№6: Business Knowledge Self-Education

Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

Though my skills and knowledge are broad overall and perhaps surprisingly deep in a more areas than you’d expect, the fact remains that there are skills and knowledge I need right now are woefully underdeveloped. Most specifically, those related to business. My business knowledge is getting better by the day, but I only started working to pick up these skills relatively recently and I know I have a lot to learn. Back in college, when I should have taken a bunch of business classes, I resisted. I didn’t want to be a businessman, you see. I wanted to be an artist. As it turns out, though, artists still need business skills if they ever want to break free of the starving artist stereotype.

Whoops.

I’ve known this for a while, and I’ve been working on it for a while. I read articles and books, listen to the Blinkist versions of other books, work through various online courses, etc. And for a long time, I felt like I was learning things, but still had no idea what I was doing. There wasn’t yet enough in the different pockets of knowledge I was gaining for them to link together. It was all just ideas in isolation.

In the last six weeks or so, however, it’s all been making a lot more sense. All those bits and pieces are starting to coalesce into something useful.

I’m now working on a new business that’s already a lot clearer and more actionable than anything else I’ve been working on. It’s a clearer and shorter route to profit, it’s scalable, it’s got an easier-to-implement MVS, it’s location-independent, it’s got minimal overhead, its core activities are fully trainable, and if it works out, it’ll already be structured such that it could be sold later on.

I’m not abandoning the pursuit of creative work, mind you, but focusing on this new thing right now because it makes more sense to do so. For personal and practical reasons, this is where I need to focus for now. I will reveal all when it publicly launches, and will write about it here without getting too specific on certain details in the mean time, but I’m more focused and excited for this than for any business activity ever in my past. I’m not just enthusiastic, I’m legitimately excited. While a lot of that has to do with the business itself, a lot of that also has to do with everything I’ve been studying starting to make sense.

When you first start learning something, particularly in an area of knowledge as absurdly broad and diverse as business, it can all seem like a disorganized mess of information for a while. Yeah, you know you’re learning things, but it doesn’t seem to amount to anything you can actually apply yet. There must be a system at work, you know that, but where is it? It is not self-evident for a while.

But then it begins to crystallize.

Keep learning, keep collecting data points of understanding, and eventually you begin to connect the dots. Instead of random points on a formless scatter plot of ideas, they begin to link up and a picture begins to emerge.

I’m really actually excited by this. I’ve had this experience in other areas of study, such as photography and cooking, and it’s the moment when it’s clear that you’re actually headed somewhere. I’m still definitely just starting my life as an entrepreneur, but it’s actually starting.

Recently I’ve been really getting into service design thinking and value proposition design, as I do well when I have a good theoretical framework to act as a foundation on which to build practical expressions of that theory. Also getting caught up with more directly practical knowledge/skills of social media marketing and copywriting for sales. I recently finished the book Built to Sell. Though the storytelling sometimes gets in its own way, the principles in it have changed how I think about how I want to build my current business. I’m doing a course on Udemy on building effective Instagram accounts (I’d like to grow my followers @davidrmunson significantly from my current 500). Though I’ve used the platform for years, I still know basically nothing about how to use it effectively. I’m working through Ramit Sethi’s course Behind the Sales Page and it’s giving me a much better understanding of the dynamics of writing an effective sales page.

There’s more, but you get the idea. For a long time, I was just struggling with everything. I felt like I didn’t get it, none of it made enough sense to apply, and I was just depressed in general. It’s all shifting, though, and I can’t overstate how much better I’m feeling about all of it. I’m hungry for knowledge again and hungry for active application. I’m more excited about my business than I’ve ever been. Where I felt totally lost before, now I’m clearly seeing the path forward.

I like this. A lot.

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