Ep. 238 You don’t need another qualification


In this week’s episode, Anna argues that you need to get started now rather than waiting until you have yet another qualification under your belt.

Many of the clients I work with, like me, come from an academic background where they have studied for advanced degrees and continue to bring this rigour to their expert business today.

However, although there is huge value to be found in personal and professional growth and development, it’s not always the right priority and it may rather be getting in the way of your results.

In this week’s episode, we are discussing how…

  • Lifelong learning and dedication to improving your craft and providing a better service to your clients is an admirable and necessary part of running your own business.
  • Delaying action until you have this one more qualification can, in fact, be a form of procrastination distracting you from the scary work that will truly move you forwards in your business.
  • You absolutely can, and often should, get moving before you have all the pieces in place, and you can always learn as you go.

Tune in to this week’s podcast episode for a gentle nudge towards taking imperfect action before you’re 100% ready.

*Resources mentioned during the episode*

The Outsiders Business Academy – A self-paced course for you to work through in your own time, to learn – and implement – the foundations of building a profitable business that lets you escape the 9 to 5. onestepoutside.com/course

Another qualification

You don’t need another qualification. Let me say that one more time, you do not need another qualification. I mean, maybe you do. So if you’re working in a regulated industry, and you need a certain qualification, to allow yourself to call yourself something, then yes, of course, you need to have a qualification in order to actually offer that service, let’s say within that regulated industry, however, if you’re a coach or consultant, these are not regulated industries. Anyone can put up a website or business card and say, Hey, I’m a coach and start coaching people.

Now, if we’re talking about ethical integrity, marketing, running your business, as well, which of course we are, we want to have the belief that we can help people, we want to have the ethical principles in place. And on my coach training, we had a specific code of ethics that we learned, we want to be credible with our target. But what’s important is you don’t need this other qualification. I didn’t actually need that coaching certification. Now, it gave me confidence that I could do it, it reinforced my belief that I wanted to do it.

It gave me lots of frameworks. In fact, in my training that I did, we luckily, I guess I found this incredible training. It was the International Coach Academy, very international, done via tele learning teleclasses. And, and calls because I was traveling at the time. So that worked really well, very international. Then I developed my own coaching power tool framework, I wrote a research paper. And so, you know, in no way do I regret doing it. And I always recommend that people do it. However, don’t wait until you have that qualification. Within corporate rights, I’m now doing an organizational psychology MicroMasters.

Because I find it fascinating because I’m pivoting a little bit with my b2b work. And I want to work for a number of reasons, I want to have possibly a bit more credibility with my corporate clients, I want to be able to have topics that I can dig into that perhaps I wasn’t so aware of, in my individual work, and so on, right? So look, I totally get it, I get why you want to sign up to not certification, get another qualification, you know, get something more to put onto your CV on your LinkedIn to tell people and so on. You know me if you’ve been following me for a while I’m that good girl, I’ve got the academic background top of my class went to Oxford University, the tendency is always to want to be overqualified. Not to mention the fact and I know some of you, in fact, probably all of you share this, I have this huge hunger for learning value of lifelong learning. I will devour books I learning Spanish again on Duolingo. Right now I’m listening to podcasts, I’m signing up for courses willy nilly, hopefully not willing. I’m very intentional about it. But I totally get the urge.

And there is huge value in ongoing learning. So let’s look at the benefits.

First of all, and I think this will be quite a short episode. But hopefully I’m getting my message across. Check me out being more provocative and having an opinion, benefits of getting qualifications, right, it builds your confidence. I think, honestly, that’s the biggest benefit. Because you perhaps realize, in fact, in the past pretty COVID When I went to conferences and things I’d be like, hey, actually, yeah, there’s not a lot that they’ve talked about, that I didn’t know about. So that kind of reassures me builds my confidence. If your mentors and course tutors, speakers, and events and so on, are saying stuff you already know. That’s pretty good. That’s a sign that you should be up there talking. Right. And that certainly happens to me more and more.

