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5 Tips For Your Black Friday Promotion

5 Tips for your Black Friday Promotion

Black Friday – great, isn’t it? Or is it? I think that for many businesses, Black Friday can be bittersweet. It’s a day when you hope to make some serious sales, but it’s also a day that can become rather chaotic, and if you offer serious discounts, you might be making MUCH less money per sale.

But I don’t want to be negative about Black Friday and Cyber Weekend. It can be great for

black friday promotion

businesses who are set up for it, can handle the level of orders, that are comfortable with what they’ll make per item/service. It’s a good way to get rid of slow moving lines and get money in the bank. And it can really help to set you up pre Christmas.

This doesn’t mean that everyone should take part. Here are my five top things to think about for your Black Friday Promotion…

  1. Do you want to do it? If it doesn’t make financial sense, then I’d really urge you to consider whether it’s a good idea. It isn’t for everyone. You want to be pleased when you make a sale not think ‘well, I’m making 3p on that before I pay for the envelope’. So just make sure you’re happy with it.
  2. Make it clear. If you’re running a Black Friday offer, make sure it’s really clear. Not just the discount, but also how to claim, when it expires, etc etc. If you’re not sure if it’s as easy as you’d like, ask a friend to check it and see if they get it!
  3. Promote it. If you decide you’re going for it, then really go for it! Make sure you promote it on your website, your social media, your newsletter… and then promote it again. Not everyone sees everything you would like them to on first posting and you don’t want them to miss it.
  4. Work together. There are a number of blog posts, Facebook groups and online features out there listing some of the best offers. Find these and email the people. If you get featured in some of these places it could really give you Black Friday a boost!
  5. Get your ambassadors and sponsored riders on side. Tell them about your offer and ask them if they’d consider telling their followings about it. Simple but could be really effective.

If you’re feeling a little more motivated about Black Friday, pop over on to my Facebook page and see my video mini series all about how to promote your Black Friday promotion.

Equestrian social media – 5 ways to promote your equestrian business on social media this Christmas

Five ways to promote your equestrian business on social media this ChristmasAre you getting in the festive spirit? Have you got your Christmas stock in and raring to go? Have you planned your social media for the next few weeks on the lead up to Christmas? The thing is, now is most definitely the time to be harnessing social media for your equestrian business… and it’s definitely worth a bit of thought. From the really obvious posts that drive a sale to something a little more thoughtful, here are five ways to promote your equestrian business on social media at Christmas. And, spoiler alert, none of them are advertising…

Five ways to promote your equestrian business on social media at Christmas

  1. Collaborate – I love a collaboration, and there’s no better time than Christmas. Collaborating with businesses that complement yours can be a great way to get in front of potential customers who might not know about you. One of the key points to remember when you’re plotting your collaboration is that a collaboration should benefit all parties. Your equestrian business, the other equestrian business… and your customers too. It shouldn’t be all ‘me, me, me’, quite the opposite actually!
  2. Shoppable links – have you seen that Instagram has now added shoppable links to Stories? I let out a little squeal when this happened a few months ago. If you have a Facebook shop connected and working, this means you can now add shoppable links to Facebook, Instagram and Instagram Stories. It might be simple, but we need to do all we can to make it easy for people to shop. If they need to remember a complicated website address and type that in to their computer/phone before they get anywhere near your business. Well, it’s just not good, is it?
  3. Behind the scenes – and if you’re so inclined you could have some fun with this too. There’s no better time to show what goes in behind the scenes of your business. How are you making sure that people get their orders on time? How are you harnessing the Christmas spirit in what you do? Has the office dog also donned his antlers to get involved? SHOW US!
  4. Competition – competitions can be a great way to raise the profile of your equestrian business. You can either do this on your own or as part of a collaboration with a sponsored rider or maybe another business. Please, PLEASE make sure you competition is easy to enter, complies with all relevant Ts and Cs depending on the platform you are promoting/hosting it on though. Please. For me. And sharing or tagging on Facebook don’t comply. See the Pages Promotion Guidelines.
  5. New products – tell the world about the new equestrian products you have in store ready to delight and excite them. Maybe you can help to show how these new products work together (and even how they work)? What about who they would be good for? Help people. We all need some help at Christmas time and your equestrian business, if promoted well, could be that beacon of fairy lights for all those tired horsey shoppers.

