3 Important Business Skills They Don’t Teach You in School

3 Important Business Skills They Don’t Teach You in School

History is filled with thousands of examples of entrepreneurs who changed the world without any formal education. In recent years, most of us knew about Steve Jobs’ exit from the Ivy League to pursue his dreams. But I am not about to rest on one side of the debate or the other.

The fact is that a formal education will bring you up-to-speed on the latest develops, and history, of your chosen field. In addition, your dedication to post-secondary education will help you to create business networks that it will take decades to re-create without the college / university environment.

Related: 5 Skills Every Successful Entrepreneur Must Master

Regardless of your personal opinion of formal education’s role in business success and entrepreneurial endeavors, here are three skills that you will not learn in school but are crucially important to your success as an entrepreneur / founder.

1. Communicating 

Entrepreneur are only as successful as their ability to explain their vision. Communicating with other people is likely the most important skill of any entrepreneur. Knowing when to communicate — and when not to — is the difference between the business have’s and have-nots.

Your communication skills will be needed in every aspect of your job.  You will have to inspire your employees with your words, build confidence with your investors and explain your actions to your shareholders.

Now, make sure that you are not committing the worst sin of communicating. I have consulted for CEO’s in the past who fancied themselves as great communicators, however, what they really did was run over people and talk everyone around them into submission. I have seen executives who waste hours of time over-talking in meetings. They feel like they have to be heard and over-explain everything. They do not let others get heard and, as a result, end up creating a suppressive environment, where other people’s thoughts never get heard.

Do yourself a favor and find a good mentor or executive coach to help you do a personal check and work on increasing your communication skills. You can never be a good enough communicator.

Related: Whether You’re Starting a Business or Not, It Pays to Think Like an Entrepreneur

2. Multitasking

As an entrepreneur, you are going to be expecting to know everything, about every part, of your endeavor. In the early days, you will be the “chief cook and bottle washer.” As your enterprise grows, so to will your personal tasks.

In the early days, you will have to run the company and take care of shipping / receiving. As your business grows, your tasks will change, and you will still have a multitude of them. If you are lucky enough to get into the big leagues, you will eventually get to manage your business and your shareholders at the same time.

Regardless of the stage, you will need to be involved in many different things at the same time. You have no choice — so get good at it! I have never met a successful big-league founder or CEO who didn’t have a great handle on time management and keeping important things — like family and health — in perspective. Again, if you are struggling in this area, hire a coach or consultant to help you.

3. Attention to detail

We’ve all heard the old saying — “The devil is in the details.” I personally believe it would be better to say, “Your ultimate success is in the details.” Managing details is likely the most important skill of any successful business person.

People who are weak in this area will tend to ignore the details. They will categorize them as “little things.” But if you let enough “little things” build up, they will turn into a “big thing.” Big things kill businesses! As the primary of your own business, you need to become an expert (and example to others) of how to deal with the details.

Examples of important details are reviewing, and understanding, your daily financial reports, emailing your key people with little “thank-yous” for a job well done, managing email in general and about 1000 more things.

If you are struggling in any of these areas, you already know it. Let this little piece be your slap in the face. Your company, and employees, are depending on you to make the venture successful. The fastest way to improve these skills is to hire one of the many awesome management consultants or coaches that are available.

Related: Embrace Change: The 4 Skills Needed to Reinvent Yourself

I have hired several consultants to help me in my career. I have also been hired to help CEOs in major corporations. The biggest reason to consider improving yourself and hiring help is that it is very hard to determine what is holding you back. Its much easier for someone who you trust to help you.

Source: www.entrepreneur.com

The best places to do freelance design work

The best places to do freelance design work

Home studio, shared space, Starbucks or somewhere else? We weigh up the pros and cons of the different places to do your freelance design work.

When you’re a freelance designer, your working environment is vitally important to your creative success. And everyone is different in what they want from a space.

Some prefer the convenience of walking into a home studio straight from the bedroom without a comb in sight. Others prefer to be in a creatively-inspiring place: perhaps a studio that rents out desks or a dedicated shared space. Some will even happily sit in coffee shops all day, although those people will probably end up a little caffeine charged.

Here we look at the most common places to do freelance work and discuss the pros and cons of each.

01. The home studio

Web designer Shane Mielke’s workspace sits in the corner of his 800sq ft ‘Mancave’

Working at home can be great. There’s no need to worry about getting into work, you’re familiar with your surroundings and you can look exactly how you want without a) offending anyone, or b) worrying about wearing trousers.

