The one thing about working online is that it can be isolating. We work alone, usually with our BFF (laptop) only. Sometimes, the only conversation we have out loud during work day is while yelling at our BFF for being too slow or losing the document that we’ve been working on all morning!
Needless to say, professional development, networking and getting together with other small business owners and entrepreneurs is essential.
I know that I can’t work in a bubble. I need the people around me who are also working from home, building a business, and often my ‘tribe’ of fellow entrepreneurs have a child (or more) running around the house demanding juice, just like here.
It’s one of the reasons I’ve prioritized my professional development and networking. It’s hard sometimes to motivate myself to get out to events, or make meetings with mentors and friends, but without these moments, I don’t grow. As my kids have gotten older, it’s much easier to make plans. I don’t worry about nursing, or bedtime or childcare like I once did. My husband has always been able to be with the kids in my absence, but when he was working and they were home it wasn’t always easy to head out to a meeting.
I think professional development comes in many different forms too (and I believe a mix of different types works best for most people). There’s traditional conferences, workshops, courses, e-courses, weekly events, mentorship groups, mastermind groups, one-on-one coffee with a fellow entrepreneur and more.
How do I decide which professional development opportunities to attend? I usually have a check list. What will I get out of it? Does it make sense to go? Will I learn enough? Will I meet new people? What benefits will I see afterwards? In three months?
And of course, there’s the conversation about cost. I support investing in my learning and growth, however, I can’t afford to spend a small fortune each year, so I have to be strategic. I usually find one of two online learning opportunities (e-courses for example), one or two local events (and these don’t always cost much), plus Blissdom Canada.
The other factor is time. Even if conferences or events don’t cost anything, time does. When I’m away at a conference, I’m not home. Or, if I’m at an all day learning event, I’m not working. The value of my time is also important to factor into my decision making about professional development.
I’ve written before about Blissdom and as a 2015 Ambassador I’m proud to recommend the conference. There are some really great opportunities at the event for bloggers and small business owners to not only learn but also connect.
This year, consider adding an extra PD learning opportunity for you and your blog or business. Maybe it’s signing up for a mentor program, or a new e-course. Whatever the case, you’re worth the investment – of time and money.
What professional development opportunities are you planning for the rest of 2015?