During this COVID-19 period, I’ve found myself with more time on my hands. Movie theaters are closed. Shops are shut down. Unless you like drive-thrus, your options are limited. And while things have slowly started to reopen, there’s still the risk of a second wave forcing everyone back inside again.
While I dread being stuck at home all the time, I’ve found myself taking a look at areas in my life where I could improve. I have dedicated my extra time to professional growth, and it hasn’t been easy.
Like many of you, I’ve had moments where I felt like I was going to lose it because of all the things that I’ve had to miss or cancel this year. I miss hanging out with friends and family. I miss sitting down at a restaurant. If it weren’t for the 100º temperatures outside, I might have not known it was summer.
While I’m still very disappointed in how this year has been going thus far, it isn’t without some bright spots. This time has forced me to look at things that I’m currently doing and level up. It’s the ideal opportunity to fit in some professional growth and hone skills that I haven’t used as much as I like.
Instead of feeling down about the way things are, why not take the opportunity to level up your professional skills? The following are three types of resources that I’ve been using to level up that you should be using as well.
1. Online Courses
I’m a huge fan of online education when it is done right. The cost is typically lower because the overhead to create the material is much less. You can learn from great teachers even if you don’t live in a big city. You can learn at your own pace and also rewatch courses until you get concepts down.
Some of my favorite online resources are Teamtreehouse and Udemy. Teamtreehouse is an online subscription service that has wonder instructors that focus on programming and design. I’ve spent much of my free time these past few months working on their learning tracks.
Overall the service is wonderful and I’d highly recommend them for anyone looking to become a developer or for business professionals who want to upgrade their skills.
The other platform I’ve been utilizing is Udemy. It can be hit or miss in terms of content, but when you find the right teachers, you can learn quite a bit. Some of my favorites on this platform are Colt Steele, Brad Traversy, and a few others.
The courses are sold individually and you can often find them on sale for the cost of lunch. The topics range from photography to software to development and you are sure to find something that could help you level up.
There are dozens of other courses out there you can take. Teachable is always a popular format, whether you’re looking for guidance on marketing, business development, content, or anything else you can think of.
Another great resource is HubSpot. HubSpot’s Learning Center provides dozens of free online courses you can take any time to grow your understanding of inbound marketing. If you’re interested, ROI Online is also offering an ROI QuickStart Academy to teach you how to execute our marketing and sales strategies on your own.
Podcasts provide excellent information on a wide range of topics. The long-form content is perfect for when you need to passively listen and learn while you are doing things around the house or working on projects for work.
While some are purely for entertainment, there are several out there that focus on personal development or other topics. Many authors now produce podcasts so if there are some authors out there that you enjoy, be sure to see if they have a podcast that coincides with their books.
I’ve found several that I enjoy on a regular basis and the majority of the ones that I listen to now dive deeper into the lessons that are taught in the author’s books. For entrepreneurs, these are some of the most popular podcasts:
- How I Built This: In this podcast, Guy Raz shares the stories behind some of the world's biggest companies. It’s a great way to get a behind-the-scenes look at the people who built the companies we respect the most.
- The Tim Ferris Show: Tim Ferris’s podcast has been ranked no. 1 business podcast on all of Apple Podcasts among other awards. In each episode, Tim interviews leaders in investing, sports, business, and art.
- Startup: Starting a business is hard work. Startup is interesting because it sheds light on the unique challenges entrepreneurs face, many of which you can probably relate to.
- Planet Money: The economy can be complex, but it’s important to understand what’s going on with our country’s finances, especially if you’re a business owner. The Planet Money Podcast does just that.
- The ROI Online Podcast: Small business owners have some of the best stories. On this podcast, Steve interviews business leaders and skilled marketers from all walks of life, talking about everything from mental health and video to the best burger places in Texas.
Now is a great time to hit the books. I don’t care if you are currently in school or not: You should be a student for life. With all of the time that we have now, you should have no excuses for not getting in some reading time.
Companies like Amazon make ordering physical books a breeze. If you are a fan of audiobooks their service Audible might be a good solution for you as well. You can also order books from Barnes & Nobel or, if you’re brave, test out the library once it reopens.
I highly recommend Storyworthy: Engage, Teach, Persuade, and Change Your Life through the Power of Storytelling. I’ve always been a fan of storytelling, which is one of the reasons I fit in so well with ROI Online, but I also see the role storytelling plays in our lives outside of the office.
This book is fascinating because it tells you how to use storytelling beyond marketing or entertainment. Even if you feel like you don’t have a good story to tell, you’ll learn how to construct, polish, and share stories that will hold the attention of any audience.
There's No Better Time To Level Up
During these times it’s important for all of us to utilize our time wisely. Although COVID-19 has been devastating to the global economy and society as a whole, if we choose to level up during this time we will be so far ahead once things get better.
If you’re looking for more ways to grow your business knowledge during these challenging times, be sure to get a copy of Steve Brown’s new book, The Golden Toilet. It’s pretty affordable, but you can get it for free with a 30-Day Trial Version of Audible to save even more.