If you want to work for yourself or start a side project, a great place to begin is by assessing your most marketable skills. However, sometimes we are missing skills to do the work we really want to do. Nat Eliason believes the most effective way to learn new skills is through experimentation.
I actually like to think of this guy as a curator of business experiments as you’ll soon hear!
He’s a writer, marketing consultant and host of the Made You Think Podcast, focused on preparing college students for the realities of life beyond college.
He started his first business, an app to help people pick out their clothes, as a sophomore in college. It failed within a year.
But that experience inspired him to learn more about marketing, so he landed a marketing internship at Zapier, a business app integration platform.
Told you this guy was a curator of business experiments for learning new skills!
There are a lot of great lessons in our conversation including:
- Why the skill of writing is far more valuable regardless despite the work you do.
- Despite raising $100,000 for his first business while in college, why bootstrapping, might be a better course of action.
- Why pitching yourself for doing work for free is crucial for landing the job you really want.
- How to get paid more for your skills than what you are currently being paid by showing ROI.
Life Skills That Matter In This Episode
- Tell your story.
- Self-directed learning.
- Embrace discomfort.
- Learn new skills.
How Nat Works and Thinks
- Wake up time: 7:00-8:00 am
- Core work activities + habits: 1) Writing. 2) Interviewing for his podcast. 3) Reading. Getting inspiration for articles and podcast episodes.
- Ideal work environment: At his standing desk in his living room or at a Starbucks nearby with workouts and meals mixed in.
- Superpower: Averting boredom and being able to figure things out based on available information.
- Regains focus by: Looking at and addressing the biological reason for being unfocused, avoiding distractions.
- Favorite productivity tool: Trello.
- 90-day goal: Get both podcasts up to at least 10,000 downloads per episode, get the site over 100,000 unique visitors per week, and get an agent or book deal.
- Benefit of moving around: Ironing out his routine to figure out what is essential through setting up working routines in different places. Choose to either being a tourist or working.
“I usually prefer to ask somebody, ‘what are you working on,’ or ‘what do you do for fun?'”
“Be sure that you actually need to raise money before you put the effort into it because it’s a huge pain.”
“Having proof of work is so huge for getting hired now, in that it’s so easy to evaluate people by what they’ve done.”
“Do whatever you can do to show why they are going to make way more money than they are paying you.”
“If you don’t have underlying habits that can live without the tool, then the tool won’t work and if you have those habits, you don’t need the tool.”
To get started on learning something new, Nat offers these suggestions:
2) Learn about deliberate practice. Check out Peak by Anders Ericsson and Robert Pool.
3) Go to nateliason.com/what-you-should-learn for a collection of information Nat put together about how to teach yourself anything.
Resources + Bonus Materials
Recession Proof Graduate by Charlie Hoehn
Outliers by Malcom Gladwell
Photo of Nat and Niki (dog who joined our chat;)
Go to nateliason.com/life-skills-bonus for his compilation of free resources on self-education.