I am a strong believer in continuing education and spending some time each day learning new things to develop myself. Most people get paid to solve some sort of problem. The more knowledge and skills you have the more likely you are to solve a variety of problems. In the intellectual section I have listed a number of books that have helped me develop intellectually, but one of the best tools I have found to learn new practical skills, especially software skills, is Lynda.com.
Lynda.com cost $25 a month and you can cancel at anytime, so you can turn it on for a month and learn a bunch of stuff and then turn it off for two months until you need it again. When I wrote this post they had well over 100,000 video tutorials. These are professional videos presented by fabulous teachers! I have watched training on Microsoft Office, Powerpoint, Word, Excel, Adobe Photoshop, Premiere, After Effects, Illustrator, Indesign, DreamWeaver, Website Development, Flash, CSS, Typology, Green Screening, Portraiture, Time Management, Photo Retouching, and the list goes on and on and on and on! If it is software Lynda likely has a course on it. In many ways you can get a better education on Lynda.com than you can going to college, and at $25 a month, or a discounted $250 a year, it is some extremely cheap tuition. I can’t recommend Lynda.com enough! That $25 investment in yourself will pay huge dividends.
When I started at my current job I did not know how to do any design work, I did not know the ins and outs of photography and I had not completed any videography or web design projects. When we needed a project completed I would go get a quote on the project. The quote would be an insane amount of money, in my cheap penny-pinching opinion, and I would think, “man for that much money I can do it myself.” And sure enough, with some help from Lynda I would have a very good product in short order. If my projects were poor quality I do not think I would have continued in my quest. But the projects started out decent and continued getting better as I continued to gain new skills. I have now completed multiple web design projects including http://www.gochrysalis.com, I create online training curriculum, I have a 2 hour full feature New Employee Orientation, and I take most of the non-stock photos for our blog and website. I have also been able to put my Excel skills to work to design custom Macros to make me and my team mates lives easier. Lynda.com has helped me create a valuable skill set that I would not have had otherwise. Lynda.com is a great place to start investing in yourself. Remember, you are the same person tomorrow as you are today except for the books and training you immerse yourself in and the people you meet.