Professional Development: An Investment in Yourself

Living the Life

person writing on brown wooden table near white ceramic mug

Professional Development: An Investment in Yourself

Mar 29, 2022 | Living the Life

Professional Development: An Investment in Yourself

Mar 29, 2022 | Living the Life

How much do you value your business? Do you perform regular maintenance so that it does not break down? Do you want it to keep delivering for the next 5, 10 or even 20 years? For you to get the most life out of your business, you must ensure that all the parts stay in tip-top shape, and for Solo PR Pros, that means investing in your professional development.

In a corporate job, your employer often pays for professional development. This also means that they only pay or reimburse you for the skills that they deem will benefit the company. As a Solo PR Pro, you have the opportunity to invest in the areas that will benefit you and your business. That freedom – to design the career you want – is what inspired many to take the leap.

Taking the time for professional development may feel like a luxury or an indulgence but it is not. The regular replenishing of our minds, keeping up with industry trends, and learning new skills is essential to the success of our business. It is also vital to our own career satisfaction.

From webinars to conferences, blogs to heading back to the classroom, there are many ways for us to invest in ourselves and our work with ongoing professional development. Below are just a few ways that you can invest in yourself regardless of budget.

Major Conferences

When we think of professional development, we’re inclined to head right for the big annual conference websites. And that’s perfectly fine! PRSA Icon, Social Media Marketing World, Hubspot’s Inbound, are all worthy of consideration. But don’t be deterred if you can’t afford an expensive conference right now. Many of these events offer options to attend virtually at a lower price point, which often includes recordings and notes. Or, if the idea of spending two-to-three days at such massive events does not appeal to you, search for smaller, more cost-effective opportunities, in person and online. You may also find local workshops or mini-conferences that provide the benefits of in-person without the time and expense of traveling to a different location. 

Professional Organizations and Chambers of Commerce

PRSA has many opportunities for continued learning, much of it online, both paid and free. Look at your local Chambers of Commerce. Many of them hold monthly meetings that are educational in nature and they usually have member and non-member pricing if you don’t want to join. And of course, Solo PR Pro Premium members enjoy a rich database of practical information as well as ongoing professional development opportunities. In fact, we often craft learning opportunities based on the real-time needs of our members.

Blogs, Books, and Podcasts 

We are fortunate that people love to share information and teach others their area of expertise. Take advantage of self-directed learning with blogs, books and podcasts in your areas of interest. If you are not sure where to start in an unfamiliar area, ask for recommendations from your colleagues, or those that work in the field. You can also search sites such as LinkedIn, Quora, or Reddit. Commit to a regular schedule to read or listen, and take notes so that you can refer back to what you have learned. 

Take a class

You may decide to head back to school to advance your skill set. There are a number of options without getting a degree. You can take an extension course, sign up for a class or take a series of classes at your own pace for certification. You can opt for in-person or online. There are also many learning channels online, such as Google Analytics Academy (which is free!), Coursera, and LinkedIn. You may even consider MasterClass which has a Business category offering classes on business strategy, communication, advertising and creativity and more.

Pull a thread

Follow subject matter hashtags and experts on social media. You can often gain quick information on a topic from a Twitter thread, or Instagram reel. Expert creators are a great source of content and can lead you to other experts. In certain topic areas, the discussions around content are rich sources of learning.


Divide and conquer. If you and a colleague are attending different conferences, or are pursuing different methods of learning, agree to share notes. This will not only motivate you to capture the learning but reinforce it as you share it with someone else.

Tutors, Coaches

If you are looking for an intimate one-on-one learning environment, consider hiring a private tutor or coach. 

Keep in mind, the professional development you pursue doesn’t have to be PR-centric. Maybe it’s a creative writing conference, a primer on AI, a series on digital marketing, or learning a new language. That is the beauty of being a Solo, you can chart your own course wherever it takes you.

What are your favorite ways to keep your PR tools sharpened? We’d love to know! 

If you are interested in sharpening your media relations skills, don’t miss our workshop on April 8, 2022 with media guru, Anne Isenhower. 

Written By Karen Swim
Karen Swim is the President of Solo PR and Founder of public relations agency, Words For Hire.