What You Can and Can’t Learn from Watching

When in university, I worked in a biology laboratory that followed a basic system of instructing members of the team in various techniques. One person would show another how to perform the technique, the student would perform the technique themselves under supervision, and then instruct the next student in line.

In business, this is no different. One can learn by reading books and watching other businesses operate. However, while these lessons can provide valuable insight into the operations of a business, they are limited in that they have not been experienced by the reader.

The business owner can apply what they’ve learned, and by doing this, internalize those lessons. Abstract concepts described in textbooks now have practical ramifications, the reasons for some more subtle concepts suddenly become clear, while other lessons are discovered to contain fallacies which don’t hold up to real-life experience.

However, it is not until the business owner tries to teach someone else how to run a business that they truly understand how their business works. It’s not until the lessons need to be explained that they realize just how complicated some of those lessons are.

Perhaps that’s the real value of events such as Freelance Camp TO which bring together people in business who want to learn with those who are able to teach. The benefit might seem to be mostly for the attendees of the various presentations and seminars, but really, the presenters, themselves business owners, are completing their own course of study by attempting to teach and instruct the next generation of business owners in the lessons they’ve already learned.