08.27.18

Five​ ways to invest in yourself on a budget

KARL R. LAPAN, PRESIDENT AND CEO OF THE NIIC

Young or budding business builders often don’t always have the funding to invest in expensive seminars or life coaches. However, they can tap into free or low-cost resources to develop personally and professionally. Here are 5 ways to invest in yourself on the cheap:

  1. Read: This sounds simple, right? But according to Pew Research, “About a quarter of American adults (24%) say they haven’t read a book in whole or in part in the past year, whether in print, electronic or audio form.” I read about 3-4 books a month, a myriad of blogs and at least 3- 5 research papers. Charlie ‘Tremendous’ Jones said, and I agree, “Leaders are readers”. Jim Johnson has a terrific technique for polishing off a book in a month or less. Click on the link and check it out. Everyone can be successful reading a book if they follow his simple approach.

    I love reading about entrepreneurship, innovation, self-help and books on market trends and the stock market. A library card can genuinely be the portal to unlimited knowledge. Theresa Steele shared with me at lunch last week that she is trying to leverage our library resources and not buy books that she can order from the library. And the great thing about knowledge is that no one can take it away from you. In other words, books can take you to places you’ve never been and inspire you to think and act differently. And these days, there are no excuses not to read continuously. Whether a physical, electronic or audiobook, you can take a book with you virtually anywhere.

  2. Network: People can be your most significant resource. Reach out and connect with people who you admire for a meeting—and truly listen to what they have to say. Thank them for their time and offer to help how you can. You might even find a mentor in the process. Attending First Friday’s, Global Leadership Summit or joining a networking or a mastermind group may just be the ticket to new insights and knowledge. Check out WEOC for a new mastermind offering for more mature and scaling ventures. Go on learning journeys or schedule breakfast or lunch meetings with interesting people.

  3. Learn and grow: What’s something in your business that you’re frustrated with that you know could be better? Look to resources in your community (and beyond) for help. The NIIC has monthly workshops that might be of interest to innovators, business builders, and corporate leaders. For example, next month we are hosting communication expert Elizabeth MacDonald, who will provide guidance on dealing with difficult people. This workshop will delve into communication skills that could change the trajectory of relationships, careers, and lives. There is no charge to attend. Registration is required. For more information about this workshop and others for business builders, visit our events page. You will see our events and many others from our resource partners. These skill building, competency-based workshops might just be the edge you are looking for in your life.

  4. Find your “happy place” by staying centered: It’s easy to feel frazzled as a business owner. Clients often wanted things yesterday, and you’re juggling multiple obligations at once—while trying to pay the bills. Eating, right, exercising and finding some time for joy daily is essential to keeping your cool. Maybe you can’t take a whole day off, but can you take a 30-minute walk and regroup? Studies show that exercise has the power to make you healthier and wealthier, so it’s sound business sense to exercise self-care. Carve out “me time”.

  5. Know your limits and respect them: This habit is related to No. 4. A grounded person knows when to say “no” and has the maturity to realize it’s not personal. People will respect you more when they know they can count on you—and that starts with not biting off more than you can chew.

If you regularly practice one or more of these habits, how has it changed your life?

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