Not to brag, but the two jobs I landed while living in the DFW were both secured within a month of me searching. And I didn’t have to settle or veer from my career path in marketing. I say this to show the power of skill stacking. In a world where anyone can get more education or a certificate online, you have to find a way to become more marketable and valuable. And one answer is to skill stack. And guess what, it’s possible without getting formal education or diving into a topic you really don’t care for.
What Is Skill Stacking? How to Use it.
I first heard of the term skill stacking from a podcast, Rev Real Estate School. Skill stacking is gaining an above average level of competency in multiple skills. That’s only B level work, not A work. How do you reach B level in a new skill. Research the topic, get familiar with a few successful case studies, and then put it into action. I personally have found a lot of success with replicating work (like creative design) to get better at the skill and learn techniques along the way.
So what are some examples? I’ll use marketing since that is my area of expertise. If I wanted to stack some marketing skills from the ground up I’d probably start with copywriting, social media content, email marketing, PR, and print advertising. This is a good mix of various skills that could land me a role in many different types of marketing roles. Skill stacking allows you to be a more effective and well rounded professional that stands out above the rest. You can use this concept to grow your career faster or even be a better business owner without getting an expensive business degree.
Skill Stacking In Your Career and Business
So when I first thought about sharing this topic on the podcast I immediately considered this skill for online business owners. Skill stacking has helped me build my blogging business and my marketing skills all at once.
Starting out, all I knew what to do was share my thoughts on a free WordPress site and make very basic designs in Adobe InDesign because I wanted to grow my skills. Since then I learned how to design a website, configure plug-ins, understand site hosting jargon, create better designs, write better blogs and email, and social media market. More advanced skills I continued to build include layout design that I now use in my Etsy shop and overall content marketing besides blogging.
My two jobs that I had while living in the DFW came to me quickly because of skill stacking in my side projects. I was able to position myself as expert enough in many areas of marketing that they couldn’t help but hire me. Ultimately, I was able to run a full department on my own at the first job, and with just one other person at the second, executing at a high level.
Stacking Your Own Skills
Skill stacking can be very easy and somewhat intuitive. I recommend a few sites like Udemy and Coursera to learn some best practices from experts who packaged the content together in an easy to follow way. I’ve purchased my own courses on Udemy to learn design programs, real estate basics, wedding planning, and video creation.
You can also go the free route with YouTube but make sure you’re learning from someone with industry experience. We can’t always verify the credentials from someone, but doing your homework to see if they have sample work and/or testimonials will be a good start.
Next, just do the work! Start to put the skills into practice on a passion project or side project at work. Have something tangible to show that you can do it.
Lastly, document the process. This is probably the most important step. As adults, we learn and retain lessons through reflection. By dissecting the experience and processing the steps and outcomes, you are able to analyze the process of building your skills and will continue to build it from there. Doing things such as journaling your thoughts after reading a bunch of articles and case studies is a good start. Keeping all versions of the work you did and journaling your thought process is helpful. Lastly, sharing it with others for feedback can really help you grow.
Not sure where to start with skill stacking? Look up the job description or career skills from someone on LinkedIn with a title similar to your and the level above. What skills do they list that you do not have? How can you start building to that? First look at how you can do it on your own, and if it’s too technical, then get some education from others.
I also want to stress again that doing your own projects make a huge difference in stacking multiple skills without realizing it. When I started my Etsy shop where I sell digital downloads, I learned how to better design, copyright, and do business finances because it was a part of that project I enjoyed doing.
Consistency and Persistence with Skill Stacking
So I want to talk about how all of this relates to consistency and persistence. I know for me at least, it has been very hard for me to be consistent with building certain skills or even exercise some type of persistence when I hit a wall. However, with certain skills that I was genuinely interested in, I managed to develop a sense of competency over time without thinking about it.
For example, I know the core principles of social media marketing and when given the opportunity to focus on that alone, I can do really well with it. But when I have the option to do podcasting or email marketing instead, that’s the route I’m going with. So I can’t be upset with myself for not being better at social media. I just need to know how to strategically use it to work for me and my goals.
Getting frustrated or annoyed with something you can’t seem to stay consistent with might just be a matter of misalignment. Because of that, I find ways in which I can be more excited to build like skill like streamlining the process or making a challenge out of it with myself.
Getting to a Place of Prolific Work
Lastly, let’s talk about the skills you want to actually master, becoming prolific. The best example for me is email marketing. I am competent in many areas of marketing but I want to be an expert at email marketing. I admit that I listen to a ton of podcast episodes about better email marketing and reading up on new techniques and case studies. But the real success will come with practice.
It’s so cliché to say that “practice makes perfect”, but think about it. When was the last time you did something perfectly the first time? And to be honest, with something you love you won’t mind doing it over and over and over. You might even find some exciting nuances that you can improve on and really hone in on your craft, but that takes practice. And honestly with anything, just to count as one of your skill stacking blocks, it’ll take some personal execution before having the confidence to claim it.
Skill stacking can be an amazing technique in building your career or simply improving your overall experience with a project. Proving that you have above average expertise in so many areas makes you even more marketable. As long as you have the receipts from real world examples, there’s no need to get another degree to show your value. Start building a new skill today and see how it can practically improve your life or career.