel every day (or ever again), it's very useful to know how to at least make a basic website so that you can know your ease of opportunities.
The best resources for you to learn this would be to research the different website-builders on YouTube. Since this information is so widely available online, books on this are a bit advanced, but I'd suggest The Digital Marketing Handbook, Don't Make Me Think, and Dotcom Secrets.
8) How to Learn (+Research)
Knowledge is not quite power. Applied knowledge is power
Once you have learned how to learn, then you can try as many things as you can.
Win at the Sport of Business
This might be the most important skill to learn in all of life, and you may (or may not) be surprised by the amount of people who don't, don't know how to, or simply don't want to do it.
The maturity of the internet now empowers many people to skip time-consuming, outdated, expensive, traditional education routes in favor of finding practical answers quickly and online.
Regardless of your stage of business or life, learning how to learn is the difference between the 70%+ of the U.S. population that hate their daily jobs, and the rest of us.
Want or need to learn how to start a business? How to start a corporation? How to generate leads? Once upon a time, your only avenue to do this was to pay big money and time to a school.
No more. Now you can learn how to do just about anything by:
1) Reading a few books
2) Reading blog posts and watching YouTube videos
3) Taking relevant, concentrated online courses
This skill seems so basic, but the sad thing is that most people spend more time planning their vacations than they do planning their careers, their budgets, their year, or their businesses.
The main skill you learned in all your schooling was HOW to research and work hard against deadlines. Don't join the 90% of people that thank the heavens their education ends with school, when that's LITERALLY when it actually begins.
Books include Mastery, Tools of Titans, Walking With Einstein, Switch, and The Art of Learning.
The problem with most failing businesses is not that their owners don’t know enough about finance, marketing, management, and operations – they don’t, but they're learnable – but that they spend their time and energy defending what they think they know.
The E-Myth Revisited
7) Video Making and Editing
While this skill used to be a "nice to have", it is quickly becoming a must-have for all forms of marketing. Even if you "have a guy" that does your video, it is useful to learn the basics.
Yes, you can probably learn this in school, and it is more outsourcable than others, but it's still a very useful skill to know as a freelancer, bootstrapping entrepreneur, or digital marketer.
By 2020, smartphone video cameras will finally reach a quality that is good enough so that you don't need to carry a huge DSLR around. Video content and style matter much more, anyways.
Books I suggest include How to Shoot Video That Doesn't Suck and Platform.
The format you choose to deliver your content on can have this huge impact on your success, even with the same content. To the best format for your business is the one that your target audience prefers.
6) Financial Literacy
Most people don’t have the passion to learn about money. They want to go to school, learn a profession, have fun at their work, and earn lots of money.
Rich Dad Poor Dad
This Kiyosaki quote sheds light on one of the most odd characteristics I've ever in human behavior, and that is that people spend 80% of their adult life working for money, and base 99% of their daily decisions about money, yet never take any time to learn the slightest thing about it.
More troubling is the fact that the information is now more available than ever and literally at our fingertips. Yet most people want to pass on the responsibility of their personal finances to their boss, their discount accountant, unrealistically optimistic real estate ventures, or the stock market.
Whether or not you like it, money matters. A lot. Especially at the beginning. That doesn't mean money is everything, but it can empower you to control your environment and makes things happen.
Your financial planner doesn't actually care about your finances, your plan, or you. Neither does the stock market or your retirement plan. Don't (you can't) outsource your financial education.
Many people say "money doesn't matter" or something along those lines, yet they work 40+ hours a week for their entire adult lives. Earning money is costing you and most people you know tons of their precious resource (time), so clearly money most definitely DOES matter, or they'd all quit.
Most people base their college majors, careers, industry, residence, city/state/country, amount of children, and most decisions in their adult lives, around money. So clearly, it's worth learning about.
Some fantastic books to read if you want to learn about the most important subject on Earth to learn (marketing is 2nd) include Rich Dad Poor Dad, The Millionaire Fastlane, Secrets of the Millionaire Mind, Unscripted, Rich Dad's Cash-flow Quadrant, and Wealth Can't Wait.
Even though these authors sometimes contradict each other, it is crucial to learn the rich mindset and how to think like a rich person, which is a big first step towards financial literacy.
There is virtually no other skill that can make you as much money as copywriting.
Copy That Sells
Copywriting is the art of choosing the words for marketing materials. Many people have come to hate anything that resembles "writing", but effective copywriting skills can literally 2x-10x or more your sales, simply by learning to communicate with the right words.
For one, copywriters provide you with much-needed leverage as hiring one copywriter to fix your sales script is often much easier and cheaper than training or hiring a new sales staff. Although these are common tactics, they are very time-&-money expensive, and are unreliable.
While copywriting shows tangible benefits in business, many of its lessons carry over into daily life, in what would be considered "persuasion". Copywriting is about choosing which words to use to provoke people to take action. This means you'll learn about persuasion and psychology.
For more info, check out my previous post Why You Need to Learn Copywriting Today.
Books I suggest include Cashvertising, Ogilvy on Advertising, Copy That Sells, My Life in Advertising, Scientific Advertising, Make Your Advertising Make Money, and The Boron Letters.
