An entrepreneur is a learner.
To launch any new venture, you must take in a massive amount of new information. Not only should you acquire the information, but you must also put it into practice instantly, aggressively, and innovatively.
Where does the entrepreneur learn?
There are numerous levels of information to acquire--business development, marketing, legal, accounting, human resources, funding, target audience, office real estate, development, Internet services, and more.
There is an endless list of things you must know in order to start your business.
How do you learn it all? You go to the resources that have the answers. What follows is more than just a list of helpful blogs. These are sources to engage, ask, listen, and learn.
BizSugar is a portal through which small businesses gain cutting-edge information on business growth and success. Their motto promises precisely what entrepreneurs need:
If your small business is a startup, you don't have time to process a lot of information. BizSugar's Startup section does that for you.
The Startup section of the site is particularly helpful for entrepreneurs, solopreneurs, and nascent businesses.
Within sixty seconds of being on the site, you're guaranteed to learn something that will help you.
GrowthHackers calls themselves the community for growth-focused marketers. GrowthHackers strives to cultivate focused and insightful discussions that catalyze entrepreneurs to grow.
It's more than just a news thread. It includes videos, jobs, growth studies, trending topics, and top-voted posts that will advance your marketing knowledge.
Occasionally, GrowthHackers invites brilliant guests to answer live questions and provide advice to the GrowthHackers community. You don't want to miss the chance to learn from the best in the business.
Y Combinator, responsible for HackerNews, is one of the most prestigious seed accelerators known today. It's the dream of many entrepreneurs and startups to gain a spot and earn funding.
HackerNews is a news feed where users submit, share, and comment on content. The news feed is a treasure trove of information on current news in the entrepreneurial field.
MOOC stands for Massive Open Online Courses. Basically, MOOCs are free college classes that you can take online.
Have you ever wanted to learn from a Stanford professor, or attend a Harvard Business Class lecture? MOOCs are the solution.
Check out this MOOC List on entrepreneurship for current courses that you can join.
Reddit is an outstanding content marketing platform that boosts traffic, engages users, and furnishes you with an abundance of information.
Reddit is a valuable source of learning because of its interactive nature. However, it's not just interaction that you're gaining. It's interaction from experienced, inquisitive, active, and passionate minds.
As long as you choose the best subreddits, pick active threads, and add your voice to the conversation, you will learn a lot in a very short amount of time.
Here are the top subreddits that I recommend for entrepreneurs:
Don't underestimate the power of a webinar.
I regularly host webinars in which I share some of my most valuable content. Webinars provide an opportunity to explore a subject in depth. In a webinar environment, you gain the collective power of video, personal interaction, verbal content, visual content, and focused information.
Many content marketers use webinars to advance their product or service. Frankly, it's a good idea. Most webinars, however, aren't hourlong marketing pitches. They are carefully curated content forums that will push your entrepreneurial skills to the next level.
Quora is endlessly fascinating. The Q&A site is more than a mashup of questions and answers. Quora elicits feedback from some of the most well-known and knowledgeable entrepreneurs in the industry.
Here are some of Quora's active users:
On Quora, you're virtually guaranteed to get the best answers to any questions you ask.
Networking alone is valuable, but networking with people who share your experiences, interests, and direction is even better.
Angel.co features jobs, network connections, rising startup stars, and a chance to connect with the founders and entrepreneurs that are making things happen.
StumbleUpon is a discovery engine. You may be familiar with it, at least in name if not in actual usage.
StumbleUpon aggregates content, then allows user to discuss, rate, and share it. The content you receive is personalized, and it's usually vetted by a community of raters to ensure that it's useful or entertaining. Additionally, it is a great tool for generating traffic.
Spending a few minutes on StumbleUpon each day will provide you with plenty of helpful information that is targeted to your needs, your niche, and your specific angle as an entrepreneur.
You need mentors. Stop waiting for a mentor to choose you. You need to choose a mentor.
How, you ask? Asking someone, "Will you be my mentor?" is a bit awkward. To receive mentorship, just ask a question.
Hey, I'm about to launch a business, and I know you have experience in marketing. May I ask you a question?
Persistently and courteously select people with whom you have a relationship. Ask them a question, and see what comes of it. Rather than request time or to "pick your brain," put forward a question. If they are eager and available, then you've gained a mentor.
Notice I used the word mentors, plural. You need more than one.
"A multitude of counselors" is the path to wisdom. One mentor advises you on hiring a team of A-players. Another mentor gives you kickass advice on growth hacking. Yet another mentor coaches you on your funding pitch.
No single mentor possesses the time or concentrated knowledge to tell you all you need to know. Seek mentors from a variety of sources, people, and forums.
My final advice for mentorship is to look online. Your best mentor could be an Inc. columnist, a Twitter feed, a business book, or someone's blog. Modern mentors have compiled their wisdom in digital formats--books, podcasts, social media, and blogs.
Maybe it doesn't meet your expectations of mentorship, but you're still learning. That's what matters.
Keep learning, and start doing. Knowledge is nothing without action.
A startup entrepreneur doesn't simply soak up information like a sponge. Instead, the startup entrepreneur puts the information into play, acting on what she knows and implementing what she has learned.
Once you have your information, act on it. Every day spent preparing is a lost day of implementing.
Grab your knowledge, and start doing.
What is your preferred source of learning about entrepreneurship?