Member Update: Dealing with a Learning Curve

Businessman doing competitive research

You’re a web writer.

Which means that sometimes you’re going to find yourself face-to-face with new technology. And even though you may not need to know how to write html or install a plugin on your WordPress site or calculate statistical significance, you can definitely benefit from knowing enough about these and other things to talk to your clients about them in a helpful and intelligent way.

And that means you may be facing a learning curve.

Let’s say you want to learn more about email segmentation because more and more of your clients are asking for your advice on how to segment their lists.

Now, your clients aren’t asking you to set up the tech. But they are asking you to give them some advice on the criteria to use for setting up their segments.

So, you decide to start learning about segmentation.

Facing a learning curve usually follows a predictable pattern.

You’ll start out excited. Because learning new stuff is cool.

And then you’ll hit a point where you realize you have a lot to learn. Now you’re uncomfortable. You’re filled with self-doubt.

But you keep at it. You keep learning.

And then you hit a point where you think, “I’m never going to figure this out!”

Good news… you’re almost around the bend. You’re not far from grasping a deeper understanding of the subject… but you have to stick with it through the despair.

On the other side is a new level of knowledge that will make you more confident and valuable to your clients. Both good things.

So, what are some tips for getting facing this learning curve and getting through it with confidence?

First, don’t overwhelm yourself. Take 20 or 30 minutes at the beginning of your day to read through a single article or chapter in a book, to sit through a short video, or to work through a course segment.

Any more than 20 or 30 minutes, and you’ll start to fatigue yourself. The information won’t settle in as well. (That’s the time frame that works best for me, but experiment to see what works for you.)

Second, recall what you learned after some time has passed. At the end of the day, take 10 minutes to sum up the key points you studied during the morning. Spend five more minutes writing down questions you have.

And third, at the end of the week, ask your spouse, your child, your parent, your friend, your accountability buddy — someone willing to listen — to let you explain what you’ve learned so far. Have them ask you questions and see how you do at answering them. Identify where things are still foggy and use that to guide your study into the next week.

Finally, don’t expect to master a skill in a day or two. Plan to spend at least a month — most likely more — to really get a solid handle on what you’re learning.

Next time you’re tackling a learning curve, try this process and see if it helps smooth things out a bit. At the very least, it should reduce your stressful moments and help you see that you’re making steady progress.

New on the Site

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Around the Web

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Do you use infographics or help your clients create them? If not, maybe you should.

The stoic philosophy has been popping up a lot lately. It has a lot going for it, especially when you’re running a business.

That’s all for now. Make it a great week!

 

 

Heather Robson

Heather Robson

Managing editor of Wealthy Web Writer, Heather has over ten years of content marketing and development experience.

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