I listen to podcasts, I think, well, that hasn’t actually taught me anything new, because I’ve been pretty much devouring this content for if not the last 10 years, since I quit my job, at least the last eight years since I’ve been more in the coaching entrepreneurial space. So it can build your confidence that yes, you do know what you’re doing. I’ve got this qualification and it makes me feel better. And that’s huge, right? We shouldn’t underestimate that mindset piece. The confidence that’s that’s obviously if you know, my five pillars framework, that’s the second pillar are building that life and business outside the nine to five, building your confidence and resilience. It also and this is also not to be underestimated gives you valuable content and prompts to use.

I’m learning things in my course, you will be learning things whether you whether you are doing a formal MBA or PhD or a little online course or something. And that’s something to say by the way, you can do informal learning, right? It doesn’t have to be a hugely expensive 15,000 pound Master’s, the first thing you do, then you’re getting these ideas for blog posts for videos and things that you can use for programs perhaps to use with your clients. Right and that’s massive. So you’re getting content, angles, maybe also evidence based strategies and frameworks and tools. So On my positive psychology course that I did, it was a five part course, from UPenn, University of Pennsylvania during COVID was on Coursera. So one of these online MOOC platforms, I paid a monthly fee. And then I got free access, ostensibly free to do this course, I discovered Angela Duckworth, who wrote the book grit. And the whole course, in fact, was very much evidence based databased as is, in fact, of course, my my current Organizational Psychology course, right. And that’s just something that I hadn’t really done.

The good thing, or the empowering thing, I suppose about building your own business and building your credibility is that you don’t need to have all the science and data and so on, right, it’s a lot of opinions and sharing ideas and frameworks, and examples and so on.

But if you’d like me want a bit more substance, and to have that evidence based strategy, and I’m just hearing the rain outside, and I’m about to go for a run, be a bit put off, I keep talking to you in the meantime, then this gives you your substance, and again, credibility and confidence and so on. And final point, then on the benefits of the certifications, qualifications, it does give you credibility. So sometimes it’s needed for a regulated industry, I don’t think that’s what we’re talking about here. However, if I’m working with a corporate target, specifically offering coaching, it’s not something I’ve come up against, but generally, they would probably ask you for your training. You’re, you’re in my case, ICF certified accredited training. And then are you a member of the ICF or an equivalent body? You know, what’s your, they call it ACC, PCC, MCC, depending on the hours you’ve done, and so on. Again, I’m always wobbling on this one, you know, it’s, it’s a great sign that you’re investing in your learning, because there’s certain amount of ongoing learning you have to do.

You do mentoring, you know, someone mentors, you supervises you, and so on. But ultimately, there is no one official body, there are a few different bodies and surgeons, there’s no one authority on these things. So again, it’s more of a personal choice, for your own confidence, for your inspiration for your network, perhaps and for your credibility. So some clients might demand these things, certainly working with individuals. For me, it’s more the content, I’m sharing articles, I’m writing podcast episodes, social media, and so on, that will persuade you or not, and then I can help you. And it’s not necessarily and that’s become less and less important.

Certainly, the more experience I have the particular training I did, funnily enough, one of the corporate gigs I do is doing gigs sounds so sexy doesn’t this, if I’m a musician, or a comedian, I do these workshops for an agency and I’ve worked with them for seven, eight years, I think, since 2016. And they just the first time asked me to send my CPD login and fill in this form where I had to say, and I did ask them my maths and verbal level, so I had to put my GCSE results so that if you’re not used for a UK base, that was from when I was 16, my IB my English Baccalaureate from, from the equivalent of a level when I was 18.

And, and all my training and so on, which I found quite amusing because nobody has asked me that for a long time. In fact, they even asked if my CV I’m like, I’m really sorry, I’ve had my own business for 10 years, no CV, here is a PDF of my LinkedIn profile. So those are the benefits confidence, content credibility, there you go triple C, for your certification qualification. However, the reason why I’m saying and the reason why I’m arguing against this next qualification view is that it can be and I often see that it is a form of procrastination, or if I just get this one more training, whether it’s former infirm, I just need this one more certification, then I’ll be confident to x y Zed. And it’s not true, I hate to break it to you, you’re not going to suddenly become magically, more confident and assertive and capable from this course. Right, you will learn interesting things, you will have that extra thing you can put in your LinkedIn profile. But if you’re finding that this is distracting you from you know from getting on with it, then then that’s actually a negative. There’s an opportunity cost of things that you could be doing.

