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3 min read

Should Busy Solopreneurs Prioritize Professional Development?

Should Busy Solopreneurs Prioritize Professional Development?

I struggle with this question all the time. There’s some cool webinar or course being offered. Should I take it or are there better things to do like move the ball forward? I expect many of you have the same struggle. “I’d really love to learn more about SEO but I have work that’s overdue.”

So, is it worth the time and money or not? I’m going to do the following:

  1. I will examine this question from both sides.
  2. Then I’m going to give you my opinion and the reason will melt your brain and pretty much decide the case unequivocally.

Professional development costs both time and money. Money is precious and time is even more precious. Let’s look at the pros and cons.

Should you, a busy solopreneur, prioritize professional development?

 

Pros:

As a solopreneur, it's important to continually develop and improve your skills in order to stay competitive in the market and provide the best possible service to your clients. Investing in professional development can help you learn new skills, stay up-to-date with industry trends, and network with other professionals in your field. This can ultimately lead to increased expertise, improved efficiency, and greater success in your business. So yes, solopreneurs should prioritize professional development.

Cons:

There are several reasons why someone might not want to invest in professional development, including:

  • Lack of time - Professional development often requires taking time away from work or other obligations, which can be difficult for some people to do.
  • Lack of money - Professional development can be expensive, especially if it involves training programs or courses that require travel or other costs.
  • Fear of change - Some people may be hesitant to invest in professional development because they are afraid of change or uncomfortable with trying new things.
  • Discomfort with self-improvement - Some people may feel that they are already good at what they do and don't see the need for further development.

Ultimately, the decision to invest in professional development is a personal one and will depend on an individual's circumstances and priorities.

The Answer

Which one did you agree with?

Guess what, it doesn’t matter.

And this is what will melt your brain.

Whether you felt the pros were more convincing or the cons, I didn’t write them. And neither did anyone else. They were both written by an AI called ChatGPT.

 I changed nothing.*

So, the answer to whether you should prioritize professional development is an unequivocal “yes”!

Why? Because AI is coming for your job. I don’t care what you do, things that you currently think require a human will start to be done by machines. And you need to stay ahead of the curve or you could be replaced by a machine.

 

Your Job Is Safe… NOT!

“But Joe, I don’t write for a living, I’m a…”

You’re a what?

My point is simple. The world is changing… fast! And you need to keep ahead of the change.

 

How to Keep Ahead

During the 2010s, my partner Bill Dakai and I were running a company called Trade Area Systems that we had started in 2003. We produced enterprise software for retail real estate, mainly retailers and shopping center owner/developers.

But the world was changing fast.

  1. Previously precious data was now getting scraped from the web, driving down price points.
  2. New data was becoming available from numerous vendors, some of whom were trying to encroach on our business.
  3. Machine learning and AI types from Silicon Valley were pitching technology to select locations.

We saw two options to respond to these challenges:

  1. Treat the changes as “rising tide” and try to encompass them and build value on top of them. This is what we did with the data threats, #1 and #2 above.
  2. Pivot away from the new tech. This is what we did with #3. Instead of focusing on AI, we produced tools that helped humans make better decisions. Retail site selection is complicated and there’s a lack of good data so an experienced, well-informed human can beat out AI hands-down. We also produced sales-forecasting models that we easy to understand and explain how they worked, unlike the AI competitors.

We ended up successful and sold the company in 2020.

Doing all these things required us to develop new skills and knowledge. Since we had employees, this process was spread out over various people. As a solopreneur, you don’t always have the option of finding someone else, especially when it’s your core business. You will need to grow regardless of how you choose to respond to AI.

If we stick with our content writing example from ChatGBT, our two options for addressing this might be:

  1. Use AI to generate a lot more content that you check over and then sell at low price point.
  2. Create content so unique to you and so compelling that it outshines the AI generated content being provided by others.

In the end, how you respond to the coming AI challenges is a function of who you are and what business you are in (or will pivot to).

You have lots of choices and options. But not improving isn’t one of them.

As a busy solopreneur, you don't have time to figure out the entrepreneur journey on your own. Let us help! Be sure to check out The Solopreneur Success Cycle to insure you're heading in the right direction.