In most industry sectors, employees get sent on various training courses as part of their continuing professional development (CPD).
Whether run internally or by external providers, these courses all share something in common. They’re designed to:
- Enhance your knowledge
- Help you learn new skills or update existing ones
- Bring you up to speed with the latest developments in your chosen field
- Boost your business confidence
CPD and the self-employed
So what happens when people leave employment to start their own business?
More often than not, training and other forms of professional development take a back seat.
Not because people don’t think it’s important any more. It’s usually because they think they can’t ‘afford’ to take the time out of running their own business to grow and learn.
However, as IPSE points out, can you afford NOT to?
Freelancers, contractors and consultants are in demand not only for our flexibility but also for our expertise. In this rapidly changing world, it’s essential that we keep this expertise up to date if it’s to remain relevant and valued. If we don’t, we risk losing out on potential work to those who do.
According to Mark Godfrey, director of training provider QA Ltd:
The demand for highly skilled and agile workforces is now constant. Gone are the days of ‘learn once, do forever’. Today’s employment market demands individuals to be fluid, adaptable and continuous when it comes to their professional development.
Plenty of CPD options open to you
The good news is that there are many different types of formal and informal CPD available to those who are self-employed, including:
- Traditional training courses (residential or a single day/half day)
- Online courses using webinars/video recordings (often supported by a closed Facebook group)
- Presentations/workshops at networking events
- Reading (books, blogs)
- Listening (podcasts)
- Watching (videos)
The most important thing is to work out what suits you – not only your business, your lifestyle and your budget, but also your preferred style of learning.
For example, I much prefer to read articles than to listen to podcasts or watch videos, although I do make an exception for TED Talks.
Practising what I preach
I’m a big believer in CPD, which I view as an integral part of my business plans.
So every year I get involved in a mixture of training courses and events, either aimed at small business owners in general or copywriters in particular.
This year I’ve already been to, participated in or signed up for the following:
- Women in Business Conference
- SEO Content Writing: Step-by-Step
- Spaghetti Social Media Summer Camp
- ‘Blogging for Business’ at The Connexion Warwick
- ‘Google Analytics’ at Socially Shared
- Copy Cabana Copywriting Conference
In addition, I spend a LOT of time reading blog posts, mostly from fellow copywriters, digital marketers, SEO experts and leading linguists.
So, next time you see a course or event that catches your eye, instead of thinking “Hmm, that looks interesting but…” remember this:
After all, it’s not just about what you and your business stand to gain from CPD… it’s what you stand to lose if you don’t do it!
Over to you
If you’re self-employed, are you a fan of CPD or do you think it’s a waste of time/effort/money? How do you like to learn? Any methods I’ve missed out here?
(Brain image by yodiyim courtesy of Freedigitalphotos.net / Successful people image courtesy of wittyfeed.com)