4 Free Digital Information Resources for Success in Business and in Life
“A little learning is a dangerous thing; drink deep, or taste not the Pierian spring.” – Alexander Pope
Personal development and success, both in business and in life, stem from a continual thirst for knowledge, but more importantly, a drive to quench that thirst.
When I speak with people about letting go of the life they are living by default and venturing out to create the life of their dreams, I often hear excuses like “I don’t know how to (fill in the blank)”, “I’m not good at that”, “I don’t have any special skills”, or “I can’t afford to go back to school”.
Here’s what I tell them: I didn’t go straight to college right out of high school and I didn’t get particularly good grades while in high school; while Mrs. Bruchet was droning on about history, I had my nose buried in my novel, which was, in turn, buried in my social studies book so that she couldn’t see it.
I’ve got dozens of friends who went to good schools (and studied), followed by excellent universities, who are now wasting their lives away in second rate jobs, feeling miserable, and stressing about how they are going to send their own kids to college.
The point is, education doesn’t necessarily have to be formal, and an “educated” person doesn’t necessarily have what it takes to succeed.
Tim Knox, who decided to forgo college and is now the founder and president of four successful technology companies, said, “… it really doesn’t matter how much education, experience, talent, luck or money you have. It’s what you do with it that matters.”
I believe he is right about that, but I have to disagree on one point in his assessment; the reality is that you know what you know, and you don’t know what you don’t know.
Regardless of where you are at on the formal education spectrum, edification of the mind and soul is still a key ingredient to success; the beautiful thing about it, though, is that information, now more than ever, is available everywhere; all you have to do is reach for it if you want it.
Here is a list of my favorite resources for developing your mind and your skills to succeed in life and business- on your own time, and for free.
There is an abundance of websites out there that offer a ton of valuable information, absolutely free. The sticky ones on my particular browser are Mintools.com, Success.com and Lifehack.com.
But, in addition to online magazines, there are also a number of free academies and universities to choose from. Two that I recommend the most are Coursera and Hubspot Academy.
Coursera is an education platform that partners with top universities worldwide to offer courses online that anyone can take, for free.
Aiming to empower people with education to improve their lives, as well as benefit the lives of their families and communities, Coursera envisions a world where education is available to anyone who wants it, anywhere in the world.
Hubspot Academy is a free online academy that teaches everything related to digital marketing. Classes on email marketing, social media, basic SEO and more are available via webinars, and students can take a certification exam at the end. This is one of my most highly recommended free online courses and I suggest it to anyone who plans to open, and run, their own business regardless of niche because like it or not, marketing is a keystone to any organization’s success.
And finally, my favorite conferences that are accessible on the web are by TED
TED is a non-profit organization that is dedicated to spreading ideas in the form of TED Talks, which are short, influential speeches that must be 18 minutes or less. Covering topics that range from business to science and even global issues, TED is a worldwide community that welcomes people from every culture and discipline to share a deeper understanding of the world. TED Talks can be accessed for free on the organization’s website, as well as Youtube.
One of my personal favorites is 8 Secrets to Success, by Richard St. John. Just a little over 3 minutes long, it is full of wonderful insights.
Gone are the days where you had to schlep down to the library to borrow a book if you wanted to learn something or entertain yourself with a good story. E-books are widely available, and many of them are free.
I found an awesome blog post, which listed 22 free e-books on success, and one can find free Amazon Kindle books on just about any subject, including business and personal development.
The beautiful part is that you don’t even necessarily need to own a Kindle or other e-reader to enjoy, and learn, from these treasures; many can be downloaded as a PDF, or accessed and read from your smart phone, tablet, or computer.
There are hundreds of podcasts available on every subject imaginable, but two of my favorites on the subject of success are Freedom Strategies and The Kickass Life.
Kent Clothier and Los Silva, two serial entrepreneurs who have each built multiple successful multi-million dollar businesses, bring the Freedom Strategies Podcast to listeners for free. In their daily broadcasts they share their tips, tricks, experience, resources, relationships and tactics for creating real “time freedom” in business, even as you escape the stuff that’s holding you back.
David Wood, host of The Kickass Life Podcast is a business leader, author, trainer, coach and humanitarian. David has lived, traveled and worked in over 50 countries and as a business leader he has grown multiple million-dollar companies. As a trainer and speaker he brings his global experience and deep understanding of the human condition to create some of the most dynamic and engaging podcasts available.
I love to listen to audiobooks about business, marketing, success and personal growth; things like time management, financial planning and business strategy can be, well, a bit boring to be frank, so that makes focus a little challenging when it comes to traditional reading.
Audio books allow me to learn while I’m driving, gardening, doing laundry, or getting my nails done. In other words, I can learn while I might be otherwise wasting valuable time that could be productive.
I also find that, when I’m particularly preoccupied with a project or some stressor in life, listening to a good audio book allows my head to disengage from obsessive thought and get engaged (in something constructive) while I’m trying to fall asleep at night.
I recently found an amazing playlist of audio books on YouTube called The Best Money / Wealth / Success Audio-Books Playlist
Learning. It can be a wonderful adventure that will change your life for the better. The most successful people I know, and know of, say they are on a constant trajectory of expansion through experience and education. Take time to learn something every day; your success depends on it.