Something I’ve learned since launching Olivia Jenkins Consulting that has really stood out to me is the importance of one crucial skill: self-education.

I consider earning my MBA in Marketing to be one of my greatest accomplishments to date, and I can’t even put into words how much my degree has taught me — but I’ve also come to realise that the secret to growing a successful business is not necessarily what’s taught to you, but what you teach yourself, and that self-education can take on many, many forms.

Part of what I believe has lended to Olivia Jenkins Consulting’s success is the fact that as a CEO, I am constantly learning. My formal education is just one piece of the puzzle — I also dedicate my spare time to constant self-development and discovery.

The way I approach self-education is quite intentional. I like to think about areas of life where I might want to improve, whether that’s in business or as a mum and member of my family. Are there skills I can foster to be more productive? What might help me better reach my goals? I ask myself these questions and then dedicate time and energy into actually coming up with the answers.

If you’re looking to start self-educating but aren’t sure where to begin, there are so many options depending on your personality, budget, and goals. 

Formal Education

Though somebody is technically “teaching” you when you receive a formal education in a subject, you’re still putting in the effort to study and learn the material. This is naturally one of the most time-consuming and expensive options for self-education, and that’s because in many cases it qualifies you for certain business opportunities. It also is a wonderful addition to your CV.

If you don’t want to seek a formal education on a traditional university campus, there are endless options available to you online. You can get your MBA from the comfort of your living room if that’s what you’re after (I promise that won’t make it any easier, though!).

Workshops & Trainings

Online workshops and video trainings are short and immersive forms of self-education. These are great options if you’re looking to gain knowledge about a specific topic without having to make a big time commitment or financial investment. There are workshops available online about basically any topic you can think of – a quick Google search will prove it! I particularly find the workshop format helpful when it comes to mindset work and step-by-step strategy breakdown.

DIY Digital Courses

Self-paced courses are becoming more popular than ever, and I can see why — if you’re a self-starter who prefers to facilitate your own learning, courses allow you to do just that, and usually offer a very comprehensive breakdown of a given topic. What I like about courses is that even when they target a general topic, like business growth, they’re broken down into modules that make it simple to understand the exact components that will lend to success in whatever area you’re trying to improve. DIY courses also usually don’t come at as high of a financial investment as working with a mentor directly.

Work With An Expert

I believe that when you invest in working with an expert, you’re investing in a form of self-education. One of my main goals as a business consultant & coach is to use my 10+ years of expertise to help TEACH my clients how they can achieve success. I walk them through proven strategies, explain concepts they have trouble understanding, and show them the techniques that allow me to understand their business so thoroughly. When my clients invest in me, they’re investing in a business education as well — and I believe the same goes for anybody who hires a 1:1 mentor they trust, whether that person is a consultant or coach. (If you’d like to learn from an expert digital marketer, see what I have to offer on my services page, or you can book a free 15 minute discovery call to discuss your options.)

Consume Meaningful Content

Everybody has a preference about how they consume content, which is why I’m here to tell you that it doesn’t matter if you like to read books, listen to podcasts, do research on the Internet, or watch documentaries — all that matters is that you’re actively seeking out meaningful, educational content that will help you improve. I’m a big reader, so I love to dig into business and self-development books in my spare time (you can check out what’s on my bookshelf this June here!), but I also know there are so many great business and productivity-focused podcasts, blogs, and Youtube videos out there.

Attend a Conference

Business conferences not only foster community and connection, they also encourage learning. When you’re surrounded by other like-minded business owners who you respect and admire, it’s hard not to learn a few new things. Business conferences may not have been an option recently due to COVID-19, but as things improve on a global scale, I trust that they’ll be widely available within the next year or so. Business conferences can be expensive and they do require a commitment (and occasionally even travel time), which is why I recommend doing your research and choosing a conference you feel energetically aligned with. The results are worth the effort!

I know that self-educating in addition to running your business and managing life at home may seem like yet another commitment to worry about, but I encourage you to think about it as a form of self-care. Choose one or two goals you’d like to nurture and then come up with a plan as to how you’ll self-educate in those areas. For example, if you’re interested in becoming more productive, you might read up on creating effective habits or developing a solid routine for your day. 

When you start seeing the results of choosing to self-educate, your entire mindset will shift and you’ll begin to love learning simply for the sake of learning — because it’s OKAY to not know everything, and it’s important that we remember that and even embrace it.

Now, put your pen to paper and start planning your next self-education session. You’ll be happy you did!