Future of your Work: 10 Steps to Your Digital Business Education Plan for Lawyers and Knowledge Pros

Future of Business EducationMany professionals are wondering about future skills needed to stay ahead of the game for the next 5 years. In my view, acquiring new skills are wasted on the professional unless they offer the promise of a better work lifestyle. The future of professional work is being transformed today and it’s a good thing (see James Altucher’s article on How to Become a [modern] Slave).

Think of it. In a March 2013 survey conducted by Forbes, one of the happiest jobs in North America is the senior sales professional. I gasped. The benefits of this happy profession includes “decent” freedom and compensation. The least happiest is the lawyer. Gasped and gasped. Somehow I knew that. Apparently, we all hate the corporate culture and the counterproductive billable hours. We also hate the dress code.

So, will digital business transform the way we feel about work? According to the recent McKinsey & Company study, the digital transformation will impact the service industry in a major and profound way. This study shows that digital channels to deliver advice, information and similar type services reduce costs by a whopping 35%. It is not hard to anticipate that major law firms will be facing a show down with niche players occupying digital office space and a nimble workforce. Yes, things in the firm are about to face a game changing reset by the likes of solo experts.

So, instead of pursing an executive MBA, how about getting ready to work within the digital transformation? Let me offer a 10 Step Digital Business Education Plan to fast track the knowledge professional into the future of work, today. Pace yourself. Learning digital business skills is a 1 year process and it is lonely (unless of course, we hang out together via webinars and the likes). I am not aware of any MBA program that can provide you with the skills of the future to digitize your business. If I were to write the basic curriculum for a Digital Business School, the curriculum would work like this:

Step 1: Your Online Branding. Mandatory. Learn how to get found in a digital world. Will your prospects/clients find you by googling your name or your services? Your job here is to determine if you want to become a “brand” or promote your services. Becoming a brand is essential if you are in the promotion business, like politician, speaker, expert or athlete. Dan Pink is the obvious example.  Michael Geist is an example of an internet privacy law expert. Kaihan Krippendorff is another powerful business expert in strategy that leverages his name to promote his services.

Most professionals do not  brand their names to promote their services  but instead opt for the “key words to solve problems” strategy.  For example, I choked recently in a golf championship. After the game, I googled key words “golf, mental coach” and found Pro Mental Coach Golf. Another powerful example is Pat Flynn’s Smart Passive Income. If you google passive income, you will find Pat Flynn.

Step 2: Learn the Power of Domain Name and SEO. Mandatory. Owning your digital platform starts with a name. There are rules for choosing the right name and the right domain name registrar. Here is an excellent free resource to get you up to date on the power of search engine optimization by Copyblogger. I have joined the online business education class with Fizzle.co, a powerful and connected group of young business entrepreneurs. What an amazing way to learn modern digital business skills.

Step 3: Learn Web Hosting. Optional but useful. Lifehacker published an excellent article on the best web hosting companies in the U.S. Web hosting is like building the foundation to your house. Essential but not exciting. I personally use Funio.com because I can pay in Canadian currency and they offer great tutorials on how to set up your website.

Step 4: Learn to Style your WordPress framework. Optional but strongly recommended. Essential literacy skills of the future. This is like styling your house with a “theme”. I personally use StudioPress Themes because they are mobile responsive, have the best tutorials and training and support.

Step 5: Learn to write content for the online marketing. Mandatory. This is the single most important new skill set in the digital business world. Forget all the rules of marketing. If you don’t know how to use the new power of education in this modern world of marketing, you might as well retire from the professional life. Sorry. It’s that important. Register and get your training at Copyblogger. Most of the basic resources are free but you can upgrade your training with their premium Mastermind class called Authority. I just recently joined Authority.

Step 6: Learn to produce video. Mandatory. Did you know that Google is the 2nd largest search engine, after Google? It’s bigger than Bing, Yahoo, etc.. combined. As you become more at ease with producing content for your digital platform or website, you will realize how powerful video content is for your business. Don’t worry. You won’t need a production team and perfection is not the goal. My favourite resources to learn all about producing online video content for the small business pro are 1. James Wedmore – You Tube Marketing and Online Video Awesomeness for Small Business Owners and 2. Gideon Shalwick – Quick tips on How to Learn How to Leverage You Tube for Tons of Traffic, Leads and Sales for Online Business.

Step 7: Learn to build online list and forms. Mandatory.  Avoid costly mistakes and online marketing faux pas. We must all learn to build powerful online community of people we love to help (and be helped). Email still rules but there are new “rules”. Learn with the masters at Think Traffic, the guys from Fizzle.co.

Step 8: Discover the power of podcasts. Optional but hyper useful. This is where I am today. Why podcasts? Think of your own habits. When do you have time to learn something new, get updates, hear a story or grab an in-depth story on how something works? For example, every time I go for a run, I listen to a podcast, like HBR IdeaCast, Six Pixels of Separation, or Bullletproof Executive Radio. I get totally inspired by the mini conferences offered in a podcast. You establish a trusting relationship in a podcast and it helps speed up the purchase cycle.

Step 9: Learn the science of motivation and performance. Mandatory. Sports psychology is the most undervalued skill set with professionals. When was the last time you read “How to Win Friends and Influence People”? More relevant reading than ever. How do you manage office politics or business development? Do you really know how to handle those situations? As we gain more confidence with our skills, we lose interest with others. We all do. How many times have you pitch your services to prospects and did not even know a thing or two about the prospect’s personal motivation? Read Dr. Heidi Grant Halvorson’s blog and book, a professor at Columbia Business School and a regular contributor  to Harvard Business Review. Figuring out motivations for you and others is a modern skill set for an increasingly individualistic workplace.

Step 10: Learn the Lean Startup principles. Mandatory. Join the Lean Startup Movement even if it is aimed at a technology crowd. Data analytics for the rest of us. It will help you learn that you cannot start a business with a perfect plan. You need to start anywhere and start analyzing what you see. More action, less planning initially.

There you have it, your course curriculum for your Digital Business Education. Best time to start a new education is still September!

About sleclair

Suzanne is a "connected lawyer" and a cloud office fanatic. Suzanne helps other professionals like her, work out of the best espresso bars in the world. Suzanne runs, & runs her business anywhere.

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