These are five easy ways to promote your equestrian business through social media at Christmas, but there are plenty more too. What’s more, these ideas aren’t JUST for Christmas, oh no, they’ll work all the time. So yes, they might help you promote your equestrian business this Christmas, but take them into the New Year too!

Running an online only business with Ruth Chappell- Small & Supercharged Podcast

You’re in for a treat today! On this episode of the Small & Supercharged podcast we catch up with Ruth Chappell, the lady behind Dressage Anywhere. In addition to being a huge part of Dressage Anywhere, Ruth has a lot of strings to her bow. She’s an absolute superstar and is also a ‘tech wizard’. In this episode, we chat about how Ruth got to this point, the difficulties with running a digital, online equestrian business and more.

Let’s talk about online equestrian businesses and how to create a digital business, with Ruth Chappell – Dressage Anywhere

Show notes for the Small & Supercharged Podcast – Episode 8 – online only equestrian businesses, how to deal with competition, cyber security and making a connection with customers…

  • Ruth talks about how she came to Dressage Anywhere, the online dressage platform
  • We talk about competition and how to deal with being the only online dressage company to how it is now.
  • We spoke about where the idea for Dressage Anywhere came from.
  • The benefits of an online business, the international appeal and global reach the business has.
  • How Dressage Anywhere actually works.
  • The limitations of being an online/digital business and how this can be quite challenging.
  • The opportunities that social media has presented for digital businesses.
  • Particular highlights including the Riding for the Disabled Association.
  • Some of the tools that Ruth uses to help run Dressage Anywhere effectively.
  • Social media content for digital businesses and how this can be used to help promote connection and business.
  • Finding friends and amazing connections through social media.
  • We talk about cyber security and data protection, and how that even a small business needs to be aware of this and understand the responsibilities connected to it.
  • And we talk about user experience, customer journey, automation, and balancing tech with usability… because they have to work together.

It was an absolute joy chatting to Ruth – not only do I love Dressage Anywhere, but I am a huge Ruth fan. She is a fountain of knowledge on ‘techy’ things and has helped me out on more than one occasion when I’ve had a tech based ‘why does everything hate me’ meltdown. OK. That happens quite a lot!

To find Ruth and Dressage Anywhere online, follow the links below…

Dressage Anywhere website

Twitter

Instagram

Facebook

Beautiful image provided by Karen Bennett Photography

Subscribe to the Small & Supercharged podcast on iTunes

Equestrian business – 5 reasons to be your own equestrian PR

be your own equestrian PRI get asked a lot if people can do their own PR for their equestrian business. You want to know my answer? Without fail? It’s YES. Not only CAN you do your own PR but, initially at least, I think you should. You might think I’m poacher turned gamekeeper here. But trust me, I’m not. The way that marketing has moved over the last few years means that your PR and marketing budget needs to be spent in more areas than every before. It used to be that PR and marketing were the only ways to get your equestrian business out there. That’s no longer the case. In fact, some people don’t invest a penny in ‘old school’ equestrian PR and still do really well because they’re leveraging everything else available to them. So here I’m going to give you five reasons to be your own equestrian PR… it’s not as hard as you think…

5 reasons to be your own equestrian PR

 

Reason 1 – It’s not that difficult

Some people would have you believe that writing a press release is the same as brain surgery. It isn’t. Press releases should be short and to the point, contain newsworthy information, cover a handful of key points and be well written. This applies to all businesses, not just equestrian businesses. Obviously an equestrian PR should do more than just write press releases but this is one key thing that they should do. The truth is if you have a bit of time and a good command of the English language, you can do it.

