I’ve bought so many courses and tools over the past year… I need to stop learning and take action. I’ll come back once I’ve made some progress.”
This statement (or something similar) is one of the most common things we hear in exit surveys when our customers cancel their Unfunnel membership.
And the principle behind this response is completely sound… To launch a product or business online that can support your family, you have to balance learning and execution.
If you want to grow your business online in the modern era, you can never really stop evolving from a learning perspective, but you also cannot focus exclusively on learning.
This phenomena brings up two very important questions:
- When should learning stop and execution begin?
- What’s the relationship between learning and shipping?
We Embrace Learning – Here’s Why…
Before we get into the answers to the 2 big questions of the day, let’s talk about the reality of why we focus on “learning” when we know execution is more important.
There are two main causes for torturing yourself with the endless pursuit of knowledge without ever getting anything done:
- FEAR. Snapchat! Drip! Leadpages! Periscope! SEO is dead! Check your social feeds, your blog subscriptions or the cover of your favorite business publication’s new edition and you’ll see an “expert” giving you the business: “_____ is the next big thing! Get in on this or miss the boat.”
- PRODUCTIVITY. Learning plays into a human’s built-in desire to “feel productive” each day. Little to nothing is more addictive than a guarantee that something on your to-do list will be checked off today.
The Problem With Fear
“Ahhhh shit!!! Did I miss the boat? What if I don’t act NOW and everything we’ve worked so hard to build comes crashing down right in front of me? What if my business fails and I end up broke? What if I can’t feed my family? What if we have to move under a bridge?”
The next time Pat Flynn or Gary Vaynerchuk tells you to jump on Snapchat marketing to grow your business, just remember one thing: They don’t know shit about your business.
The advice thought leaders give you has ZERO correlation with your business goals.
You see, big name experts make a living in any given niche… by living on the edge of their field. His or her job is to find out what’s new, learn all there is to know about it, (hopefully) test it, and share what he or she knows about the new business idea, platform, channel or tactic.
Rather than let influencers drive the future of your business, stay focused on SMART business goals and seek advice from experts within the context of those goals or objectives.
Learning For Productivity’s Sake
One-hour videos take one hour to watch. So you’re guaranteed to finish one item on your to-do list in 60 minutes or less by sitting in your chair and paying attention! #Winnning
- What about the opportunity cost of learning?
- What else could’ve been executed in the same hour?
- What happens if what you learn isn’t immediately actionable?
You’d likely start building a badass website that’s born to fail instantly…
Learning may feel good on the inside, but if it doesn’t grow your business, then is it really even helpful?
The Solution: Agile Learning
Let’s get one thing straight: there’s nothing wrong with learning itself.
It’s the key to unlocking new business ideas and growth hacks within existing markets. BUT learning for the sake of learning – especially in the early growth stages – is business suicide.
“Never stop learning, BUT always use learning to get shit done.”
We call this: Agile Learning.
How To Use Learning To Accelerate Business Growth
- Focus on what is facing you right now. For example, what is your number one business goal?
- Set actionable goals based on your overall business objective. Where do you want to go next?
- Unpack your goal to create projects. A goal is an outcome – seemingly out of your control. BUT a project is completely within our control. Need to learn something new for a project? Once you’ve created projects, it’s critical to know which ones you can execute and which ones you cannot. This is where agile learning comes in…
- Split learning projects into two steps: 1) what you need to learn, and 2) what action you need to take based on the learning.
Here’s an example of how this all plays together into goals, projects and tasks:
Goal: Gain 5,000 email subscribers
Project: Set up lead magnets to build your email list
- Select a lead generation and/or email marketing tool
- Create email lists for segmentation
- Create lead gen offers and signup forms to capture subscribers
- Install email forms and calls-to-action on website
Then for any given step that requires agile learning, make line items for each task…
1a) Research the top 5 email marketing tools for bloggers
1b) Select email marketing software
Learn To Reach Goals, Not Vice Versa
All that’s left now is execution. While this sounds easy, it’s actually the hardest part of this process.
You now must stop paying attention to all of the blogging experts, podcasts of thought leaders and book authors and focus on getting shit done.
Agile learning is learning in the context of business goals and projects. If you want to take it seriously, consider…
- Unsubscribe from email lists not in-line with your current objective
- Cut podcast learning back to only those who inspire versus podcasts that teach you new stuff
- Delete your playlists, wishlists and course playlists on business education websites
- Trust the Unfunnel roadmap to give you all the learning you need, when you need it (well… only if you wanna)
Any learning not on your project list is categorized as “skill porn” – learning for pleasure or inspiration.
If you want to learn for pleasure, awesome. But don’t learn at the expense of getting shit done.
The Agile Learning Manifesto
- Individuals and interactions over academic theories, models and classroom learning
- Improved working knowledge and increased production over traditional “grade” assessments
- Team collaboration and network expansion through learning over centralized information delivery
- Responding to real wants and needs versus providing or improving what’s available