When most of us hear the word “investing” we think “stocks”, “bonds”, “company shares”, “IPOs” or simply “I can’t do that” and I’m here to tell you that I’m still learning how to do it (Notice how I didn’t say “I don’t know” or “can’t” do it? We’ll get into that a little later on) so that’s not the type of investment we’re going to talk about today.
I believe it is extremely important to learn about formal investing, especially if you plan on building generational wealth. It’s never too early to start reading up on investing, to start reading financial statements, to following your local weekly investment/business review or to listen to a few business podcasts and get a feel for the art of investing and start getting used to the language and the identify the skills needed to be good at it even if you don’t feel you’re in a financial position to actually start investing (which doesn’t ever require as much money as you think) or you just don’t feel confident in your skills as an investor yet (although it’s good to remember that confidence comes with practice so the more you do it the more confident you become).
But that’s not what we’re going to talk about today. Today we’re going to focus on investing in yourself and in your skills.
There’s a lot to be said about people who invest the time and the money into perfecting their skills and making sure they’re doing everything they can to be the best at what they do. You are your most precious possession, your most valuable asset and investing in yourself is one of the surest ways of getting the returns you want. Now, this form of investing doesn’t necessarily involve money, simply taking the time to sit down and perfect your craft whether it be practicing speeches in front of the mirror everyday because you want to be a motivational speaker or setting aside time to practice your instrument if you’re a musician or intentionally (not because you’re bored or have nothing better to do) taking an hour of your day to read about blogging and SEOs if you want to be a blogger, etc. As best selling author Malcolm Gladwell says, it takes about 10,000 hours of practice before you become successful so the more time you can allocate to perfecting your skills, the faster you’ll be better at them.
I do have to say though that usually, when money comes into play it shows a bigger commitment to said goal. You’re less likely to procrastinate on your craft if you know you already paid for that improv class or when you’ve paid for those vocal lessons or when you’ve already paid for the gym membership and so on. Not to say that it’s necessary to make a financial investment, sometimes we’re just not in a position to do so but as soon as you’re able, paying for a class or a course that will improve your skills shows a deeper level of commitment to your goals. Having a logo you paid for and having a logo you improvised on or had someone make for you for free will more than likely let you know who’s serious about their business and who’s not.
Personally, my main form of investing in myself and making sure I’m taking steps towards my ultimate life goal is through buying and reading as many books as I possibly can and trying things, particularly in regards to blogging. There are a lot of resources for free e-books online so a financial investment isn’t really necessary but I’m a sucker for physical books and I also believe in supporting anyone who put it work towards creating something whether it be a book or artwork or music, etc.
With blogging you don’t really need much financial investment either. There are lots of blogging platforms like WordPress where you can start a basic blog completely free or at very low costs but that’s my way of investing in myself. I enjoy talking about a lot of different topics so if you didn’t know, I’m also writing over at Village Girl Chic and The Afrospective Architecture Project and I’m experimenting with different things and doing my best to perfect my craft (writing and multimedia). You invest in yourself by taking risks and trying things and taking the time, intentional time to work on your craft.
We’ve discussed spending, budgeting and saving so you might be wondering, “where do I get the money to invest on myself?” The most honest answer I can give you is that personal money (as discussed in my “budgeting” post) is investment money.
When we talked about budgeting I mentioned how important it is to pay yourself and to allow yourself to have fun and enjoy the fruits of your labor (within reason of course) and in my book, investing in yourself is no different than paying yourself. You pay yourself in added skill, you pay yourself in confidence in your craft, you pay yourself by helping to position yourself skill-wise to take full advantage when the right opportunities to fulfill your life goals present themselves. Now, I’m not saying to take ALL of your personal money and buy art supplies so you can become a better painter, I’m saying that once in a while you might get yourself a new brush set instead of a new pair of shoes.
With all of that said, what I want you to take away from this is that while you prepare yourself to be an investor in the traditional sense of the word you should always remember that you are your biggest asset and investing in your skills is just as important. Investing in yourself doesn’t have to be costly or complicated, it might be a simple matter of mindfully dedicating time to work on your craft.
Hope that was helpful! What do you think of when you hear the word “investing”? In what ways are you investing in yourself? Do you have any tips or tricks that have helped you get over the fear of working on your craft? Would you like a review of any of the books pictured or mentioned in this post? Comments? Questions? Suggestions? Leave them in the comments below!
position to start investing yet.