When you first start an internet business you rarely have the luxury of hiring the best help possible to do the grocery list of daily tasks you need to complete.
So it is important that you get up to speed quickly with the skills that will help you get your business off the ground and that will pay dividends for your entire working life
The following “money making skills and programs” are great because they are what I consider to be evergreen assets that will not lose their value anytime soon.
Even if you to not plan to be a master at the skills below, it is very important that you try them at least a few times on your own. This will help you when hiring freelancers if you decide to outsource and know what to reasonably expect from them.
I wasn’t real quick, and I wasn’t real strong. Some guys will just take off and it’s like, whoa. So I beat them with my mind and my fundamentals. -Larry Bird
1. Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets
Microsoft Excel is used extensively by nearly every business in the US. It can make quick work of large sets of data and complex calculations all while providing a great interface for presenting data and reports. If you learn Excel on a professional level (requires at least a course or two and hundreds of hours of practice), you can do a lot of really creative things. I have made good money in the past by selling customized spreadsheets to companies. Easy money once you know what you are doing.
A free resource for learning Excel is excelcentral.com. I was blown away by how much free content is there. Also, check out my post about improving the look of your spreadsheets even with little experience.
2. Google Drive or Evernote for Cloud Storage and Editing of Files
These cloud-based services allow you to store and organize large amounts of content, collaborate with others and create functional documents quickly.
All of my blog posts and eBooks are created in Drive or Evernote (and then Scrivener for Final work).
Both have their perks and similar functionality, but Google Drive is free, has more storage and more functionality (ability to create spreadsheets, docs, forms, etc), but EverNote is a staple in the entrepreneurial community for its aesthetic appeal and built-in search features.
You can get 100 gb of storage on Google drive for just a couple dollars each month.
All of my most profitable websites are based in WordPress. WordPress is incredibly functional and easily customized. The beauty is that most WordPress work can be done with any deep understand of coding.
I highly recommend you master WordPress before considering learning another coding language. Learning a different coding language before mastering WordPress is like learning Mandarin Chinese when your English grammar is garbage.
For most entrepreneurial sites, it is very likely that what you want can be completed in WordPress.
Software or large database sites can not be done in WordPress.
This is vague, but critical and there are many ways to improve this. Simple is better in business writing. You shouldn’t aim to be wordy. You should aim to have the words you do use to be understood. No one cares about your vocabulary, they care about whether or not you are getting to the point so they can get on with business.
Consider a recent Grammarly study of 100 LinkedIn profiles. In the same 10-year period, professionals who received one to four promotions made 45 percent more grammatical errors than did professionals who were promoted six to nine times.
TIP: Write a lot. Hire an editor and encourage them to be very critical of your writing.
5. Invoicing and Basic Accounting with Freshbooks
Like it or not, creating invoices and managing cash flow is an inevitability of being an entrepreneur. You might as well become a master of these because you will be using them constantly. I highly recommend FreshBooks for this and Quickbooks for accounting. Over time, you will master these just due to the frequency you will be using them
6. Gathering Data with Forms and Surveys
I use a tool called Typeforms that allows me to collect data quickly and easily. I can run surveys, gather emails, collect file submissions and receive payments. Most of my businesses start with some sort of survey. I am able to get a feel of the pulse of the niche and find out what people want.
7. Screen Capture and Basic Editing/Annotating
Even if you are not planning on creating video content, knowing how to create annotated videos and images makes outsourcing much easier.
I recommend Camtasia 2 by TechSmith if you’re all in and ready to go premium (it is what I use for all of my YouTube videos and tutorials.)
For screenshots and annotations, I recommend a tool called Snagit (made by TechSmith as well).
Check out the bundle here for Camtasia and Snagit
8. Webinar and Meeting Software
Webinars are not only a great way to grow your audience and build a brand, they are also great for managing projects and sharing ideas with anyone on your team.
I use a couple of different softwares for webinars.
For large scale shows, I use WebinarJam. I then use EverWebinar (an add on to WebinarJam) if I want to create replays for marketing purposes.
For smaller live shows on use a tool called Belive.Tv. This allows me to create talkshow type broadcasts to my Facebook audience.
9. Speed Reading
You need to read to learn.
You need to learn to be an entrepreneur.
The time it takes you to learn how to speed read will pay itself off thousands of times over during the course of your lifetime. According to Tom Corley of RichHabits.com, 88% of the wealthy read at least 30 minutes each day compared to 2% of the poor.
For speed reading programs, check out 7 Speed Reading. It is the most comprehensive program out there for learning speed reading and learning it fast.
10. Touch Typing
The truth is you're going to be writing a hell of a lot of words over the course of your lifetime. Don't waste time with the "check and peck" approach to typing. Learn how to type the right way from the beginning and it will save you more time than you can imagine.
Business users send and receive on average 121 emails a day in 2014, and this is expected to grow to 140 emails a day by 2018.
Calculate how many emails you send each day and tell me that you couldn’t benefit from learning how to type more quickly. I recommend keybr.com.
Note: A typing speed over 40 WPM (with no errors) is considered above average and a speed of over 100 WPM is considered incredibly fast.
How to Learn These Skills Efficiently
That is a lot to learn.
Let's make sure that you are maximizing the time you put into learning these skills.
1. The tutorials and getting started videos within the tools
This sounds too easy…this is honestly the best way I have found to learn how to use programs and services. Some of these are better than others.
2. Ask the right questions
If you are stumped on something, try it yourself and then find a professional who can show you and explain it (if possible).
3. Online courses
You can find quality courses both paid and free all over the internet. For a list, check out this article by Lifehack.org. My online learning program of choice is Udemy. They have courses on nearly any subject and often have fantastic discounts.
Don’t underestimate the power of YouTube! It is the second largest search engine in the world behind Google.
This is the number one way to learn a new skill and it is not optional. None of what I am about to mention can be learned or retained without practice and high reps.
Bonus Learning Hack: Bite off more than you can chew. When you are under pressure to perform or meet a deadline, you find a way to get things done and actually increase the retention of what you learn. Ann Dupuis discusses this concept in a study performed in the 1990s (Quick Learning Under Pressure New Learning Rules for GURPS) and likens it to how new soldiers learn quickly during boot camp.