So I am fond of saying Excel Never Lies and that your life will be better if you learn to use Excel and at minimum run financial analysis of major spending decisions. You know like, do I buy or lease a car, what will it take for this business to be profitable or will this college degree be worth the 100K it is going to cost me.
Over the years I have gotten requests to do a show on Excel quite a few times. Well the issue is, while powerful a guy discussing Excel for an hour in audio only format, isn’t really going to teach you to use it and it is going to be boring as all hell. I have also been asked to share my Excel worksheets and books. Two problems there…
- They are built for my needs, not yours.
- I want you to learn to fish, not give you a fish.
Once you know how to build a spread sheet you can build one for any need. I want you empowered as an individual, not dependent on me or anyone else.
You guys know me though I am big on solutions. So I looked for a solid tutorial on Excel that you guys could use as a starting point. I found this one by “Technology for Students and Teachers” YouTube Channel. The channel itself has almost a quarter million subscribers and the play list, (again you can get it here) has a total of 35 videos and covers pretty much all the basic and advanced functions of Excel.
I think some people see Excel as the realm of say boring, pocket protector wearing, guys in finance named Milton or something. Folks Excel is one hell of a powerful tool. One that empowers individuals, students, entrepreneurs and makes you more valuable in many jobs as well.
I really recommend this tutorial as a starting point. I have been using Excel in earnest since 98, by 99 I was developing back end spreadsheets for custom quotations and estimates for my employer at the time. Through the 2000s I developed countless sales forecasts, board level presentations and budgets in it. By 2006 I was developing entire business models for my old business partner Neil Franklin with it. Neil by the way is the only person ever to win the Branson Award twice!
The only reason I am telling you that is while I ended up being known by some as an “Excel Ninja” I learned a few simple short cuts and things in the first few basic videos myself. Reinforcing what I always say, “you don’t know what you don’t know”.
When I started with Excel my boss showed me basic functions and told me how to use the “help” function as well, that was it. There were no online videos, etc. so I was self taught, I learned what I needed as I needed it. There is value in that but learning from someone that already knows is faster and more effective and often extremely empowering.
To be blunt, this guy knows his shit. If you are an old hat like me you will likely end up working on other stuff and listening in the background. Then being like, “wait, what”. Flip to that tab, rewind one minute and be like, “okay that is cool”. However if you are brand new you can follow along and build the sheets he does, pause rewind, etc.
While I have not yet gotten past the first 4 videos I am already convinced if it was say a Udacity course or something and you paid 99 bucks for it, you would not complain. Frankly I think it would sell on platforms like that for 199 or more and never be complained about.
As I said yesterday in 2019 I consider Excel a life skill, it is far too powerful to ignore. So I am challenging you guys today, if you don’t know how to use Excel or are not really good with it take time to take this free course. If you are seasoned do what I do, when you have time to listen and are doing other work, listen in the background and tab over to see the stuff that catches your attention.
Lastly I do want to say Excel is like being given some power tools. A saw, a drill, a nail gun, etc. One person will build a shelf with it, another a house but a third will perhaps nail his hand to a wall. It is not by itself magic, what makes it seem like magic is the ability to clearly define what you want to know and build a model for that.
It takes a bit of time to get that into your head but once you do, you can do more than build a house, you can build a model to pay for a house. Think about how powerful that really is.