Reason 2 – YOU build the contacts

If you undertake your own equestrian PR, it means that when you start you’ll have no contacts to send your press release to. Oh no. Game over. Well no. When I started my equestrian PR business I had a list like yours… and you know what I did? I just started contacting editors of magazines and websites, forming contacts and building a press list. My press list. A press list that I can contact with news and exciting things whenever I like. Without a gate keeper. More than this, a number of the contacts I made as an equestrian PR have become great friends, so that’s a win too. If you do this yourself for your equestrian business, the same will happen for you.

Reason 3 – You can nurture relationships

Press releases aren’t the only thing to be aware of when it comes to equestrian PR, there’s a few other facets to this… but all are infinitely easier if you have good relationships. I’ve managed to secure a number of regular monthly columns for a number of my clients – why? Well, they’re exceptional at what they do, first up, but secondly I have built the relationships with the press to say ‘Hello – I have this idea – what do you think?’. You can do this for yourself. You can nurture the relationships for your business yourself. You can start to work with and help magazines under your own steam.

Reason 4 – You’ll understand the process a lot more

Equestrian PR is a long game. You do get some results overnight thanks to the digital age we live it, but many magazine lead times are long so it can be months before you make it in. It’s important to understand this process. It’s important to understand that quality images matter, that when someone says they want 50 words – they mean it, and lots more too. This means that if you do decide to work with an equestrian PR, you will understand what they have to work with.

Reason 5 – money, money, money

If you undertake your own equestrian PR you will save money. You might decide you’d rather pay for someone to manage this side of your business for you, and that’s fine. Conversely, you might be able to use that money on a professional shoot, or a Facebook ad campaign, or a trade show. I’m not saying that PR isn’t worth spending money on – good PR certainly is an great investment – but you might find that YOU can perform many of these tasks yourself, allowing you to pay for help in other areas, or spend your money on other things.

Other blogs you might like…

Five things to look for in an equestrian PR agency

What is equestrian PR?

Follow me on Facebook for more hints and tips on how to promote your equestrian business

Equestrian business – 5 reasons to use social media

Do you use social media in your equestrian business? If you’ve answered this question with anything but ‘yes’ (and ‘meh’ and ‘kind of’ counts as no!), you’re missing out. Social media can be game changing for your equestrian business in lots of ways. I don’t want to overwhelm you and leave you tutting/shaking your head or throwing your computer across the room… so here are just five reasons to use social media in your equestrian business…

5 reasons to use social media for your equestrian business

Reason 1- Equestrians are on social media!
It’s so, so important to be where your customers are. And the good news is for you, you equestrian business owner you, THEY’RE ON SOCIAL MEDIA! With over 2 billion monthly active users on Facebook and 1 billion on Instagram, there’s a LOT of people to go at… and a number of these are equestrian!

Reason 2 – Your equestrian business can reach new people if you use social media

social media for equestrian businessYour social media won’t just reach your current customer pool – depending on how well you use the platforms, you have the opportunity to reach new people interested in your brand/products and services all over the world… or just a few miles away.

Reason 3 – You can use your social media to show behind the scenes of your equestrian business

Customers and people who might be future customers love this. This might be you receiving a new delivery, opening corporate clothing, visiting a sponsored rider at home… you name it. This allows your customers to see what really makes your equestrian business tick. And you can utilise this ‘behind the scenes’ story telling in so many different ways with video, Lives, filters and effects… the social media world is your oyster.

Reason 4 – It’s free to get started

How many ways to market your equestrian business start at zero cost? Completely free? You can get yourself set up on all the places your customers are NOW and start promoting your equestrian business through social media. Within the next hour you could have fans and followers on all these platforms for nothing. How good is that?!

Reason 5 – People buy from people

Don’t just use your social media as a way to tell people to ‘buy stuff’. No. It’s social media for a reason. And a good reason. It’s the perfect place to be sociable. The internet is the most amazing tool but the screen and a lack of face to face contact can make customers feel distant. And they feel the same distance too. So how can you address that? But using your platforms to communicate directly to them. Become the face of your equestrian business, like you would if someone walked in your shop. This is a great way to bridge this gap in the digital world we live in.

