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Photo by Prixel Creative

There’s a lot of talk about the importance of diversification in business. Just ask Martha Stewart or Oprah, who are both great examples of people who have taken skill sets and turned them into wildly successful, diversified businesses. Varying your skill set increases your value to clients, donors, customers, and potential employers.

WHY DIVERSIFICATION MATTERS

You don’t have an option: We don't mean to get all hard-line on you, but continued learning is no longer optional. Blame it on the 2008 economic collapse, ever-advancing technology, or the rise of startup culture, but these days change is the new norm in business, whether that means embracing new technologies that change how you create your product or new social networks that you use to promote it.

It makes your brain happy: Not only does learning something new give you a big infusion of energy and positivity – a couple of things you always need when running a business – but it’s also been proven to make you happier, according to a 2012 study from the National Bureau of Economic Research. Learning can also help you to feel more confident in your ability to do your job, which can lead to an increase in overall job satisfaction. In other words, learning is just a really, really, really good thing – no matter your age or skill level.

Your work will improve: The more skills you have in your toolbox, the easier you'll find it is to innovate and create. Even if you don't do the bulk of your company's writing, learning about storytelling will make you better at design and marketing. Learning how to give a presentation will make you better at blogging and in one-on-one meetings with clients. Whether you’re an employee or business owner, you need to be flexible and adaptable. Embrace those ideas, and the results will show in your work.

HOW TO DO IT

Study up: Acquiring new skills doesn't mean you have to spend your evenings and weekends sitting in a classroom or leave your business for a week to go to a conference. We're in awe of how much you can learn online these days, so consider starting with free or low-cost learning methods like blogs (our Design Your Life feature on DesignGood.com has lots of advice for entrepreneurs) and podcasts.

Learn by giving: When you're ready to get some practice on a new skill, there's bound to be a volunteer opportunity waiting. We believe giving is even more powerful when you can tie it back to the mission of your business. For example, if you have a food-related business and you want to learn more about event planning, volunteer to help organize a fundraiser.

Practice with partners: Are there any aspects of your skill set where you'd like to do more and learn more, but you're not ready to fly solo yet? You may want to hire some expert help to get you started. Consider working with an agency that will guide you through the area where you feel most unsure. For example, at DesignGood Studio, we offer content marketing and outreach packages where we get clients started in social media, demystify the world of digital marketing and set them up with key systems and strategies, which in turn allows them to learn how to accelerate their brands on their own. Working with a partner is a great way to advance your business and teach you about an area where you’re eager to learn.

Stay on top of things: There are hundreds, even thousands of resources that will keep you informed about all that’s new and notable. A few of our favorites: 99U, Fast Company, Inc., Mashable and SXSW Interactive.

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FROM THE EDITOR
At Conscious, we are inspired by remarkable people and organizations, and so we set out to tell stories that highlight human-interests, global initiatives, innovation, community development, and social impact. You can read more stories like this when you subscribe.

Looking for to learn more, or for a partner to pair with? At DesignGood Studio, we love to help brands accomplish their goals through partnerships that will help them to learn and grow. Find more here.


Editorial Collaborator: DesignGood Founder, Kristin Moses, who is an award-winning designer with 16 years of marketing and branding experience, joins Conscious with a monthly column to explore how design has to do something that matters.  Read our interview with Kristin Moses here and follow the monthly column here.

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