Continuing to advance your career boils down to forging ahead with the skillset you possess, as well as learning new techniques that can help your business grow now and into the future. While at the beginning of your career you may feel quite green, the more you learn, the better equipped you will feel to handle all kinds of situations.

The skills you learn throughout your life may come in handy as your business expands into new markets and industries. You may have learned a niche that suddenly becomes popular later in life, or you may sharpen your skills so much so that you are an expert that others turn to for advice.

Staying on top of your game is key to retaining these skills, which is why 14 members of Young Entrepreneur Council share the best ways to make sure you’re constantly improving the skills you need to know, so that you have them when you need them. Here is what they had to say:

1. Design a System of Improvement

There’s no reason not to aim to be world class. Within your niche as a business leader, you should know as much as possible. To make sure you’re on the right track, plan out your skill building just as you would plan out your business goals. Then allow yourself time to actively work on those skills, whether that’s reading, seminars, or other learning methods. – Fan Bi, Menswear Reviewed

2. Remain Open to Learning

I use spare time to read industry related literature and watch relevant videos. This keeps me up to speed with the latest in technological advances, and just about every time I find out about a new aspect, I make it a point to dig deeper. I have my inquisitiveness to thank, and I keep learning because I never know when I might need to use a skill that I haven’t used before. – Derek Robinson, Top Notch Dezigns

3. Take Online Classes With Friends

There are many online classes these days, making it easier than ever to be a lifelong learner. You just have to find the motivation to complete the class. One way that I stay motivated is by having a friend take some classes with me. We keep each other on track by discussing the lessons and bouncing ideas off each other. – Chris Christoff, MonsterInsights

4. Actually Implement What You Learn

One of the best ways to improve your skills is by reading about others who are successful, studying where your skills fall short, and actually implementing what you’ve read. I had studied Java and C++ for years, but I didn’t really understand how each worked until I put them into practice. – Kristin Marquet, Creative Development Agency, LLC

5. Read Relevant Blogs

It seems like these days there’s always new technology coming out, making old processes obsolete and businesses more efficient than ever. To stay up to date on the latest technology and skills required to compete in my industry, I have go-to blogs that I read daily. Subscribe to the newsletters of industry-specific blogs to stay posted on the latest information. – Syed Balkhi, OptinMonster

6. Read Books Written By People With Similar Lives

The best way is to make sure you’re reading non-fiction books. They are a common staple of high-performing people’s routine. They allow you to learn from people, in hindsight, what skills or insights they needed to succeed. For me, that’s the best return on investment you could ask for, and it’s something you can do during your breaks every day. – Alexander Mistakidis, Gamelynx

7. Follow Industry Leaders on Social Media

Make your Facebook timeline a learning hub by following thought leaders and relevant sites in your industry. This will help you stay up to date on relevant news and changes in your industry to be able to better predict future trends. – Jared Atchison, WPForms

8. Use ‘Rest Hacks’ That Work

Whether I am taking a road trip or running on the track, I am always looking to broaden my horizons with something new. I use an arsenal of “rest hacks” that broaden my horizons and energize my spirit. If I go out for a lunch break, I invite someone who may teach me something. When taking a road trip, I listen to podcasts, so my time is not idle. – Sweta Patel, Silicon Valley Startup Marketing

9. Practice Where the Stakes Are Low

Nothing improves without practice, so the first place to start is by uncovering a low-stakes way to craft the skills you need. For example, let’s look at public speaking. Find opportunities to speak to local schools, guest lecture at a nearby college or volunteer for an event that you have some expertise in. You’ll help others, meet new people and be better when the stakes are high. – Jeff Jahn, DynamiX

10. Attend Seminars

I highly recommend going to seminars, conferences and workshops. You can read books and watch YouTube videos all day long, but nothing can replace the energy and motivation to commit to skill development, when you attend a conference. Attending 10x Growth Conference has been groundbreaking for me. The speakers who share their stories have motivated me beyond any other event. – Matthew Capala, Alphametic

11. Learn and Teach Your Skills to Others

We’ve known for centuries that the best way to understand a concept is to explain it to others. If you’re looking to sharpen your skills, learn something new then teach it to your team. This is the best way to re-enforce what you’ve learned. – Zachary Burkes, Predictable Profits

12. Take Short, Intensive Classes

I like taking intensive one-day boot camp style classes. For example, I’m taking an all-day Excel class this weekend. It’s always good to continue to improve your skills and taking short, but intensive classes is the best use of my time. – Lisa Curtis, Kuli Kuli Inc.

13. Get a Mentor

The best way to know what skills are needed and which path to take is to ask people that have already done what you intend to achieve. If you are setting up a nonprofit, talk to people who run such organizations and find out what skills they use on a daily basis. Make a list of skills you lack and need to develop. After that, it is important to create a learning plan with resources and steps. – Alejandro Rioja, Flux Chargers

14. Make Mistakes

Turning your business into a learning organization is one of the best ways to continue to develop the skills you and your team need over time. The best way to learn is by making mistakes, then analyzing those mistakes to figure out where to improve. After taking this strategy to heart you will begin to notice that you are meeting goals more efficiently. – Zohar Steinberg, token payments


  • Scott Gerber

    Founder and CEO

    Young Entrepreneur Council

    Scott Gerber is the founder of YEC, an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most successful young entrepreneurs. Learn more at