Deciding to start your own business can be one of the most remarkable decisions that you will ever make. If you take it seriously and will be consistent with it, sooner or later, you will succeed. This means being able to work from home, spending more time with the people you love and having the sense of fulfillment that not many get from a regular nine to five job.
However, if you ever do decide to take the entrepreneurial road, you will require a set of skills you need to learn in order to become successful. The majority of these skills, unfortunately, are not taught in school, college or university. Trust me on this one, it’s coming from someone with a Bachelor of business administration degree. I know, it’s sad, but it’s true.
Without further ado, please find below the list of top 10 skills you need to learn that will help you become successful as a business owner in this modern day and age. These skills are something that I have found to be absolutely essential for myself, as well as I see them talked about a lot by some of the most successful people of the world.
1. Basic programming skills
The first of the ten skills you need to learn is the basics of coding and website building. Why? Because, as an entrepreneur, you will have your own website or blog. And while you don’t need to become a pro developer, knowing the basics will save you a lot of time and money.
Luckily for me, I worked as WordPress developer for some time, so I am able to design my own blog and save money. But I see how much trouble people are having that know absolutely nothing about code or WordPress. As a matter of fact, many people fear creating their own blog because they think it will be too difficult. But that can’t be further from the truth. With WordPress, for instance, you really don’t even need to code. As long as you know how the platform works and what it is capable of, you will be able to solve some of the most basic problems on your own, instead of paying hundreds of dollars to a web developer for a very simple job.
Moreover, if you know at least something about HTML and web design, you will be able to explain to your web developer what exactly is it that you want. Having worked as a web developer myself, I know that one of the biggest problems that people have is that they don’t even know what exactly they want their developer to do for them.
To learn the basics of web development, you can check out Udemy (HTML). They have a lot of great courses that are easy to follow.
“My number one piece of advice is: you should learn how to program.”
– Mark Zuckerberg
2. Effective communication
The second of ten skills you need to learn is your ability to communicate.
If you want other people to really understand what is it that you are telling them, then you must know how to effectively communicate your thoughts.
I have always been aware of the fact that I needed improvement in communication, especially when it was about public speaking. Not only I would mumble a lot during my presentations, but I would also get anxious to the point where I couldn’t sleep properly the nights before.
Nevertheless, because I knew I had a problem and because I truly believe that we are always able to make ourselves better, I joined Toastmasters. Toastmasters are basically groups of people all over the world that practice their public speaking skills. You can find your own local Toastmasters group through Meetup.
I know I still have a long way to go before I become good in communicating, but at least my voice doesn’t shake anymore when speaking.
3. Financial management
The third of the ten skills you need to learn is financial management.
No matter what business you will start, you will need to understand money. This includes profit margins, income taxation, regional sales taxes, VAT if doing business in the EU, and many other. Of course, you will have your accountant help you with these, but it is absolutely crucial that you have some basic understanding of these things before you really get into self-employment. Not understanding these numbers well enough in advance may really catch you off guard and slow down your business due to financial losses.
Not so long time ago, I began to sell physical products via the Amazon FBA platform. And despite having a great online course to guide me through the process, there was a huge learning curve for me to overcome, mostly related to finances. I learned all of it anyway, but it would have been a lot less stressful if I would have known more about it beforehand.
The fourth of the ten skills you need to learn is copywriting.
Copywriting is one of the most basic skills that any entrepreneur must be good at. Simply put, it’s the ability to write in such a way that it gets your readers to take some sort of action. Usually, this comes in a form of an email or web page in which a marketer is trying to sell you some product or service.
Many think that this skill is not important, but the reality is that if you are not able to create a quality sales copy, you will hardly sell anything. A good sales copy can convert website visitors into customers, while a badly written sales copy can even turn away people that were at first willing to buy your product.
Keep in mind that professional copywriters can get really expensive, so it’s good to start studying this craft and practicing it already today. In my opinion, this is also a great way to learn about the consumer psychology. Again, something that you will never be taught at a traditional business school.
