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How to get unstuck with your professional development


As a freelancer or small business owner you’ve probably hit the wall many times. I certainly have. Maybe you struggle with your business growth, don’t know how to improve your services and tweak your processes or can’t broaden your professional skills.

After many years of running your business, you may come to the conclusion that you know it all.

There’s nothing that will surprise you, there’s nothing new to learn, there’s nowhere to go with your professional development.

That’s a totally normal impression.

But that’s all it really is—an impression.

So, how to get rid of that paralysing feeling and find more room to grow?

Have a look at the tips below:



1. Leave your comfort zone


The reason why many professionals feel that they can’t grow their businesses or sharpen their skills anymore is the routine.

You do the same things every day, serve the same customers, perform the same tasks and talk to the same people. Your social media streams show only what’s already familiar to you, so you can’t find your inspiration there either. The same events, articles, books or courses keep flashing in your eyes, and you can’t understand why no one comes up with new content.

To break free from this circle you can either start sharing your skills with other professionals or leave your comfort zone. Both methods will help you change the routine and give you room to grow.

For example, you can join new online groups (via LinkedIn, Facebook or other platform) to engage with new people and find fresh ideas or resources.

If you decide to share your skills—be it in a book, online course or an article, you’ll probably benefit much more than your target users, readers and customers. That’s at least what happens to me every time I work on a course, article, book or conference presentation: sharing my skills and teaching others is always a valuable lesson for me. 


2. Look beyond your industry


Another way to gain a fresh perspective on your professional development is to search for ideas outside of your industry. Pick a new field to peek into the life of other freelancers and business owners. For example, you could follow social media accounts or register to events that have nothing to do with your line of work. If you’re a translator, engage with programmers, carpenters or graphic designers. If you’re a mobile app developer, have a look at profiles from a legal or medical industry.

Maybe this shift of perspective will help you find new processes, new tools and new resources that you can implement in your business as well. Maybe you’ll meet someone who will inspire you to change the way you think about your services or marketing strategies.

That’s at least what happened to me. I connected via Instagram with my friends who are also business owners, but work in different industries. By following one brilliant shoemaker from California (also a friend of mine), I got inspiration and courage to make my social media content more engaging and entertaining.

The growth possibilities are endless. All you need to do is to look beyond your industry with an open mind.


3. Keep asking and searching


If you get stuck, you can never go wrong when you simply ask for help. To get rid of the overwhelming feeling that you can’t change anything in your business or learn anything new, simply ask your colleagues or discuss this topic with someone outside of your close group of friends and co-workers. Ask them what they do to keep growing, how they find inspiration to tweak their services or what resources they use to keep honing their skills.

Maybe your discussions and conversations, both online and offline, will help you find the hidden treasure. Sometimes the best resources for our professional growth are not where everyone’s attention is—in aggressively promoted events, books or courses—but lie hidden in the quiet nooks of Internet. All you need to do is to put in some effort to discover them. That’s how you’ll be able to take your skills and business to the new level.



Over to you

Professional development is a lifelong journey, even if you think you’ve already reached your destination. It might be tough to find valuable resources, but if you keep looking, asking and breaking your routine, you’ll definitely find more room to grow.

So, what is your growth plan for this year?



P.S. If you struggle to find time for your growth, I share some tips in my free e-book “How to make the best use of your time”.


And if you’re looking for advice on how to better manage your business and professional development when you juggle work with motherhood, have a look at my book “You’ve got this: How to continue your freelance career when you become a mother”.



Dorota helps digital brands infuse their content with a local touch. She is a localization consultant, translator specialized in IT, prompt engineer, and a book author. Dorota teaches online courses on localization, writes for her blog and a Medium publication. She also runs a Small Biz AI, a Substack newsletter for freelancers and small business owners ready to discover handy AI tools.