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Where have you made the biggest investment in your business?
Maybe it’s on your website. After all, a great website is like your 24-hour storefront so that clients can find you online. Or, it might be in digital marketing because you know that’s a great way to get the word out about what you’re offering. Or maybe you invested heavily in developing your services or products, striving to develop the absolute best possible package for your clients.
There are lots of places you can invest in your business, but there’s one area that many entrepreneurs tend to skimp on. As a small business owner, you need to invest in yourself!
Yes, taking care of yourself physically and maintaining a healthy work-life balance is essential. Taking the time you need to decompress, stretch, meditate, etc is a must. But what I’m talking about here is making a real financial investment in yourself. Why? Because you are your business and guess what? You matter! Putting money into teaching yourself new skills or finding new opportunities should be non-negotiable.
Sometimes, these investments can seem like a substantial financial risk, which is why you need to be strategic about how you choose to invest. If there’s an area you believe you need more experience in, you can’t just throw money at the problem. Instead, you’ve got to figure out real solutions, then follow through with them. Sometimes it requires a significant investment of both time and money, such as going back to school. But as long as you’re committed to making the most of these opportunities, you can see a remarkable return on investment that’ll follow you for the rest of your life.
Antoine de Saint Exupéry is credited with saying “A goal without a plan is just a wish.” My addendum to that would be “A plan without action is just a hope.”
I know for a fact that I wouldn’t be where I am today if I hadn’t taken the time to invest in myself. For me, it started with going to business school… I mean B-School. Honestly, it’s one of the best things I’ve ever done.
Rewind to 2017. My business had hit a plateau. I had steady clients but I wasn’t doing things I loved to do, and I wasn’t making the money I needed to make to move forward. I could pay my bills and go out to dinner once in a while, but I was working crazy hours and felt like I wasn’t getting anywhere.
Then it came in. The announcement that Marie Forleo’s B-School was open for enrollment. Two of my clients had taken B-School the year before, and it absolutely changed everything for them. It was almost magic. From day one their business seemed to start to shift. And within a year they both had made more money than they had dreamed possible before taking B-School.
Could it work for me?
I had serious doubts, but the bigger problem was I had no money. Like zero. My bank balance was pathetic, and I didn’t have any savings. And I didn’t have enough income flowing in to cover the cost.
But there was a pull. A feeling in the pit of my stomach that this was the right move. And that now was the right time. Of course, back then I was extremely wary of trusting my gut. So I hemmed and hawed about it for a couple of days, made a pros and cons list, a decision-making matrix, talked to my husband about it so much that he begged me to just take it already.
Then I made myself a deal.
I’d enroll but I had to do the work, attend the live calls, and be active in the Facebook Group every day. And by the end of the course, I had to have a new client that more than paid for the investment.
Then I whipped out my credit card, took a deep breath, and selected the payment plan option.
And thank goodness I did!
Here’s the thing: School really is what you make of it. Whether going to University or taking an online course. Not only did I have to invest the money, but I also had to invest the time to make sure that I did the work and got the most out of the entire process. We all have friends who drank and partied their nights away during university, only to fail. And I know more than one person who has enrolled in an online course only to let it gather dust on their hard drive. It’s a spectacular waste of money and opportunity.
I was determined not to be that person.
Especially since, as a Canadian, I had to add about 32% to the cost to account for the exchange rate. This had to be a turning point if I wanted to keep eating every day.
So I scheduled it in my calendar. Not just the live calls/office hours either. I scheduled time in my calendar for when I was going to do the work. And as I worked through the course I scheduled in any follow up I had to do or action items I identified, so I was always moving forward. I even scheduled when I would be active in the Facebook Group so I wouldn’t miss a day.
Was I perfect? No.
Sometimes life or client work got in the way, and I had to reschedule something or give myself more time to complete the work. But in the end, I completely shifted my business, raised my rate, refined my services and gained two new clients. By the end of that year, I had almost tripled my revenue, hired a new employee, and was preparing for a complete rebrand of the business.
It wasn’t magic but it was magical.
Marie has built an amazing program and attracts the best people. You’re surrounded by people just like you. People who are going through similar struggles. Everyone helps everyone. You’re all there for the same reason, and it creates this wonderful vibration of positivity, possibility, and encourages everyone to strive and work and celebrate and share.
But you’ll only get out of it what you put into it. Hence magical, not magic.
People often have two major roadblocks when it comes to investing in something like B-School.
The first is they don’t know if they’re ready and the second is they don’t think they can afford it.
I say that if you have to wait until you’re ready, then you’ll NEVER be ready.
It’s scary to make a huge financial investment in yourself. It’s a big commitment. You’ll be wondering if you made a mistake, or worry that you might mess everything up. Those are completely normal responses. Remember, this isn’t an instant fix. You have to be willing to do the work, and that may mean making some temporary sacrifices elsewhere.
You have to be willing to move forward before you’re ready.
And in regards to the money?
If you don’t feel like you have enough money yet to make a major investment, you still have options. Don’t remortgage the house or anything like that! But reasonable sacrifices can be necessary to make proper investments.
When deciding to invest in yourself, regardless of what course or service it might be, if you can’t afford to pay the full amount in one go see if there’s a payment plan option. If there’s no payment plan (or they offer a bonus if you pay in full) consider looking into PayPal Credit. It’s pretty much exactly what it sounds like. Even without a credit card, you can get a line of credit through PayPal. From the point of purchase, you have six months to repay without any interest.
You might also take a look at where the “leaky bucket” might be in your spending? Do you stop at Starbucks every day? All those coffees and doughnuts add up. And what about the way you spend your time? Rather than binge-watching an entire season of your favourite show on Netflix, think of the time that you could put into a course that will help you achieve really meaningful results in your business. I’m not saying never buy a coffee or never watch your favourite show, but instead of buying expensive coffee every day and watching an entire season all at once, what about rationing it over time to help you invest somewhere else?
Many of us are loathed to invest in ourselves, thinking there are better places to put our money. I think that’s a big mistake. Making smart, strategic investments in yourself is worth every penny, but only if you commit to them. Do the work, get involved, and make sure to get the most out of your investment.
Wondering if B-School is for you? Learn more about it here.
Of course, if you have any questions about my experience ask in the comments below.