I’m hoping this ‘take five’ blog series will inspire you, make you smile… maybe it’ll just get your head nodding as you enjoy a well earned cuppa and a biscuit. Either way, I’d love you to carry on the chat over on Instagram or Facebook. Hope to see you there.

Five ways to use social media to grow your equestrian business

5 ways to use social media to grow your equestrian businessDo you want to grow your equestrian business? Do you have a limited budget? Fear not, there’s never been a better time to market your business to your target customer with a limited budget. There are LOTS of ways to promote your equestrian business to your target customers, and you’ll find lots of hints and tips in this blog. I have dealt with (and spent) really sizeable sums of money on behalf of clients, and although I am not against advertising (this should be followed by a star and list of exceptions!), I also appreciate the value of money. If you’re spending any money on advertising in the conventional sense, you need to make sure you are getting maximum bang for your buck… but that’s a whole different blog. This time, we are looking at how to use social media to grow your equestrian business. Actually, we’re looking at five ways to use social media to grow your equestrian business. Are you ready? Then let’s get going…

Five ways to use social media to grow your equestrian business

  1. Use it. Obvious? Of course it is, but I mean really use it. If you want to use social media to grow your equestrian business you need to really grasp this point. Go beyond just getting accounts on all the platforms you can and actually learn how to use them, one at a time if need be. Find the sweet spot in terms of how often you need to post, what kind of content engages your audience more than any other, and get to know them. Getting to know your audience on social media is something that is massively underestimated. If you don’t know who you’re talking to, how can you create content that they’re going to like? Consistency also falls into this bracket too. Although getting to know your audience is key, acting on this information is essential. Posting regularly (and I mean at least once a day kind of regularly, not once a month regularly!) can really change the game.
  2. Strong images. With social media being so visual nowadays, using strong images is a must. If you’re looking to use social media to grow your equestrian business, you need to invest in strong pics. Even if you’re not a photographer. Although when we think of photograph led social media platforms, we might thing of Instagram, posts with good images do better everywhere. It’s just a fact. You don’t have to invest in getting images done by a profession if you don’t want to, but I would urge you to put some time and energy into learning how to take better pics yourself.
  3. It’s not all about you. A key way to use social media to grow your equestrian business? Remember who it’s all about. Your customer. Yes, the content you’re creating will be to promote some element of what you do, but that’s not where it ends. If you’re a photographer, you will be looking to show your photography expertise alongside your images and what you can do for people. This combination of content will help to inform, educate and inspire… and isn’t that what all of us want to do for all our customers?
  4. Create value. Yes. Give your clients and potential clients stuff for free that they can actually use. So, for me, although I coach people on social media and how to leverage it, I put a LOT of energy into creating content. Why? Doesn’t it hurt my business? Nope. First of all, it helps people to see that I really do know my stuff. Secondly, it actually give potential clients something to try and test that will help their businesses. Thirdly, not everyone is my client, by which I mean you might be at the start of your journey with next to no budget. Does this mean that I shouldn’t help you? No. You might not be able to afford a one to one coaching session, but you might learn something from the content I put out. You might tell a friend. You might join my Small & Supercharged Facebook group (it’s free). Your business might grow/we might work together… or you might just read this and carry on with your life. That’s fine too. Content can work in weird ways, and the more I create and learn, the more surprising it is. Never underestimate the value of creating value on social media.
  5. Use video. Yep – we all knew that video would have to be one of my five points. Video is huge on social media and is set to continue to grow. It allows people to connect with you as a person. It allows your personality to shine. It allows your knowledge to come out too. And it’s SO easy to do now. If you have smart phone, you can Live Stream straight onto your preferred social media platform, just like that. If you want to create a video for Youtube, let’s say, you can record, edit and upload from your trusty smart phone too. You have everything you need in the palm of your hand. Honest. Give it a go. If you want to use social media to grow your equestrian business and you’re not using video, you’re doing yourself and your brand a disservice.

