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January 2, 2010

Are you building assets or acquring skills? (And does it matter?)

Improving yourself comes in two distinct forms. You can build skills or create assets.

Skills help you to do what you already do, but better. Skills include things like Time management, presentation skills (theres a hint in the title), administration and basic book keeping.

Skills include formal education. After several years working at an engineering level my colleague did a course to formally qualify him for what he already did. Another skill building initiative...

Sure, these things can add to your bottom line, but only through what you already do. They rarely help you to generate new income streams.

But assets, assets are different. Assets are things you learn that will enable you to develop new and increased revenue streams. A consultant who studies (say) a Masters in Finance as an adult has additional leverage to increase their income.

In my own case I studied Weibull analysis to add this to my already strong knowledge in Reliability Centered Maintenance. (Don't worry, most people won't understand them either) My habit of collecting sale-able skills means I can now generate revenue streams in a number of areas.

What would it do to your earning capability to get qualified as (say) a Microsoft Certified Application Developer, or to spring an additional revenue stream as a qualified Real Estate broker, or through learning how to be a coach?

I think each of these has their place. But it is good to know what it is exactly that you are doing when you start some form of self improvement initiative.

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