How to Build Skills Quickly (And Get Total Job Security in the Process)

By Sean Ogle •  Updated: 05/23/23 •  6 min read

Our whole lives, we’ve been trained to think that gaining knowledge, building skills, and simply learning how to do stuff takes a lot of time.

The traditional education system for most people lasts about 16 years.

Sure much of that is spent in your younger years learning the essentials of communication, math, and basic history – but imagine if right now you spent 16 years learning nothing but things directly relevant to your life.

The amount you could accomplish is nothing short of mind-blowing.

However, no one thinks 16 years in advance these days.  Hell, people hardly think 16 hours ahead.

One of the most underrated and valuable concepts in life is rapid skill building.

I define that as learning how to do any type of skill or craft in a much shorter time frame than you’ve been trained to think is necessary.

Every day I talk to people who want to learn how to become freelance writers, dive into copywriting, or work from anywhere. The question is always: “I want to travel, work from home, and generally be free, but I don’t know how to do it.”

If you’re really that miserable and really that motivated to change, there are dozens of skills that you could learn in less than a month that will make you instantly valuable to a large number of people.

But there’s one big caveat, and this is the part that people want to skip.

You have to commit to learning.

Building skills quickly isn’t hard.

People are terrified of losing their jobs, their security, and their paycheck. But why? We live in an age where detailed and instructive information has never been more prevalent.

There is hardly a single thing you can’t learn by getting online and following a tutorial — from starting a blog to writing a book. Do you want to learn something more advanced? Buy a used textbook for a few bucks on Amazon. Take a free course online, or spend a few hours on YouTube.

The point is if I had a job and I lost it tomorrow, there are so many things I could learn how to do that others would pay good money for.

Most just lack the motivation to take the initiative.

I could rattle off a dozen skill sets you can (and should) learn right now that can help you start earning money, including:

And so on.

My point is that if you’re serious about building a business and working from wherever you want, get past all of the “Four Hour Workweek” bullshit.  Forget about the idea of passive income for a while.

Go invest a month of time into learning a marketable skill.

Do some work on your own projects or for a friend, ask a local business to hire you, offer to work for free on a project or two, then once you’ve got a little bit of confidence (or even if you don’t) hop on any one of these 105 sites and find yourself some work.

However, the concept of “rapid skill building” applies to much more than just work.

Sure, there are a lot of things that take a lot of practice to get good at. You aren’t going to spend a weekend trying to teach yourself how to play golf, for instance.

But there are a ton of things that, if you actually make an effort to do and set a timeline, you’ll be amazed at how quickly you can learn how to do it.

For instance, I’ve always wanted to learn how to make mashups. Take two songs, stick them together, and make something new.

So I spent 45 minutes on Google, figured out what software I needed, and went to work. Literally, in less than 2 hours, I’d created my first mashup that actually didn’t sound half bad.

Learning to do anything in life isn’t as hard as you think. It should be even less difficult if there is a sincere motivation behind it (such as unhappiness or financial motivations).

Learn How to Make Your First $1,000 Freelance Writing (in 30 Days or Less)

Join over 40,000 people who have taken our 6 part freelance writing course. Sign up below and let’s do this together.

By entering your email address you agree to receive emails from Location Rebel. We'll respect your privacy and you can unsubscribe at any time.

How Do You Build Skills Quickly?

Now that you understand the benefits of rapid skill building and recognize it’s possible, how do you go about building skills quickly?

Luckily it’s pretty simple:

  1. Decide on the Skill You Want to Learn. Make a conscious decision and say out loud, “I’m going to learn how to ______.”
  2. Devote 1 hour a day for one month. For many skills, within 30 hours of practice, you can make significant progress and grasp a basic level of competence. This method lets you aim for an hour a day.
  3. Set a Proficiency Goal. What would you need to be able to do to feel like you’ve got the basics down of this new skill?
  4. Set a Timeline. When do you want to have this goal completed?
  5. Tell everyone. Accountability is the most important part of building skills. If you tell people, there’s more urgency to actually follow through with doing it.

So, now that we’ve established how to build a skill quickly and what skill are you going to build.

Copywriting is a great example. If I were following the above steps, here’s how I’d do it.

  1. Decide my skill: I’m going to learn how to become a copywriter.
  2. Devote time: For the next 30 days, I’m going to spend 1 hour first thing in the morning to learning and practicing copywriting.
  3. Proficiency goal. I want to write a 5 email welcome series that sells a product.
  4. Timeline: I’ll have this written by the end of the month.
  5. Tell people: I’m letting everyone know I’m working on my copy skills and asking them if they need a copywriter.

I’d read two copywriting books, get on a site like Swiped, and sign up for a ton of emails to really immerse myself. For the first week or two, I’d spend my time reading and absorbing as much as I could. Then, the next two or three weeks are dedicated to writing. I’d practice my copy for an hour a day.

Will I be a world-class copywriter?

No. But I guarantee I’m going to be pretty good, enough to start landing a few beginner copywriting jobs and reaching out to potential clients.

All it takes is 30 hours to start. And you can do it a lot quicker than you think.

If you really want to build skills quickly, then expand your available time. If you have two hours a day, you can get things done even faster.

The goal is to make consistent progress; you’d be shocked at how much better you can get at something after just a few hours. Keep adding to it, and the sky is the limit.

This post was updated in May 2023 for more accuracy.

Sean Ogle

Sean Ogle is the Founder of Location Rebel where he has spent the last 12+ years teaching people how to build online businesses that give them the freedom to do more of the things they like to do in life. When he's not in the coffee shops of Portland, or the beaches of Bali, he's probably sneaking into some other high-class establishment where he most certainly doesn't belong.
Learn How to Make Your First $1,000 Freelance Writing (in 30 Days or Less)

Join over 40,000 people who have taken our 6 part freelance writing course. Sign up below and let’s do this together.

By entering your email address you agree to receive emails from Location Rebel. We'll respect your privacy and you can unsubscribe at any time.