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Sharing what I know about type-based illustration while helping creatives do their best work

Five Most Useful Ways To Learn

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Hey, hope you’ve had a productive week. 

I’ve talked about why learning is important for you in my last couple blog posts, so to add even more practicality this week’s article will take you through five learning methods I personally enjoy.

Before diving into it, we all learn at different rates and some methods are preferred over the other. These are just a few select ways that have vastly helped me become a better creative and I want to you to become the same. 

While there are a tonne of options out there for you, I’ve taken my top five most effective ways I’ve carried on learning over the years. 

Let’s get it! 

1. Listen To The Experts

Whatever field you’re studying, there’s no doubt someone else will have 10/15 years of experience teaching or practicing their skills. Why not learn from those who are ahead of you?

By listening to these people you’re taking in their expertise and mistakes they’ve made along their career so you can achieve even greater results. So study up, consume all their talks, blog posts, videos and newsletters.

Now, it’s important to stress it’s not about grabbing the first expert or influencer you come across online. 

I always believe the act of learning should be enjoyable and if someone’s teaching style or method of doing things doesn’t relate to you, it’s okay to move on. 

A bonus is if you’re able to have a conversation with your “mentor” then you’re really off to a great start. 

Once you’ve finished consuming their content, let them know. 

Send out a tweet or email and let them know how much their content has helped you. By doing that, you’re initiating the start of relationship that who knows where it would lead. Say thanks.

2.  Pay For Online Courses

When I understood how much value there is packed into a paid course online, everything I’ve ever learned at University went down the sink. 

My first paid course taught me more than I ever learned studying three years at university. And that’s saying a lot.

Some of you might be thinking, why do I have to pay for more education? Education should be free. While yes, education should be free and for the most part it is—the question I pose is how much is your time worth? 

Did you really consider 27k as an investment? 

Your 27K for three years of “education” compared to the value you get from a £200 course—ah no wonder I get so fired up over this topic.

Online courses are fairly inexpensive. Online courses are also highly curated. 

What these creators do is take all the best stuff they’ve learned and package that info for easy consumption. They’ve done the hard work of sifting through the poorly written stuff and poorly produced videos. 

You can google the things you need to know, but why waste your time going through articles and pages that make little sense?

I would have gladly invested thousands into courses knowing I’ll finish with the right set of skills to go away and make triple the initial investment. 

And hey, you’re not only learning from someone knowledgeable, you’re also supporting the creator by purchasing their material. Especially if you have been following their content for a while and you’re learning a lot each time, buying their course (or any of their products) let’s them know they’re helping someone out there. 

3. Engage In Online Communities

The value of engaging in online communities specific to your creative field is similar to listening to the experts.

The main difference here however is you’re learning together with people who are in a similar position to yourself. 

Experts are far removed from the struggles of someone just starting out. Not saying they can’t empathise with the beginners, it’s just a lot harder to recall and bring up those feelings when you have an already thriving business. 

Whereas someone who’s on a similar path, they know exactly what you’re going through.

Speaking about your struggles will open you up to feedback while also preparing others who have yet to experience this struggle. Huge benefits to all. It’s what I advised in my previous post, to take away one valuable thing from your encounters. 

So maybe you understood why online communities can be great—now how do I get involved? 

Remember those experts you’re listening to? They’re most likely to have an engaged community. Find them, and join in the conversations. 

I’ve built incredible relationships with people who I’ve never met in person. 

And it’s amazing that we share similar mindsets, values and experiences that we’re able to communicate without fear of being judged. That’s definitely an environment I want to be in and I’m sure you want the same. 

4. Listen To Podcasts

This method changed my life. 

Big thing to say, right? But without a doubt, it certainly has.

First up, who loves music? I’m imagining close to 100% of the audience reading will internally nod. 

Now who listens to music while they work? Or while you commute, walk or cook dinner? More nods? 

When I made to switch from listening to music to listening to podcasts, my growth was exponential. And I’m not just talking about technical, design software skills—mindset, communication, creative thinking, even grammar. 