Of course, there are more than five ways to use social media to grow your equestrian business, but here are five ways that you can implement today, without spending a penny. And they’ll work. I have used these methods time and again with clients and I promise you that if you are consistent with all of the above, you’ll reap rewards.

A few minutes with… Ruth Box – Trackener Ltd | Rhea Freeman

Ruth Box - Trackener - Team at OlympiaHave you heard of Trackener Ltd? A new company on the equestrian tech scene? In this ‘a few minutes with…’ I catch up wth Ruth Box from Trackener, and she tells us all about the new device and app…

A few minutes with… Ruth Box – Trackener Ltd…

Who are you?

My name is Ruth Box and I am the Sales and Marketing Manager at Trackener Ltd.

What’s your business called?

Trackener

When did it start?

In September 2015

If you could sum your business up in one sentence, what would it be?

A revolutionary horse wearable device and app that is helping horse owners and carers optimise their horse’s health and wellbeing thanks to unprecedented insights.

Tell us a bit more about your business – what makes you different and what was the idea behind it?

The idea for the product came from Pauline Issard, one of Trackener’s co-founders during her Masters degree in Engineering. As a keen rider, she found she was always facing health problems with her horses including the loss of a loan horse to colic one night. Frustrated, she was determined to find a way to detect problems early on in order to prevent these scenarios.

TrackenerIn terms of horse wearables, Trackener is unique as it can be worn 24/7 with or without a rug and during exercise. Furthermore, data on the app can be accessed anywhere in the world, the user does not need to be with their horse to monitor their activity. The idea is that no matter how well we know our horses, we cannot be with them around the clock to take care of them and therefore Trackener helps us do this.

Your favourite product?

For everyday use, I am a big fan of Cowboy Magic Nothing gets the coat gleaming and smelling fresh like Cowboy Magic. I always get comments after I’ve used it.

Who designed your logo?

Pauline one of our co-founders designed the first logo, which was then improved thanks to the help of a graphic designer and Jeremie (the other co-founder) with lots of testing and feedback!

Which product launched the business?

Trackener Life, the all-round health care equine monitoring device and app that helps you keep an eye on your horse wherever you are. There has been another app Trackener Ride that was developed for Brooke’s ‘My Hackathon’ but we are now focused on our main product.

One thing we might not know about you?

Between the whole team, not one of us owns our own horse! We nearly all ride regularly and have owned in the past but at the moment we only share horses.

Favourite podcast?

Gastric Ulcers with Richard Hepburn featured on Horse Hour.

Best advice you’ve ever been given

You can only fail if you don’t try! The start up life is all about trial and error. Mistakes are a great learning curve and you won’t learn if you don’t try and test things out.

Favourite quote

An expert at anything was once a beginner

Brands you love

Google, we use Google for everything! and Lauria Garelli. Pauline and I both bought a lovely brown Lauria Garelli coat at Your Horse live last year without knowing the other had!

Who do you admire?

I am really captivated at the moment by Olivia Towers. I am always watching her latest vlogs with the intention of a quick glance and then end up watching the whole thing. She is very confident in what she does and makes vlogging look effortless!

Quick fire questions…..

Dogs or cats? Both!

Blogs or vlogs? Vlogs

Favourite blog/vlog? Olivia Towers Dressage

Tea of coffee? Tea

Sweet or savoury? Oh sweet – definitely!

 

Where can we find you online?

Facebook – @Trackener

Twitter – @Trackener or @ruth_box6910

Instagram – @Trackenerhorses

Website – www.trackener.com

Social media and marketing trends for 2018

social media and marketing trends for 2018For my last Haynet podcast of 2017, Sam asked me about social media and marketing trends for 2018 for equestrian and rural business. This was a fun one to do as it gave me a very good excuse to dig around the internet, to see if other bloggers and experts agreed with my thoughts. And it was very nice to read that they did. Of course, it’s hardly surprising. My personal thoughts and predictions are based on what I’ve seen over the last 12 months. And really that’s all we can do. We don’t know what amazing update Facebook might have planned. Or what Instagram might be plotting. Of course, we can look at the path the platforms have taken and the trends that we’ve seen and make educated guesses based on this. And is that enough? Well yes, I think it is. You see, we can’t predict the future, all we can do is plan the best we can using the information we have. And I hope the social media and marketing trends podcast will do that. For those who have listened and were keen to have my thoughts in written form, here they are. I would LOVE to hear your thoughts too – what do you think we’re going to see more of in the next 12 months? What marketing, social media and PR developments do you think we’ll see? I’d love to know…

