I spent twenty years working for big multinational corporations. From 7 am to 7 pm, and for most weekends, I was dedicated to the business. I had this intense drive to achieve significant business results and to ensure my team created great marketing plans and campaigns. Along with it came promotions and bonuses.
But what also came were big sacrifices.
I would come home exhausted and couldn’t find the time to think about anything else.
There were times when I went out for coffee with friends who were working on interesting businesses and I felt completely lost. I had no idea what else was out there in the world beyond the scope of my own work.
I was missing out on learning new skills that interested me because I was too focused on the tasks that were in front of me.
Then I lost my job. After the initial devastation and the rollercoaster of emotions and inner thoughts, such as “what am I going to do for the rest of my life?” and “I’m not good enough” and “I don’t have any skills to do anything interesting,” I got over it and started to act.
I spent hours researching what kind of businesses and roles were out there in the world. I had an insatiable curiosity for work that I had no idea it existed because I didn’t take the time to explore my curiosity.
I read work from creators of online businesses – people who built education tools and apps to make work tasks easier; or lawyers who became photographers; or sales people who became fitness coaches.
Since that time, both Troy and I have learned an infinite number of new skills that landed us freelance jobs, and projects we were excited to work on.
But you may be asking: Don’t you both have years of experience already?
Sure, we do. We both have twenty years of expertise in the field of marketing (Dorene) and TV editing (Troy). But we didn’t have experience in the areas we wanted to work in, such as in the travel industry, nor did we have a clue how to run an online business or a website. We learned those ourselves.
When am I going to find the time?
There are few things we can control in our lives, and one of them is knowledge.
I owed it to myself to work on my own development, in order to work projects that excited me. Whenever I made time to start a module of an online course, or read up on a business idea I was energized and it encouraged me to do more.
Troy and I are solely responsible for what we know and what we don’t know.
Our new skills in developing a website, photography, making travel videos, and writing have all landed us freelance writing gigs, travel video work, and editing jobs.
Here are some Online tools we regularly use to improve our skill sets:
1. Lynda.com – This site has thousands of hours of online courses where you can learn creative, business and technology skills. Plus, these courses are often updated. I learned how to run a WordPress website, to maximize our YouTube channel for videos, Search Engine Optimization, and to improve the editing of our photos. It’s highly interactive with videos and oodles of content. The benefit of this learning system is, once you sign up, you have access to any course.
2. Creative Live – Our new favorite learning site. Over 1,100 on demand courses for business, marketing, photography, art and design, writing, social media, productivity, you name it. We are currently taking a photography course through this program, and enjoying the video course immensely.
3. YouTube – Your best free tool to get you started. There are thousands of videos about topics to improve your skills and better yet, to help you if you get stuck. I’ve had problems with our website and searched YouTube to help find solutions to problems. YouTube also has numerous courses if you subscribe to certain YouTube channels. They have many materials for learning although they are not as structured or organized as Creative Live or Lynda.com.
4. Meeting people doing things YOU are interested in: If you spend time connecting with people who work in a line of work that you may be interested in, it’s amazing what you can learn from them. I sat down with individuals who were running online businesses, leading tech start-ups, creating courses for social media for online students, and running web development sites. I learned a heck of a lot from just a few conversations over coffee, not to mention, getting completely excited about the possibilities for my own life!
Maybe you aspire to create a travel blog, or learn travel writing, photography or travel videos, here are some learning tools for you. Perhaps you can even get your next vacation paid for, with your new skills:
5. Travel Blog Success – It has step-by-step topics and webinars on how to start and build a travel blog. I particularly enjoy their webinars that interview the masters in the travel blogging world, who provide real world examples and steps on landing work opportunities in the tourism industry, the community is also helpful with questions and solutions.
6. Travel Blog Breakthrough – An excellent website by Travel Blogger Will Tang. He tests and tries different methods with apps and software to help demystify technology. I have learned more about affiliate marketing and how to better leverage social media through this website.
7. Matador U – This is an online travel media course for writing, photography and filmmaking. Not only are these excellent courses, you become part of a community that also hires students for freelance work, and press trips. I am currently taking the writing course while Troy is brushing up his skills in photography.
So, come on, what do you want to learn?
What’s stopping you?
You never know what may come out of learning new skills.
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Dorene is a marketing consultant and freelance writer. She quit her 20-year career in marketing to redesign her career and lifestyle on her own terms by living location independent. Now with her husband Troy, she helps people who want to redefine their midlife and make conscious changes at TravelLifeX. She also trains & coaches travel and hospitality clients to improve their marketing at TravelLifeMedia.com