It’s kind of crazy too. Those of us with iPhones would wonder what use will this purple-icon-thing have for me? I just never knew a “podcast” back then would have so much life-changing value.

Podcasts are high-level conversations where you don’t need to commute be in the same room as the speaker.  

I would end this post right here with listening to podcasts, but there’s still one more… 

5. Read. Books. 

None of those methods are meant to be carved in stone. But if there was such thing, reading books would be there. 

The tangibility of a book can’t be replicated through digital mediums—in my opinion. And it’s why this form of traditional media is still prominent today. There’s a credibility and trustworthiness that comes with a book. And I’ve heard that anyone who’s written a book has said it’s the hardest task they’ve ever done. 

It’s just crazy to think (also crazy that I never took reading seriously) the impact one book can have. It just takes one chapter, one paragraph to “just get it”. 

All the answers will be there inside a book. And while this method is not instantaneous and you do have to sift through a lot of information yourself, the gold is a lot more worthwhile.  

There’s a benefits upon benefits to why books are gold. While I feel I’ve already written enough, that’s definitely a topic for another time!

 

 

And damn, that’s it for this article! 

I noticed the chunk of this blog post was describing these awesome methods of learning. Instead of actions for you to takeaway, I want to give you my own personal list of creators, mentors and influencers who have impacted my growth. 

Majority of these people are involved in the creative, online business, branding and design space so some of them may not be your cup of tea—but assuming you’re reading my blog posts means we share similar values so I can be sure you’ll find gold in these resources. 

This is just scratching the surface and my hope for you is you’ll continue to learn every day by taking on one of these learning methods. 

Thanks for reading! 

RESOURCES

EXPERTS

  • Chris Do, TheFutur

I consider Chris Do, the business designer my online mentor. Videos are professional and easy to take in, insightful and loads of invaluable advice on the business side of design.

@theChrisDo

 

  • Roberto Blake

A designer and entrepreneur who provides tips to monetise your design skills and building your personal brand.

@robertoblake

 

  • Charli Prangley

A marketing designer, works for ConvertKit, she vlogs her design life and often gives tips on design and branding.

@charliprangley

 

PODCASTS

Shares interviews with influential brand owners and entrepreneurs, if you want to be big go here.

 

Also shares interviews with entrepreneurs and small business owners in the creative industry. These are quick fire, usually 15-20 minutes per show.

 

Two female podcast run by Charli Prangley who I mentioned above and another digital designer, Femke. Unique because they’re sharing their creative journey while working a full-time job.

 

Smart, informative, insightful. He’s everything when it comes to branding and dives deep into topics surrounding the struggles around how to build a successful brand. Highly recommended.

 

Saving the best until last. The catalyst for my learning when it comes to business, productivity and mindset. Everything I do is because he shares the same values I believe in. His podcast was life-changing. Over 400 podcast episodes that I’ve listened to religiously.

 

BLOGS/NEWSLETTERS

  • Shawn Blanc

When I struggle with focus, he’s the guy I read from to get me back on track

http://shawnblanc.net/ 

 

  • James Clear

Huge, has topics on creativity, goal-setting, habits and physiological topics if you’re into that.

http://jamesclear.com/ 

 

  • Donald Miller

Want to know create a brand with a meaningful story? He’s the one. Plus loads of great advice.

http://storylineblog.com/ 

 

  • Ramit Sethi

Don’t let the domain fool you, I know it sounds slimy but honestly the way this guy uses copyrighting to sell, I’m learning a tonne from his newsletters.

http://www.iwillteachyoutoberich.com

https://growthlab.com/

 

  • James Grieg

Love his honest and friendly approach to helping freelancers and designers.

http://greig.cc/

 

  • CreativeBloq

My go to industry source. Tonnes of articles covering everything from design to 3D, illustration to technology.

http://www.creativebloq.com/ 

 

  • Entrepreneur

Staple source of information for business owners

https://www.entrepreneur.com