Step 3 - Learning New Skills

Now that we slowly achieving the right mindset and know what our mission in life is, we need to start to take action and learn the right skills that are necessary to become more successful.

The following skills cannot be learned in a day and you have to put continuous effort into improving them.

But in the end you will have them for life.

Skill #1 – Learn “How to win friends and influence people”

This is probably the most legendary How-To headline in history. Successful design entrepreneurs need to learn how to communicate with people by developing empathy and understanding what their motivation is.
If you can master the art of communication it will not only help you in the world of business, but also in your personal life.
Here is a list of resources you can checkout to learn more about this topic:

  1. How to win friends and influence people 
  2. How to get people to do stuff
  3. The power of charm

Skill #2 – Learn the power of networking

Successful people know that they rely on other people for help and therefore they leverage the power of networking to achieve their goals. The term “networking” might have a bad taste because many people go in with a mindset of “what’s in for me”. This is a mindset that you cannot hide and sooner or later other people will find out.

Relationships are like boiling water. If you don’t put energy into it, the water will cool down. You should see networking as a marathon rather than a short sprint. Just exchanging business cards at an event is not networking.

True networking is about creating strong bonds and relationships and helping others to achieve their goals. It is not about YOU, it is about your counterpart and what you can do for them without having ulterior motives. There is no place for egocentric personalities.

I can highly recommend Never Eat Alone by Keith Ferrazzi if you want to learn more about this topic.

Skill #3 – Learn marketing

No matter what business you’re in, you must learn marketing.
And studying marketing teaches a mindset of putting the customer’s emotional reality first that will serve you no matter what you do.

How to learn Marketing?
There is nothing better than learning directly from successful people. I got this tip from “the education of millionaires” Go to their websites and sign up for their newsletters. Study their website, analyze the structure and wording they use and ask yourself, why does it work?

Every once in a while they will also send you newsletters with free resources, tips and tricks
You can learn so much from it without paying a single dime.

Set up a special email address or create a smart folder in your inbox so you won’t get all marketing emails mixed with your private emails.

Here is a list to start with:

  1. Copyblogger – This resource is heaven to learn about copywriting with 16 free ebooks
  2. Seth Godin – The Master of modern marketing
  3. Marie Forleo – A powerful woman with a lot of personality and story telling
  4. Frank Kern – great resource to learn direct response marketing
  5. Ramit Sethi – he will teach you to be rich
  6. Smart Passive Income – Pat Flynn is the crash test dummy for online business

Skill #4 – Learn about sales

This is the part were almost everyone fails at the start. Especially designers who care very much about the product. You can have the best designed product in the world, but if you cannot sell it your business will not survive for long.

The goal for every successful business is to sell products in order to reinvest the money for growth. If you can’t earn any money, what’s the point of having a business then, right?

  1. Sales is not about manipulating people
  2. Sales is not making people buy stuff they don’t need and that will also not lead to long term success -> this is scamming
  3. Sales is about starting a simple and honest conversation with customers and gain a deeply understanding of their motivation, fears and problems
  4. Sales is about building long term trust with customers
  5. Sales is also about saying NO if the product if the product is not the right one for the customer

Sales and marketing should go hand in hand. But no matter what business you’re in, you will not get around copywriting because email is the communication tool #1 today and you need to learn how to engage and convert people to customers using powerful headlines and great storytelling.

The resources listed in the marketing section are great for the start but if you want to learn more about marketing, Spin selling is a good read.

Skill #5 – Learn to create your own Brand

In the internet era where customers can only interact with you through a website, creating trust becomes more and more difficult. Therefore you need to invest time in building your own brand so customers know who they are dealing with and who is behind the product.

Your brand is basically what people think when they hear your name. With your brand you will have the chance to create a positive impression of you when customers google you.

Since YOU are also a customer for other products, imagine yourself going to website where you cannot find out anything about the creator of the product. Does it create trust for you?

Creating your own brand also benefits you in the long run even if you work for a company because your brand will follow you for life even when you change the company or start your own business.

Your brand should be original and authentic. Tell your own story and don’t be afraid of saying something you believe in. Nothing is worse than people who don’t have an opinion and always go with the flow.

How to create your own brand?

  1. A website with yourname.com is a great start. You can set up a website easily with squarespace if you don’t have any experience in creating websites.
  2. Go to places where people can find you: Twitter, Linkedin, Medium etc. (important: you shouldn’t only sign up for the sake of having a profile but be actively involved and create content)
  3. Get involved in the community -> Networking
  4. Create a google trail for people to find you easily.

Action Steps

Alright, here is a quick summary of the steps you need to take but keep in mind that all skills are important and necessary to improve.

  1. Build a website for your own brand first
  2. Sign up for newsletters to learn from successful people about marketing
  3. Learn copywriting along the way for sales
  4. Practice marketing and sales with your own website
  5. Read “How to win friends and influence people” & “Never Eat Alone” to prepare for events where you connect with people and tell them about yourself -> building your brand