The security and importance of lifelong learning
Working for myself and running websites makes me really anxious. I absolutely love what I do, but I constantly have the fear that my income could stop one day. I really hope it doesn’t, but I know the digital marketing world is always evolving and anything could change at any moment. I also have this irrational (or perhaps very rational) fear of my blog being hacked or deleted or something along those lines – servers breaking down or a mass extinction of the internet! Basically, I don’t ever feel 100% secure and so I’m always trying to think of other ways to make my own income or decide what to do with my future.
Last week this anxiety hit me really hard and I started researching online courses. I’m not one to sit around and when I get a plan in my head then there’s no stopping me! Before having my children I worked in the same job and assumed I’d be there forever. But once I had my first child, a daughter called Bella, my plans changed and I couldn’t justify going back to my full time roll. I would have been away from my daughter for 40 hours working full time, and left with no money to justify this separation as my entire wage would be spent on nursery fees.
It was time to come up with a plan and take action!
My learning and career plan when I had children
I needed to think of a career I could do at home whilst bringing up my daughter. The most obvious solution to me was to become a childminder. When my daughter reached age one and my maternity leave was officially over, my new plan begun. I found an evening job to tide things over, signed up for a distance learning diploma in Level 3 Childcare and Education as I had no previous childcare experience. I then signed up to the childminder training with my local council. I opted for a fast tracked course that took up all of my weekends for a whole summer.
I spent every spare moment studying and completing my coursework, often staying up into the early hours of the morning after working my evening job, so I could get everything complete on time. Studying around children and work can definitely be a challenge as time is already limited! With enough determination anything is possible.
I passed the distant learning course with a distinction and passed the childminding course too.
Unfortunately the childminding dream never materialised for me. Our old home, or rather flat, wasn’t suitable and we were in the process of moving to an actual house. Only thing is it took a whole eight months to sell the property and move home, in which time I had already started an online business selling fashion accessories which seemed to be taking off. Our new home also needed lots of work, so it wasn’t ready to instantly start a childminding business. Then we decided to have a second child so the whole childminding plan never materialised, but over the next few years my Lylia Rose business did so I was very pleased with this.
My learning and career path now
My online fashion business evolved into this here website and full time blog. I’ve had this website since 2013 and it’s now my main income. Being self-employed in the digital marketing world means I’m learning things all the time. There is so much to learn if you want to make money from a website, as well as things to learn about being self-employed.
There’s filling in tax returns, bookkeeping, managing cash flow, applying to business networks, applying for paid work, website maintenance, emails, admin, spreadsheets, HTML code, SEO and of course the actual writing of the blog posts, researching, improving writing technique, photography and so much more.
Not only is there all of this to learn, master and become efficient at, but it’s always changing! Rules and laws are always changing, the best way to optimise a website is always changing, tax thresholds and benefits are always changing. It’s a constant learning curve.
Luckily there are also numerous online courses which can deepen this knowledge by companies such as Kaplan who offer courses for individuals in accountancy, tax and finance for example, or Neil Patel who offers free SEO training online through emails, eBooks and courses. There’s a course and further learning available for all parts of a self-employed business, depending on which areas you need to improve on or want to gain a deeper understanding.
I love to read as much as I can to keep up to date as well as stay active in many networking groups relevant to my niche and profession. Improving and learning constantly are vital for any career and especially when running your own business. There’s a great quote by Leonardo da Vinci that says “learning is the only thing the mind never exhausts, never fears, and never regrets.”
My learning and career path in the future
As for my career path in the future, I think I may want to change direction. I do enjoy thoroughly what I am doing now, but I still want to think about what my future goals are should this fail. I am hugely passionate about plant based and healthy living, so a career within this field would suit me down to the ground. I’ve not decided exactly what yet, but perhaps being a vegan fitness coach and nutritionist or something along those lines.
I think working in the health and fitness industry would be a very rewarding career; improving people’s lives for the better and helping them to take charge of their health.
I’ve been busily researching university foundation degrees and honours degrees to see which ones pop out at me. Unfortunately for now I cannot afford to go to university. With the responsibilities of two young children, a mortgage and debt to repay, it’s just not feasible for me to go at this point of my life. I simply couldn’t afford to! But that doesn’t mean I’ll never go. I’ll save up as much as I can and pay my debt off and then reassess in a couple of years.
In the mean time I love researching healthy living with a focus on plant based diets and the prevention of disease, so I will continue to do this daily to fill myself up with as much knowledge as possible and to inspire my potential future career!
Who knows where I’ll be in five or ten years’ time. Either still doing what I’m doing now, a university student or working in the fitness and health industry somewhere. Any of those options sound good to me!
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