Social media and marketing trends for 2018 for equestrian and rural business

The Haynet podcast is aimed at equestrian and rural businesses, and while all of the points below most definitely apply to equestrian and country businesses, I think they’re more generic in nature. Even though our businesses in this sector are niche, the big platforms aren’t. And that’s fine. Actually, it’s more than fine, it’s exciting. When looking at social media, these global platforms allow us to hook up with our niches in different countries and continents. But anyway, my thoughts on social media and marketing trends for 2018 for equestrian and rural business…

  • Digital is going to continue to grow. This is not really a crazy prediction based on everything we’ve seen over the years!
  • There will always be a place for quality magazines, but due to the online competition, only the best will rise. I think we’ll also see more of the great magazines increasing their digital and online reach.
  • Instagram will continue to grow – especially with innovations like Instagram stories, insights for business accounts, ads linked to Facebook, etc.
  • Facebook will continue to evolve, change, improve, annoy people and dominate.
  • Influencer marketing will continue to grow, but I also believe that influencers will become more professional and take their roles more seriously. And I think that those who don’t will have a much more challenging time working with brands.
  • Live Streaming is going to continue to grow. The platforms that support it love it. It’s great for engagement and connection and brings people from all corners of the globe together in one place.
  • Virtual reality and augmented reality. I think we’re going to see this become bigger too, but I don’t think it’ll be mainstream this year…
  • Video. Yep – video is big and exciting now, and I think it’s going to continue to grow. There are so amazing predictions relating to how much video content we are due to consume in the next few years.
  • Silent videos. With the increase in video, we also need to be aware that a lot of videos are enjoyed in silence, so it needs to wow in this way. And this will be more important than ever as video becomes more present on our social media feeds.
  • Shoppable social media. To make it easier for people to buy what they’re seeing.
  • Messenger platforms are going to become more commercial. 
  • Quality content will continue to win. ‘Engagement bait’ is being clamped down on, so real, quality content is the way forward.

However, let’s be honest, would you have predicted that Twitter would have doubled its character limitto 280? I wouldn’t because, to me, Twitter’s concise nature was in its DNA. So what I’m trying to say is that we’re in for an exciting year one way or another. Are you ready?!

Don’t forget to check out the Haynet Podcast where you can listen to the social media and marketing trends for 2018 podcast and a lot more besides.

A few minutes with Paula Bryan – Blades Services

Paula Bryan - Blades ServicesAh- a few minutes with IS BACK, and what a great one to kick off 2018! Today, we are spending a few minutes with the lovely Paula Bryan from Blades Services. Paula is a legend and what she doesn’t know about clipping and trimming (for horses and dogs) probably isn’t worth knowing! She’s an innovator, a real leader in this area of her industry and a thoroughly nice person too. So, without further ado, I give you Paula Bryan from Blades Services…

A few minutes with Paula Bryan from Blades Services Ltd…

Who are you? Paula Bryan

What’s your business called? Blades Services Ltd

When did it start? 2015

If you could sum your business up in one sentence, what would it be? Blades Services specialises in the repair and service of clippers, clipper blades and scissors. We are highly experienced in creating new innovative products for our audience to include professional dog groomers, horse owners and vets.

Tell us a bit more about your business – what makes you different and what was the idea behind it?  I have 35 years’ experience within the canine and equine industries. I know how my customer thinks and what products they require to run their business or interest. We try to meet all their expectations with our fast turnaround service and product offering. We work to educate our clients through educational papers and our increasing YouTube channel. One creation that I devised while sitting on the beach is The Clipit Suit. This all in one garment protects those who come into contact with animal hair, and if you clip your horse you will only know what it’s like to be uncomfortable.