Copywriters aren't the most visible people in agencies, but they are the most important.
Ogilvy on Advertising
4) List-Building & Email Marketing
Email marketing takes place when a visitor comes to your website and likes something you have to say. The magic happens when they give you their email address, usually in exchange for a digital (emailable) goodie, such as a checklist, report, newsletter, mini-course, and more.
This list of emails will likely become your most important business and marketing asset. That list gives you a community you can market to at will, and that are in your market. You can send their web traffic to specific websites, and you can even rent or sell space on your emails.
There are many email marketing providers, but I suggest ActiveCampaign or Aweber.
Your [email] list is the biggest and perhaps ONLY asset in your online business.
It is surprising how many people haven't heard of or simply don't employ any kind of email marketing, given how effective, widespread, and profitable it has proven to become.
Regardless of the business you are in, or striving in, you will benefit from building and having your own email list of leads and customers. Many have even built entire businesses with it.
Some digital marketing books that go into this and more include Launch!, The Digital Marketing Handbook, Dotcom Secrets, and Expert Secrets.
3) Outsourcing & Hiring
Because time is the most valuable commodity for entrepreneur is, it stands to reason that there are any actions we can take to free up more time in our daily routines, we should take them.
If you continue on your entrepreneurial path, then you will inevitably need to outsource some work or even hire people. As mentioned before, time is your #1 resource, so it makes sense that you would transfer labor to someone else's shoulders as soon as you could afford it.
Some things are one-off jobs such as designing a logo, template, or writing assignment. But if they're good, you will likely require their services again in one form or another. And if they can't provide that particular service, they can often point you in the direction of their friend who can.
Certain high-level tasks will require hiring such as call support staff, sales staff, social media posts & updates, receptionists, keyword research, and more, depending on your business needs.
Other tasks you could outsource include:photo & video editing, copywriting, blog writing & management, email marketing & management, posting & moderating comments, and much more.
Some popular sites to find freelancer and virtual assistants include Fiverr, Upwork, Envato Studio, Freelancer, and more.
Just remember that just because you can and probably should outsource many of your daily tasks (eventually) does NOT mean that you can be completely ignorant about those task skills. Plus diving deep into any of those tasks could birth an entire business or career of your own.
If you're going to hire a financial planner, you need to learn enough about it to be able to ask the right questions and look for the right answers, so you know you're hiring a good one. The same applies to every other task you're thinking of outsourcing.
Books I suggest are Virtual Freedom, The 4-Hour Workweek, and The Millionaire Fastlane.
It is the learners who inherit the future, while the learned will be equipped to live in a world that no longer exists.
Reflections on the Human Condition
2) Paid Advertising
Google Ads. Facebook Ads. It's finally time to confront the beast.
Most new entrepreneurs view paid online advertising as a magic bullet that solves all problems, if you only throw enough money at it. Unfortunately, that's not exactly how it works.
The best thing about learning this skill is that the ad platform companies themselves offer educational programs which teach you how to better use their platform for more effective and efficient selling. These are the Google AdWords and Facebook Blueprint certification programs.
Use search engine ads to test product positioning and messaging even before you fully build it.
All the information may seem a bit overwhelming at first, but it's worth learning so that you know what you're capable of when targeting your audience. It's worth that week or two of studying the material to know how to segment, tag, and market to your customers and leads.
Even if you already employ a freelancer or agency to handle your paid advertising, how will you know if you're hiring a good one if you don't know enough about it to ask the right questions?
Your freelancer or agency has a standard procedure by design, which means their tactics don't change nearly as fast as these platforms release new features and segmenting options.
Learning about paid online advertising will greatly benefit your entrepreneurial life since it directly contributes to generating web traffic, and even driving sales. Some marketers say paid ads are dead, while others say they will be the last ad model standing. Either way, learn it.
1) Sales and Selling
The fact that the critical skill of sales isn’t taught in school, or often even offered, only further indicates the immense value to those who do learn it.
Sell or Be Sold
Sales. Persuasion. Getting what you want. All of those things are essentially the same thing, and your daily success (or failure) will be directly linked to your level of this skill.
Every potential positive change in your life directly relies on your sales skills. Want that raise or promotion? Sell that idea to your boss. Want to sell your high-end product? Sell its value to your prospects. Want to get kids to go to sleep? You'll need creative sales skills for that one.
It's easy to see how everything you want is on the other side of finding the person that can give it to you, and selling them on the idea of doing just that.
Scared of rejection or that you'll annoy people? Both will happen. You'll survive. Remember that a "yes" and a "no" are NOT opposites, but that "yes" is often on the other side of a few "no"s.
Learn everything you can about sales, selling, psychology, human behavior, behavioral economics and just about anything else that teaches you how to better sell. It'll be well worth it.
Sales books I recommend include Sell or Be Sold, Go For No, Influence, Dotcom Secrets, The Ultimate Sales Machine, Speak to Sell, The 10X Rule, The Conversion Code, and Expert Secrets.
Selling is to be planned, scripted, physically choreographed, rehearsed, and ultimately performed.
No BS: Marketing to the Affluent
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