The more you learn the more you’ll earn

If you think this post is too long – you’re in trouble.

I’m hungry for knowledge – famished even.

I’ve been gobbling business literature as though my very life depends on it. Well my business does.

My recent obsession and increased appetite for amassing as much knowledge as I possibly can came from the need to, in a nutshell, earn more.

A few years ago I went on an MBA level program. That did much to trigger the entrepreneurial bug that was gnawing at me.

A few months ago I read Free Prize Inside and I’m a different business woman.

So revolutionary was this book’s call to a different way of marketing and doing business it fuelled me to start a project I had only been talking about until then.

Before reading the book I was overwhelmed with making a decision regarding my career.

I’d just had my baby and all of a sudden my whole world morphed into another planet. Everything I thought about where my life was heading and everything that seemed so important before paled in the face of raising a happy, healthy, confident, passionate and driven human being.

Being a mom took centre stage. But the thought of being a stay-at-home mom and losing my financial independence terrified me. So I begun to scour my brain for what I could do to earn an income that would allow me to spend as much time as my son needed from me.

I prayed. I stressed. I prayed some more. And then – I kid you not – it just came to me. As a first time mom I had so many questions. The internet was a wonderful resource but there were questions other moms I knew seemed to answer better.

There were some issues about being a mom that were so deeply personal and in some cases highly controversial they left me confused and doubtful of how to act in my son’s best interest. And thus came my decision to start a blog about such issues. At first I started blogging about what I was going through as a mom – I found a gazillion similar experiences from other moms on the net – and so my blog I knew was nothing new and it surely wasn’t unique. But my husband said to me, “The fact that you’re running it – that’s what will make it a success.” I took that encouragement and ran with it.

Ok I take that back – I didn’t run immediately. First I was paralyzed by fear. I was a new mom. I knew so little about being a great mom that some may say I knew nothing. And then how would I earn an income from the site? There were so many resources like mine. Some were just way too advanced, way too established for me to compete with – I was entering territory that I, not only knew so little about, but was not beefed up to enter.

Then my step-son told me about a book he was reading that was revolutionizing how he viewed his business. He’s a graphic designer – there’s a dime a dozen for those too – and yet he was speaking with a new found confidence I hadn’t heard from him before. He lent me the book. Well let’s just say that after reading the intro of the book – the paralysis I’d suffered from begun to disappear.

By the time I was done reading the book I had a very good idea of where I was going with my new found passion and I started writing down some of the fantastic ideas of how I would make it work.

My site is still a work in progress (we’re launching this week! Yay!) But here’s the thing – I’m learning that my passion is not enough. Sitting at home blogging and loving what I’m doing isn’t going to get what I’m doing to market if I don’t business up. And the only way to business up is to learn more about business. Duh!

This seems so obvious but I cannot tell you how many people I meet who have tremendous earning potential but are battling financially and tell me “Oh Hannah I just don’t have a business mind!”

Then get one! That’s my response.

You won’t get a business mind by osmosis you have to actually go out and get it.

I do believe that some people are born entrepreneurs – but even they fail if they don’t take the time to step back from their God-given drive and learn how business works.

I know people who are in serious debt not because they don’t have money but because they don’t know how money works.

And then I know people who earn meager salaries but seem well-off because they know how money works. Most of these people took the time to learn how money worked and made the little they had work for them.

A few years ago I went to a talk where the speaker advised us to look at what poor people do and not do it. This sounds condescending and snobbish but I’ve also heard that if all the money in the world were distributed equally to all peoples of the earth – within a year those who were rich would be rich again and those who were poor would be poor again.

Don’t believe me?

A few years ago a young film maker in the US shot a very interesting documentary on what a homeless man would do with a hundred thousand dollars.

His film crew identified an unsuspecting homeless person and began following him around. A while into the film the crew set it up so that the homeless man would “find” a briefcase with a hundred thousand dollars in it – cash. He kept it. And by the time the film was finished he had spent every last cent and was HOMELESS AGAIN!

The homeless man went on Oprah – and get this – he blamed society that he had lost the ONE- HUNDRED-THOUSAND-DOLLARS!

Believe me now?

Back to the talk I attended: The speaker went on to tell us that he found the dynamics on a plane very interesting. According to him if one took a peek at the folks flying economy, one would find that some fliers there were sleeping, others looking out the window, some reading magazines, or novels, others watching the in-flight movie or listening to something or other from some gadget, or playing games on some or other gadget – go take a peek at the fliers (on the same flight) in business or first class – more often than not he said these were either working on their lap tops, reading newspapers or business literature of some sort – in short they were doing something to increase their knowledge.

And he left us with this line, “You’ve got to learn more to earn more.”

I think of short distance track athletes. Being super-fast is a gift they have. But even they need coaches to teach them how to get the most out of their bodies. The more they learn about certain fitness techniques and the more they train the better they get.

Why will a discerning company pay more for a person who has studied more? This is one of the reasons I urge my clients to always include literature they are currently reading in their résumés. It shows a prospective employer that they are pro-active in gaining knowledge.

Reading will expose to you to tremendous ideas. But you have to be strategic in what you’re reading. Don’t waste time on reading how to be an amazing golfer when you have no intention to be a golfer (unless you want to impress on the golf course while networking).

Think of buying books, taking courses, attending workshops and conferences not as expenses but investments in your career. Because ultimately – what you learn and how much you learn will determine what you earn.

Get reading!

P.S. I’m currently reading Purple Cow.

Example from my résumé:

Business Literature I’m reading

I have just completed Business Writer Seth Godin’s Free Prize Inside which delves into his theory of a revolutionary way of marketing.

This way of marketing is one that has seen the successes of companies such as Google and the continued fortitude of giants such as

I am now reading Godin’s first eBook, Ideavirus which champions individuals to create fantastic new ideas and spread them in massive proportions.

I am also reading The Brand Called You by Tom Peters which is about how one can create a formidable brand of themselves in the marketplace.

One of my favourite Peters’ articles includes Green is green! Not! The piece chronicles the greats such as Steve Jobs founder of Apple who not only reached new frontiers but created them.

Hannah Viviers is a financial journalist and founder of HV Public Speaking

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