Your favourite product? The Clipit Suit

Paula Bryan - Blades ServicesWho designed your logo? My designer, Brett

Which product launched the business? I purchased the sharpening and servicing side of the business from my parents, who ran it as a hobby business in their shed!

One thing we might not know about you: I have in the past ridden for England at Dressage.

Best business book: Selling the Invisible by Harry Beckwith

Best advice you’ve ever been given: Believe in yourself and take a risk

Favourite quote:  Don’t underestimate me. I know more than I say, think more than I speak and notice more than you realise.

Brands you love: Horse Health

Who do you admire? Richard Branson

 

Quick fire questions…..

Dogs or cats? Cats

Blogs or vlogs? Vlogs

Tea of coffee? Coffee

Sweet or savoury? Sweet

 

Where can we find you online?

Facebook @bladesservicesltd

Twitter @blades_services

Instagram @blades_services

Youtube: Search Blades Services

Website www.blades-services.com

Every day is a school day – don’t forget it!

every day is a school dayToday’s Wisdom Wednesday post (well, that’s why it was written but you can read it at any time you fancy!) is all about learning. Hence the ‘Every day is a school day’ title. Because it really, really is.

Every day is a school day

Have you heard this phrase before? There are many like it, but in essence ‘every day is a school day’ means that you learn something new every day. And with the speed that technology is advancing and digital opportunities are opening up, I think this phrase is the most relevant it’s ever been. If you ever hear a true guru/expert speak, or watch how they operate, self development is a huge part of their week. And that can take many forms. It might be working with a coach, attending lectures and seminars or taking part in courses. It might be reading and listening to podcasts. Investing in learning doesn’t need to cost a fortune. Far from it. In the amazing digital world that we live in, we have so much access to good, free knowledge, it can cost zero. But what it can deliver. Well, that can be priceless.

Should you invest in your own learning?

Yes. I could end this paragraph here but that would be a bit of a rubbish one, wouldn’t it? Taking time to learn new things and to try and test them is essential if you want to move your business on. I’m not saying you should throw your life savings at it. In all honestly, you don’t need to. Your investment could be time and zero funds if they’re not available to you. Yes, you do have to look a bit harder and up your ‘crap’ filter settings in your head (I can’t be the only one that has this?!), but you can learn and improve what you do for zero cost. Yes. Zero. There’s a wealth of FREE material out there for whatever business you’re in and whatever skill you’re trying to hone. You will need to put in the legwork and find good sources of information. This can be a bit vexing. Because it’s so easy to get yourself a platform online, it means anyone can. And while there are many (many, many) sources of great information online, there are some people I wouldn’t trust to sit on the toilet the right way around. You need to look out for those. But just keep your spider senses on and listen to what they’re telling you and you should be fine.

I’m not saying you shouldn’t pay to learn either – far from it. As someone who takes part in paid for courses, works with a coach and reads a lot of purchased books, I believe in paying to ‘play’ or at least supplementing your free learning with paid for. I also believe that paid for advice and knowledge (when it is from the right person) is usually better because it’s been pre-filtered, tried and tested… but that’s a whole different blog!

How do you learn?

Well, this depends on you. Some people are visual learners, some learn best through listening to things, it’s completely up to you. You need to find the style that suits you and how you learn. And also, make it fit with your life. A friend of mine embraced podcasts and audiobooks in a big way as the time she spent on the road increased, so she could make the best use of this ‘dead’ time. Personally, I often have a podcast on in the background when I’m working on something a little less creative, and I went through a phase of listening to audiobooks when I walked the dog (something I need to start again!). I also LOVE reading, and proper books at that, so I indulge in a little Amazon based retail therapy more than I would like to admit. And video is a big one too, depending on the skill you’re trying to learn. Have a play around and see what works for you.