5. Image editing
To be honest, I didn’t think at first that image editing would be a necessary skill for me to have. However, the reality of things is that I have been editing images for the last two years almost weekly. When you become an entrepreneur, there will always be an image to edit. The image editing may be for your website, social networks or even for your products and services.
Of course, you can use cheap services, such as Fiverr to have your images edited, which is what I often use, but in the long run, you will want to learn at least the basics of this skill. I began with a free photo editing software called Gimp, but eventually transitioned to the more advanced Photoshop.
The sixth of the ten skills you need to learn is related to web development, but not quite. SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization, and is absolutely essential to understand if you have your own website. Knowing how to optimize your website correctly will allow it to rank better in Google and other search engines. Better ranking in search engines means more exposure, more exposure means more traffic to your blog/website, and more traffic means more sales and faster growth of your business.
As you can see, SEO is really an essential skill to own in this modern world of computers. Without it, you are allowing your competitors to pass you without a fight.
Again, if you want to learn more about SEO, you can find various courses on Udemy (SEO).
7. Social networks
Today, one of the best ways to get exposure is through social networks. Yep, not everyone uses Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to post cute pictures of kittens. Some companies use it to reach millions of people, and they do it quite successfully. One way to do it is to create ad campaigns, which is something we see today more and more on social networks. Why? Because it helps you find the perfect customer, someone that has already specified that they are interested in what you’ve got to offer them.
For example, maybe your business is about selling real estate courses in the Vancouver area. You can create a Facebook page for your business, and then promote it to people that are geographically located in the Vancouver area and are interested in real estate.
Social networks are extremely powerful, are absolutely essential today for your business, and offer you many different ways in which your business can get more visibility.
The eighth of the ten skills you need to learn is all about PPC.
PPC advertising is similar to social network advertising, but a lot more complex. It’s really a beast of its own that you can spend a lot of time perfecting. Remember, the better you get at PPC, the more success your ads will have.
Moreover, advertising today is dirt cheap compared to the old days. Just think about how much easier and affordable this can be, as opposed to the old days, when it was done primarily through the TV, radio, magazines and bulletin boards. It’s safe to say that PPC is something that your business will be using sooner or later, regardless of whether it is accomplished through social networks, Google, Amazon or any other.
Once again, for PPC, check out Udemy (PPC).
The ninth of the ten skills you need to learn is related to strategy.
Strategizing is something you probably won’t hear many talk about when it comes to learning a new skill in the context of entrepreneurship. Nonetheless, being able to create a good strategy is a big part of entrepreneurship.
A strategy can either make or break your business. If your strategy has been poorly thought through, you will struggle, make a lot of mistakes and risk having a failed business idea. But if you plan your business strategy well in advance and really take your time with it, then you have a lot more chances of succeeding.
When starting, I didn’t really take strategizing seriously. But now that I have seen what works well for me and doesn’t, I understand that so many mistakes could have been avoided if only I would have spent more time on researching and weighing up all the pros and cons. I can’t stress enough the importance of strategy.
Recommended for reading: Shiny Object Syndrome – Why and How to Avoid It at All Costs
10. Be resourceful, proactive, adaptable and curious
The last of the ten skills you need to learn has nothing to do with being technical, but rather with your state of mind.
While knowing how to create a website and write a good sales copy is beneficial, most of your success will come from who you are, rather than from what you do. You can have all the skills you want, but if you are not able to see the bigger picture, remain positive and overcome failure, then you will not be able to become a successful entrepreneur.
One way or another, entrepreneurship is a long and lonely road. You will need to work a lot and make personal sacrifices. Many are attracted by the idea of working for themselves and being financially free, but they are not willing to handle the workload, stress and adversity that come along the way. As they say, eighty percent of your success will be determined by your attitude and only twenty percent by your aptitude.
Be resourceful to always find another way around. Be proactive to keep taking action no matter what. Be adaptable to never get left behind. Be curious to always be one step ahead of everyone else.
I hope you’ve found this post useful. Feel free to leave your comment below. I’m always happy reading what other people have to say.
Thank you for stopping by and good luck!