I originally published this article on Entrepreneur.com.
Have you seen the recent Cadillac commercial?
You know, the “Don’t You Dare” one with all the young entrepreneurs who are changing the world. You see these young inventors and pioneers and venture capitalists and you think, “now that‘s what I should be striving for.”
Well the reality is, most entrepreneurs aren’t quite like that. Those stories are inspiring, but the vast majority of entrepreneurs — even young entrepreneurs – made it to where they are today by showing up every single day, learning basic skills, working hard and never quitting. One bite at a time, as they say.
You don’t have to come up with a groundbreaking new invention or technology to have the freedom and sense of accomplishment that comes with being an entrepreneur. You just have to tell a story, connect with others, and solve a problem.
But how can you, with no high-end education or venture capital, start connecting and solving problems that will eventually change people’s lives?
Well, you’re going to need to learn a few basic skills of your own in order to reach the world and make money in the process, so here are five specific skills that can help you do just that.
1. Learn how to write persuasively.
Hear me out, because this is probably the most important point. Most people in America can write, but not everyone can write persuasively. Writing to persuade someone to take action is called copywriting, and it’s a very powerful thing.
Leaders are persuasive, and nearly every major social event in history occurred because someone was persuasive. Persuasive copy allows you to convince people to read your article, buy your product, join your group, and so on and so on.
2. Write something useful regularly.
Attention is the new currency. Gain someone’s attention in today’s world, and you’ve really done something special. Gain the attention of a group of people, and you can build any business you’d like.
Seth Godin once said that everyone should have a blog and write something, anything, every single day. If that’s a bit much for you, then make it every week. Just write frequently and write consistently. Write about what you know about, or what you want to help other people do.
The thing to remember is, attention is gold, and attention is only gained by contributing. Learn to contribute (by writing something useful and posting it to the world) on a consistent basis, and I’m confident you’ll be amazed at where you are a year from now.
3. Learn basic coding skills.
Kids in grade school are learning to code now, which should tell you something. Technology is the future whether you like it or not, so even if you have no intention of being a programmer or software developer, you still need to know how to read and write basic code.
Plus, when you do decide you want to reach the world with your ideas, how do you suppose you’re going to do it? A website? Maybe even an app? Developers are expensive. Like, really expensive. It feels amazing to be able to build the basics of what you need to get started without having to save up for a year or pay a cheap shady contractor to do it for you.
4. Learn how to use WordPress.
I can’t stress this enough. Learn how to use WordPress. It powers over 24 percent of the Web now, and it’s only going to continue to grow.
When you’re ready to build your website or blog (and you will need a website or blog), WordPress enables you to do it all yourself, for free. You probably don’t want to do everything yourself, but when you’re first getting started building an audience to sell your idea or product to, getting a website off the ground can be the most time-consuming and expensive part — unless you know how to use WordPress.
Not to mention if you get in a financial pinch and need some extra money, you can freelance as a WordPress developer with only a basic knowledge of how to set WordPress up, and people will pay you good money. It’s something to think about.
5. Learn how search engines work.
If you want to connect with people across the internet, you’re going to need to know how search engines work and how to get yourself in the top of search results. Learning search engine optimization, or SEO, can mean the difference between writing to crickets and building a loyal following.
If you want to learn SEO, Google “learn SEO” and start exploring. (Here’s a good resource if you want to save some time.)
Make a point to spend time on a regular basis learning these five skills, and you’ll be well on your way to having the skills necessary to build the business or movement you’ve always wanted.