The Accidental Mentor

It started with close friends. These people asked questions and I would help find answers. I loved to problem solve. I now mentor and help a few close friends and give advice on technology, communications, and personal development.

Do they have to listen to me? NO, but I make sure they understand my passion is helping them discover theirs. The creative industry is a great place, but can be heavily saturated at times. Should this discourage you from finding your place in it? The answer is no.

I was very fortunate to start my career at a very young age. Finishing college before I was 21, and working as a professional designer within months of graduating, I spent the next 14 years (as of 2017) in the creative industry.

I picked up skills in many areas of the industry including:

  1. 3D animation
  2. Motion Graphics
  3. Branding & Print Design
  4. User Interface / User Experience
  5. Photography
  6. Video Production
  7. Web Design
  8. Web Development
  9. Digital marketing
  10. Content Marketing

With these skills, I have worked with multi-million dollar companies and helped build marketing departments that support domestic and international creative projects. Why do I tell you about this experience? I want you to know that no matter how much I think I know, I understand there is even more to learn.

My number one piece of advice: Never stop learning

Even when you think you have learned everything about your industry, you must realize there is even more to learn.

  1. Industries change – All industries change constantly, and I encourage you to develop a mentality of learning and open communication.
  2. People Change – Learn to adapt to different personalities and realize one size does not fit all when it comes to dealing with people.
  3. Technology changes – Technology will change like you change your clothes. It happens every day, and sometimes twice a day. Keep an open ear online to your industry of choice.

How do I help others find a passion?

I have a friend and co-worker that felt stuck in her career. She was young, but realized that she needed to get more into technical aspects of design if she was going to thrive and continue to grow. From this point, I knew I could help. Not because of previous experience, but because I have a passion for helping others grow. I quickly put together a targeted list of websites and specific courses that would help her learn on her own time. They were all self-paced, and could be done on her free-time.

Online Learning, and why you should be interested

The web has always been a place for consuming content. But, with the introduction of cheaper personal technology like computers, and smart phones, people are creating more and more content and sharing with the world. This content is helping others learn things like how to change a tire, and how to cook.

YouTube has quickly become the #2 search engine in the world because it is a visual form of media that is instantly accessible at any time. Have a question? Google it. But, here is the cautious side of me.

Anyone with a camera and computer can load content and teach people how to do something. It doesn’t always mean it is the right way. Therefore, I lean on more professional forms of online learning. There is nothing wrong with googling and browsing YouTube, just keep in mind the authority that the information is coming from.

Keeping your mind open to online learning will help you personally and professionally. When you become well rounded in a few different industries, you become more and more valuable to others around you. You become a source of information. This is why I started my blog. To help others realize why they should continue online learning.

What websites do I recommend for online learning?

There are literally thousands of search results that you can get when you do a search for “online learning classes”.  Here are a few of my favorite so far:

  1. Creativelive.com – This website is my go-to for creative online learning. It provides free on-air classes and then offers the tutorial sets for you to purchase later.
  2. Lynda.com – for professional development, I highly recommend Lynda. This website is now a part of Linkedin.com, so you can rest assure it has built an authority on professional development.
  3. Udemy.com – This website has some hit-and-miss courses, but overall it has a wide variety of lessons you can enroll in. The goal of the website was to inspire people with industry experience to make courses for others to learn. Think of it as people-to-people learning. Not business to consumer.

It doesn’t have to be an industry. Start with a new skill

I remember considering online college, and I quickly realized that I didn’t want to go through school again. Parts of me wanted to learn new skills, but not enroll in major courses. I wanted to switch my skill-sets at will, and not be locked into a program that had classes I was not interested in.

Do your research, and set your budget

Many of the sample website I have given are reasonable in pricing. Some offer individual course pricing, and others allow you to have unlimited access for a monthly cost. Either way, before you jump into learning, make sure you have a plan.

Write out a few things that can help you stay organized:

  1. Free-time: How much do you have and what are you willing to spend on learning.
  2. Budget – you can make one-time purchases, or monthly commitments, but in the end, just make sure you are enjoying the new skills you are learning
  3. PassionYOU MUST ENJOY THE SUBJECT. If you find your starting and not finishing courses, you may want to reconsider your passion or subject. I always recommend starting simple, and building on small successes.

Start your own journey

Your passions matter, and if you take the time to realize that you can continue learning on your own terms, you can accomplish anything. Stay smart, organized, and open minded to new things. There is never a wrong time for a new beginning.