Educational Resources for New Entrepreneurs (That Won't Break the Bank!)
More people are transitioning careers, starting businesses, and pasting together various hustles to generate a salary. The career landscape is constantly evolving, and even seasoned professionals are feeling the need to enhance their skill sets to keep up with industry trends. Continued education is not easily accessible or affordable and so new entrepreneurs are discovering helpful resources outside of traditional outlets.
Startup cultures are organically forming and providing independent professionals with communities where they can seek advice, tools, and financial guidance from. There are various new schools offering certified courses and workshops, coworking spaces that host panel discussions and networking events, and online platforms that provide tutorials and how-to guides for the self-learners for all stages of development.
Panel Events, Roundtable Events, Pitch and VC Events
Discussion and lecture style events offer opportunities for founders to connect directly with experts in various industries. This kind of communication allows early-stage founders to gain insight and learn from other founders who have made mistakes during the growth of their brand. It also provides a platform for professionals to practice their pitch, seek funding, and organically build working relationships.
Coworking spaces host various affordable social and educational events for entrepreneurs and freelancers. As the most affordable option to networking events, Program directors for coworking spaces within niche industries in particular, carefully curate discussions about topics led by the most relevant voices and influencers on the subjects. If you’re in finance – there’s an event about bitcoin. If you are in health care, there’s an event about health tech. No matter what the profession or topic is, there’s most likely an event catered to showcasing what emerging brands are trending and the VC’s investing in that space.
Pitch events are the most common style event to attend and participate in. Typically, a founder pitches their brand between 2-5 minutes and then it is followed by a Q&A from the audience and investors – a la Shark Tank. These one-on-one sessions provide founders consumer feedback they would typically receive through focus groups --which they would have to pay for -- and advice from investors who they would typically have to wait months to meet.
If you are considering presenting at a VC event, attend other pitch events in advance like Flash Pitch, Alley, and Hatch Pitch, for example, to prepare yourself with what to expect. Is a presentation necessary? What kind of questions are the VC’s asking? What are the pitchers doing right? What are they doing wrong? Also, confirm who the panelists you are presenting to and do your research about the companies they’ve previously invested in.
Workshops and Immersives
Schools like General Assembly and the Flatiron School offer week long certification programs called Immersives. Commitments typically run for 12-15 weeks and completely ‘immerse’ the student into full time courses in subjects like digital marketing, coding, photo and video editing, etc. Instructors are full-time employees for major brands and are leading classes with the most updated platforms and relevant productivity tools. Although Immersives can cost $2,000.00 (depending on course) it is far less than what a college or University course would cost. They also provide the same amenities coworking spaces do by offering students complimentary workspaces, WiFi, and coffee.
General Assembly offers 1-day workshops for more attainable and affordable rates ($60-$100). These day courses are complete overviews and condensed versions of what is taught during the Immersives and is a practical alternative for someone who works full-time and unable to commit to a 12-15-week course.
One commonality between dedicated new entrepreneurs is their ability to be self-learners. They spend hours following YouTube tutorials, reading slides, and teaching themselves the basics to new mediums. Business owners who juggle with family responsibilities or other full-time jobs are seeking educational resources that can accommodate their less than flexible schedules. For a monthly subscription of $10, Skillshare.com, for example, an online learning community that offers on demand courses, provides a library of videos and articles for individuals interested in improving their skill sets in marketing, business development, and other editing platforms.
No matter your budget or commitment terms, there are plenty of resources aimed to help you educate and inspire yourself as you embark on this life as a leader and business owner.
This guest post is by Britney Medich. She is a self described professional nomad, content junkie, and coffee addict.