While working as a writer, instructor and marketing manager for OST Global Solutions, many clients have asked me about the value of OST’s classes and my feelings on professional development in general. I can say definitively that OST’s instructors and course materials are effective; they’ve helped me transition into a new area of business in less than a year, and all but one proposal I’ve written or edited to date has won thanks to what they’ve taught me. I’m a firm believer in the value of professional development across the board, and for good reason.
It’s been nearly 14 years since I graduated from college, but I feel like I’ve been in school my whole life. Elementary school, junior high, high school, college—all that was just a lead-in to the best education of my life: Working. Earning a bachelor’s degree helped refine my problem-solving skills, but I’ve rarely drawn on my actual business/marketing education in the years since college. Sure, I’ve performed a SWOT analysis or two, but nothing I learned in school really prepared me for the business world.
When I started my professional career, I quickly realized the only way to succeed is to keep learning. Luckily, I’m a perpetual student at heart, and that’s served me well. I have a diverse, constantly-expanding skill set that allows me to work in areas ranging from graphic design to search engine optimization to website development to proposal writing and beyond. When I don’t understand something, I read about it, ask the experts I know questions, watch YouTube videos, take professional development classes—whatever it takes to wrap my head around the task at hand. That persistence and desire to competently tackle every work challenge I face has made me highly-marketable and increased my lifetime earning potential. Those two things go hand-in-hand; to make as much money as you can throughout your life, you have to constantly work to make yourself more marketable so you can legitimately demand more money along the way. You have to learn, practice (work), learn some more, and aim for achieving successes that will make your resume shine and help you stand out among a sea of professionals like you.
There are many ways to achieve the learning part of that formula. A lot of it happens naturally, just from doing your job and having managers mentor you along the way. It shouldn’t be passive work, though; you have to be an active participant and have a desire to excel and grow. You have to read trade publications, try new things, work harder at anything that confounds or frustrates you, ask lots of questions, and take at least the occasional professional development course—particularly on any subject that really interests you. After all, we spend more of our lives working than doing anything else; we should all aim to grow in areas that spark our curiosity and provide the most professional fulfillment.
Whether you’re a business owner, a business developer or a proposal professional, there’s always room for growth in areas that will help you make more money and bring you more personal joy. OST Global Solutions’ Bid & Proposal Academy is a great place to explore some of those learning opportunities that will help you find your niche, blossom professionally, grow your business, and generally flourish in the Federal market. I’ll be teaching an editing class there next week, and that’s just one speck on the full business development lifecycle spectrum our instructors cover. You can master proposal management, improve your proposal writing skills, take business development courses from professionals who have built successful companies through Federal contracting, and so much more. I can honestly say I’ve both learned from and thoroughly enjoyed every in-person and self-study course I’ve taken so far, and I’ve been privileged to continue my education in between classes under the mentorship of two of OST’s best instructors—CEO & President Olessia Smotrova-Taylor and Director of Business Development & Operations David Huff. Olessia, David and all of our instructors (including me) genuinely love to pass on knowledge and help others grow professionally, so we openly share our experiences and trade secrets with our students. In my experience, those are the best teachers to have—the ones who push, motivate and encourage you, arm you with the tools you need to succeed, and share personal lessons learned.
Join us for a class and see for yourself what OST’s professional development courses can do for you. I guarantee you’ll leave with tips, tools and ideas that you’ll be eager to put into practice and that will make you more successful if you do. Hope to see you there!
Writer, Instructor & Marketing Manager
OST Global Solutions, Inc.