As time goes on and we build our careers, we tend to start to specialize without realizing it. We look for efficiency by leveraging the time and resources that we have to produce the greatest effect. As we specialize, we become experts in our fields and deepen our knowledge, but we can also miss out on learning about other areas that can have a significant impact on our companies.
I had not realized that I was doing just this until the pandemic caused me to look at marketing from a different perspective. Although it was due to an extraordinary situation that I was able to see things so clearly, I think the lesson is valuable, nonetheless. Our marketing was okay; it was nothing to brag about, but it worked, and we had a sound system.
One of my friends in my peer advisory group (see How to Set Your Peer Coaching Group for Success and Peer Coaching and How It Can Benefit Your Business) encouraged me to take a course about Instagram. I had been curious about the platform and had never had the time to dive in, so I decided to give it a shot.
The course, which only cost $50 for the first part, opened my eyes. It was led by Vero Ruiz del Vizo (@veroruizdelvizo on Instagram) and it was a bootcamp for entrepreneurs who wanted to improve their social media presence. Through the course, I saw how outdated the way we had been doing our marketing had become, and as I learned in our course, I saw that we could do so much more.
The course for me was not just about Instagram – it was about marketing in general. That, combined with the prevailing situation, made me see that we needed to invest in our marketing strategy and how we reach our clients. I realized I had not seen the entire picture.
Sometimes, all it takes is one experience to open a whole other panorama, but how can we prevent this narrowing from happening? I think that first we need to be aware that specializing in our fields expertise is something that happens to everyone. Then we can start to take steps to stay open to new ideas and concepts.
1. Read About a Wide Variety of Topics
Newsletters, newspaper articles, blogs, and books can all be sources of new and different information. The more diverse the topics, the better off we are. They help us stay updated and find new trends that are developing. If something is of interest, we can always research the subject further.
2. Be Curious
Learning about new topics is often a matter of mindset. Keeping an open mind is not always natural, as it may seem like an additional task on top of the work we are already doing. In my case, I feel obligated to stay current with all the new information, as there is always something new. If we can maintain a playful attitude to our beautiful and evolving world, we can discover things that may be useful to us. We do not need to go deep into every subject we encounter, but we can remain curious and dive deeper into those topics that truly matter to us.
3. Keep an Open Mind and Try New Things
Not everything will have the same value, but if we do not try new things, we will never know. Sometimes I feel a bit jaded because I have experimented in so many different areas, that I am sure I will not be surprised with the next thing. Yet, it happens, because there is always so much more out there.
When I signed up for the course, I did all my homework and tried all the new exercises, even if they seemed like they would not be useful for me. Some of the work took me hours, which I did not necessarily want to invest, but I was surprised by the results. Friends and people that I had never met started contacting me and engaging with my work. I gained many followers and was invited to a do a webinar and give an interview as a result of my posts. I even sold copies of my children’s book, Alicia and Bunnie Paint a Mural, just from showcasing it in my posts. This Instagram course opened something utterly new in my mind, and I can see our company flowering in an entirely new direction as a result.
4. Listen to What Others are Doing
We cannot try everything ourselves, as there’s simply not enough time in the day. But if we stay connected with our networks, we can learn from what others are doing and what is working for them. As they test the waters in areas that we simply cannot, we will see if we want to follow in their footsteps. One of the people in my peer advisory group has built her entire business around social media. I learn from watching what she does and from seeing her evolve in her company.
We can always learn something new, and as a result, we can open completely new paths for growth for ourselves and our businesses.