Fortunately, some of the best lessons I have had in life all pertained to my career and work. I know I still have more room to grow and improve, so I decided to ask some of the team what their best career advice is. The life experience of multiple people is probably better than just one.
Here are seven pieces of career advice that are helpful for entrepreneurs and employees.
Strive to be a life-long learner. You could go to school to learn something new, take a few online courses, or even read up on a topic. Thanks to technology and the internet, there are so many free online courses. Here are the best online courses for entrepreneurs, 15 social media marketing courses you can take, and 11 free online computer programming courses. There are several different ways that you can learn. You can learn by talking to others, asking questions, and even reading. The good news is that just by reading this article, you can say that you learned something new today! Looking for more valuable sources of knowledge? We recommend keeping an eye out for others that strive to learn more every day. Lifelong learners also tend to be lifelong teachers. They likely have a lifetime of great worldly advice or tips. They are also likely to want to share that information and knowledge with you. For more information that you can learn today, check out our blog at www.acumenconnections.com/blog. We have a lot of information on many business topics
During my first job out of college, I had a supervisor with great advice. I made a mistake at work and felt devastated. I care about my work. I started apologizing and was on the verge of tears. She told me, “I don’t want ‘sorry’. I want a solution”. Some people might have seen her response as harsh. However, it was exactly what I needed to hear in that moment. Her advice had two meanings: (1) do not say sorry if there was no malice and (2) do not waste time saying sorry when you could be working on a solution. She was an incredible leader and I strive to be more like her. She had a lot of helpful advice, but that piece of advice stuck the most. I love this lesson. It reminds me not to punish myself for things outside of our control. Instead, it encourages me to fix an issue at hand, regardless of the cause. That is how you get work done!
We are not suggesting that you lie about previous work or accomplishments. We are only suggesting that you change your own perception of yourself. The idea is to change your perception of what you can do. Psychology Today has a great article on this subject. They talk about the importance of acting ‘as if’ you were the person you wanted to become. They provide a few examples. A person could smile more to feel happier or act talkative to become outgoing. This piece of advice made it to our list because it can help multiple ways. This advice can work in your career and in your personal life. The overarching idea is that if you change your behavior first, the way that you think will follow. Your thoughts will catch up to your behavior. You can grow as an individual and employee. You just need to learn to step out of your comfort zone and try something new.
We already know that you are smart. If you were not, you would not be where you are today. It does not matter if you have a college degree or read a lot. You are at a point in your life where you have either started an entire company, or you have been hired because of your expertise in a specific field. You do not have to prove your knowledge to everyone else, or even yourself. You do not have to be the smartest in the room on every subject. Instead, we recommend that you stay open-minded and listen to others. Listen to the perspectives, opinions, experience, and information that others have. We already know that diverse views can work wonders on any team. Diverse views allow everyone to bring the best parts of them to one project. The only way this process works, is if you and your team are open to listening to views that differ from your own.
This is very similar to the lesson on faking it ‘til you make it. The idea here is that when a person sits around and complains about how much work there is to do, it actually hurts them. Behavior like that does three things: (1) wastes time, (2) demotivates the person, and (3) encourages others to complain. Rather than working, people are wasting time complaining. Focusing on all the work at once can easily demotivate a person. When one person complains, it encourages their teammates to start complaining too. Similar to a yawn, complaining is incredibly contagious. This snowball effect can hurt your office environment.
Know your customer well. It lets you identify what their expectations are, and what other issues they have that you can assist them with via more sales. Knowing this information improves your experience with the customer. It also provides great sales opportunities. A customer is more likely to be loyal if they feel that you understand their needs. It also helps if they feel that you actively want to help them. We have talked previously about the importance of being friendly. It is important to put yourself in the customer’s shoes. Consider what steps you can take to keep your customers loyal to your business. Having loyal customers results in more sales and less marketing costs. Knowing your customer’s birthday or favorite color might not be the reason they stay. However, using that information to send a blue birthday card on the right day, may be the reason.
A successful sales rep told me to, “under promise and overdeliver”. The idea is that you promise just under what your team can do. Let the team or product go above and beyond what you said. It keeps the product and service that you provide seem outstanding. There is something to be said about ‘wow factor’. This technique can be done in a few ways. You could throw in a last-minute free item. You could complete the project a day earlier than agreed. The idea is to wow over the customer by exceeding expectations. When I schedule a due date on a project, I follow this same advice. I promise less than what I think I can do. This means that my work is often completed early or is of higher quality than promised.
For more savvy business advice, check out our other article with 10 Business Lessons to Learn from Santa. Comment below if you have savvy career advice you want to share!
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