And instead, you’re spending your time on this. Speaking of cost, there is a cost to doing these courses. The positive psychology course I did during COVID, I had the optimistic idea that it would be a couple of months, I was paying that monthly fee. I hesitate on a factor don’t remember luckily, but I spent a lot of months and a lot more money than unwanted because of babies and COVID and work and so on. Right?

It took me much longer than I thought it would. So yes, of course investing in your ongoing professional development is so important and something I value and will always do. But not when you’re struggling to pay the bills as it is then you really need to be focusing on getting these clients or getting that job actually getting the income.

And I talked about procrastination if it’s distracting you from doing the actual important but probably scary stuff, which you should be doing I always hesitate to use the word should. But you should be talking to people about what you do being more visible, online or offline, inviting people to work with you. And it’s just easier for those of us who love learning, the academics, the good girls and boys among us to do another course where we’ll get a good grade, they’ve already got past my first module of this course that I’m doing. And woohoo, I’m so good look at me Goldstar. Great, has that made any difference to my business net?

No, I made I think one post on LinkedIn about it. I like to share with people who care that I’m doing this course. And I think it’s a great time, you know, thing that I’m doing. But the last couple of weeks, in fact, I’ve had to deprioritize I’ve chosen to deprioritize it, because I’m busy in my business. So don’t let it be a form of procrastination. Don’t invest in it when you’re struggling as it is, and don’t let it distract you from the stuff that you really want to do. You know, I, I’m a fan of time blocking, if you know me at all, did a workshop on this a few weeks ago, months ago, maybe by now. And, you know, blocking time on your calendar to make sure that if you’re going to do that course, whatever it is, it’s only one hour or two hours, whatever. And you still have time for the other things you need to do lead generation and nurture and marketing and content creation and actually delivering the service to your clients and so on. So a couple of things. So I’ve already given you one tip there. One is to block time for these things. Another is to block about a budget allocation to assign a bucket as it were for your training.

I’ve just done this with my accountant. So I just said, you know, we had a certain amount per month but I do have my eye on not certifications or qualifications. But a couple of mentors I’d like to work with you know, as I uplevel now to a different stage of my business. And I don’t want to just throw out 1000s of pounds on something without thinking it through Of course, without knowing it’s going to you know is the right thing I want to do at the right time. And in this case without having allocated a budget so we’re going to create little space I follow the Profit First accounting system so book by Mike McCalla wits Profit First, and I’m creating a space on my Starling app. So sorry if none of this means anything to you. But just the point is, I’m creating a bucket where I’m going to be allocating money for training. And then when I get to the amount that I want, then I’m you know, I’ve kind of made that money. It’s almost like saving money for something right for that. Nice luxury handbag, whatever you want to buy, but but more valuable because it’s you’re immersing yourself. So assign time to it aside money to it. And most importantly as ever, ask yourself why you’re doing it be really specific about what you want out of it. Don’t just do it, because you feel you should other people have done it. Of course, you need another qualification? No, this is the specific thing I need it because legally I need it. I need it because clients are asking for it.

And I need it because right now I don’t feel I have the frameworks or the content to work with my clients.

And by the way, if you do, I would still do client work. Be visible, create content, do the things, build your business while you’re learning. So don’t put everything off until once you get the the final tickbox certificate to put on your LinkedIn. So I hope that’s helpful. I’m sure there are some of you, I see who needed to hear that, again, not to in any way rain on the parade of lifelong learners like myself. And there are some incredible courses and things out there. Sometimes you might rather need you know, it’s not more knowledge and certification is like a mentor sounding board, a guide, a coach, and sometimes you just need to get on with it because you know what you need to do and you just need to do it. So hopefully that was a bit of a nod, nod a prompt for you. And I as ever look forward to your thoughts. Maybe share this with a fellow lifelong learner as well if you’d like to help them out as well, if you found it valuable. I’ll see you next week. Bye for now


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