You can also tailor your environment to your exact needs – if you have a small studio you can fill it with vinyl toys, posters, tees or whatever takes your fancy. It’s your own personal space and no one can come over and tell you to tidy it up (well, except maybe your partner).

Leaving the house

What you’ll probably miss, though, is the stimulation of getting outside and see somewhere other than the same four walls – so it’s important to build this into your routine.

Sam Gibley creates his amazing portraits in the comfort of his own home

“When I am working from home, an important part of my daily ritual is leaving the house, going for a walk and getting some coffee before I ‘commute’ back to the office,” says Sam Gilbey, an artist and illustrator best known for his incredible digital portraits. “This gives me some thinking and planning time, plus chance to catch up with a few emails and admin tasks, knowing that when I’m home, I can be fully focused on the creative work that needs to be done.”

02. The shared studio

Design strategy and user experience guru Josh Clark does much of his work at the shared office Studio Mates in Brooklyn

At home you can get as much peace and quiet as you like, which can help improve your productivity. But some designers can’t work that way: they crave the social interaction and creative stimulation that  a shared studio can provide.

“I couldn’t work without a studio,” says freelance graphic designer, illustrator and artist Tom Sewell. “I’ve worked from home and found motivation next to impossible. It’s vital for me to have a space to go to that’d devoted entirely to my work, where I can put stuff on the wall and keep my books and all my stuff/treasure/extensive postcard collection. It’s good to share your space and endeavours with other people, you can motivate and encourage each other all week and then drink beer on a Friday.”

Tom Sewell prefers to produce his beautiful illustrations in a shared space

Working in such an environment enables you to bounce ideas off other creatives. Sewell currently works in a shared studio space with three other artists – Bobby from Telegramme and Nic and Will of Nous Vous and prefers this small number of people to a larger one.

“I’ve worked in a space with 25 different people all with a desk space and found it quite distracting,” he explains. “Too many comings and goings. Four people feels right for me – enough to share thoughts with without too many distractions.”

03. A bit of both

Sometimes you can’t nail it down to one place. And if you can afford it, being able to use both can be extremely beneficial. “I personally like to work between a combination of studio desk and home studio,”  says all-round creative guru Anna Mullins aka Sneaky Raccoon.

Anna Mullins does her design work both at home and in a shared workspace

“In the shared studio space there are always people around you who you can pose questions to about your potential projects, you can have a chat and think differently away from the confines of other distractions of the home studio such as household chores. But sometimes the opposite happens – interactions become distractions. So I like getting a bit of time away from studio buddies in the home studio.

“I can be messier at home too,” she adds, “especially if I am doing a creative hands on project with paint or fabrics.”

04. The coffee shop

Coffee chains like Starbucks are usually laptop-friendly

We’ve all seen creatives beavering away on their freelance design work in Starbucks (other coffee shops are available). The cost of the coffee is a small price to pay for a change of scene and a burst of caffeinated energy, there are usually plenty of available power outlets and free WiFi, and we’ve yet to hear of anyone being turned away for setting up shop in the middle of a chain cafe (if you’ve had that experience we’d love to hear from you).

Illustrator Andrew Groves finds coffee shops a good place to come up with ideas

However, it’s also unusual to hear of designers spending their entire time in a coffee shop: it’s more of a temporary escape from cabin fever. While it can be a good place to do admin tasks or idea generation, plus any design work (coding, for example) that can be done on a laptop or notebook, anything beyond that is a bit of a stretch. We have seen people setting their printers up in coffee shops – but it’s rare.

“For me it’s a case of variety,” says freelance illustrator Andrew Groves. “When coming up with ideas I tend to work best away from my computer. [But] when it comes to creating final work I prefer to work at my desk at home as anywhere else has too many distractions.”

05. Spare desk at an agency

Free desks are going spare at top agencies right now!

Every considered asking a design agency whether they have a spare desk they can rent? It’s not something that would occur to most people, so London-based designer Nick Crouch has launched, a Open Studio Club is an online service that aims to help creative people find and rent space in existing agencies offices. Check out what’s available in your area on their website.

Short of cash? Then you’re in luck. The same site is currently running a campaign asking creative agencies to offer a free desk in their studio to new talent. (That’s completely free and not in exchange for work, by the way). Several big-name design agencies, including Poke, Base and HORT are signed up – you’ll find full details here.

Source: www.creativebloq.com