As a 22 year old aspiring entrepreneur with lots of free time, given current trends in technology, what should I spend my time learning? originally appeared on Quora - the knowledge sharing network where compelling questions are answered by people with unique insights.
The most important thing you should learn is also what most people fear learning the most, and that is sales.
Whatever you end up doing, making, inventing, or creating...you will need to sell.
You will need to sell yourself to investors, a product or service to customers, your idea to co-founders. Mark Cuban had said this for years and for me, personally, I hated sales and always told myself I would be able to "make it" my own way.
The sooner you give this up the better. Learn to love sales.
The secret to loving sales?
Don't sell! I know, I know, how counterintuitive. But once you understand how important good sales skills are, then you must learn good sales skills. The best people in sales don't actually try to sell to people. They try to help.
So learn to help people. Find out what their pain points are and come up with solutions to them.
Tech is a great industry to be in, and although it all seems so new, the idea of new technology has been around since fire and the wheel. Those who benefit the most are early adopters, meaning those who have the ability to adapt over and over again.
This is the best advice I can provide to you, which is the best advice I also received at 22, and I wouldn't say I ignored it so much as I simply didn't believe it.
By the time you are 30 you will have done at least 10 different things to make money, and the skills learned in the first attempt will directly impact your 10th attempt.
This continues to be true for me today, although it's probably closer to 100 different things (and if you asked my wife she might say even higher).
Industries have always evolved; today they just do so much faster. So find pain points. Is there a problem in your life that has popped up more than one time? That is a pain point. Is there something that your friends and family continually complain about that could be updated and made more efficient? Are there two existing industries that you could combine to create an entirely new one?
Don't get caught up in the fact that every new idea needs an app, or every old idea needs to be turned into an app. In my era we called this the dot-com bubble. Apps are so diluted and will not make you money. Concluding thoughts:
- Continue to improve your education. Never stop learning new things, stepping outside your comfort zone.
- The sooner you learn to love sales the more successful you will be in life. Not just in your business, but in life.
- Focus on helping people. The more people you help, the more money will come your way. Just don't focus on the money at first.
- Don't be afraid to work for free, join a charity group or voluntarily do projects for other companies without expecting anything in return. This is the best way to get a free or cheap education. Most people (I am one) paid a couple hundred thousand dollars for college, only to learn much much more starting a business or working for another company that actually paid me to learn.
- Don't worry about trying to make your first endeavor the home run. There are no failures when you learn something new because this new knowledge will help you succeed in the future. It's all a learning processes and the most successful people learn more in failure than in success.
- You don't need to be the next Steve Jobs or Mark Zuckerburg to live a successful and comfortable life. What I mean by this is you could start a few companies or businesses that generate a few thousand dollars a month each in passive income to you, and live a very enjoyable life!
There is much more I could discuss with you, but for fear that I have bored you to the point where you haven't even reached this ending I will stop here. Good luck to you.
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