5 ways to invest in yourself as an entrepreneur

Never stop learning.

These might be three little words, but they can have such a big impact on the mindset of an entrepreneur.

When you work from home, it’s very easy to fall into the same routine day in and day out, go days without leaving the house, not always have face-to-face interaction with others — and you can’t always talk shop or bounce ideas off of the co-workers that come with working in a traditional “day job” office. For these reasons, it’s extremely important to keep an open mind, stay relevant in your field, be aware of new trends, proficient in programs and keep growing every single day. If not, you will more easily hit walls, fall into slumps, lack motivation and education — and simply not be the best professional that you can (and should) be for your clients (and yourself.)

The best thing that you can do for your business is to invest in yourself — without you, you have no business. You simply can’t afford to stifle your mind or abilities. If you invest in yourself each year, you will see your business continually moving in new and better directions, you’ll be able to put smart strategies in place and you’ll be able to build a team (however big or small) so that you can focus on doing more of what you’re best at and love. Below are a few ways that you can keep evolving as an entrepreneur and in turn, keep your business blossoming and on the cutting edge.

1. Read books, blogs and follow your favorite entrepreneurs online.

This can be tough, as it’s easy to follow and engage with countless, amazing fellow entrepreneurs who have ridiculously huge online followings and whom you aspire to be like. It’s easy to click through 20 different emails from each one each day, read their blog posts, watch webinars and Facebook Lives (and more) — which can literally take all day and then you never get any work done — but, try to stick with following just 3-4 of your favorites. With that, see what advice they give, learn about their strategies and business models and how they structure their programs or services. There is nothing wrong with watching what others do, absorbing bits and pieces — and then doing what’s right for you and putting your own spin on things. We are all in this online business world together and there is room for everyone. If you’re going to learn from someone, it might as well be someone who is successful. You are whom you surround yourself with. Make sure that who and what you’re following has a positive impact on you and your mindset.   

2. Join a local association and make connections.

It’s easy to stay in front of a computer screen and engage with others via emails, texts and Facebook comments, but don’t forget the power of face-to-face and real, human connection. I won’t use the word “network” as that makes some people feel uncomfortable or like they’re at a stuffy corporate event. Try joining a local organization that is either relatable to your industry or just business in general. Some groups might require yearly memberships, but some are free. Attend monthly gatherings — they can be really fun! They might be happy hours or listening to interesting speakers — who you can also learn from. You can make connections to other area business owners whose services you might need (or who you might be able to serve) and again, it’s just plain healthy to get out and learn how to communicate with others in a non-digital way!  

 3. Attend a conference or seminar.

This is one of my favorite ways to learn and mostly, get really pumped up and motivated! I have attended a handful of conferences the last few years and loved each one. I feel so refreshed and inspired after listening to respected industry experts and other creative entrepreneurs. And of course, these events are a perfect way to meet others who do what you do (or something similar) and to talk shop and make some new contacts/friends. Many times, these conferences provide opportunities for attendees to meet the speakers before or after they talk, or at a cocktail hour or dinner event later in the day. Take advantage of those times and don’t be afraid to introduce yourself, exchange business cards and ask additional questions or get advice.

4. Participate in continuing education and professional development opportunities.

Again, I can’t stress it enough. Never think that you know enough. Never stop learning. Years after college or just working in general, it’s easy to do what’s comfortable and in the ways that you’ve always done things. New styles and trends are always emerging in every field, as well as new techniques and software. In order to stay modern and relevant, you should try to attend classes or workshops that will keep you sharp. Or, take a class in something totally new and different to you. Anything that involves getting away from your workspace or office and puts you back in a studio or classroom, making you think or feel challenged, is positive and healthy!

5. Hire a business coach or join a mastermind group.  

You might not quite be ready to invest in a business coach and that’s OK. It’s still something that you should keep in mind and definitely consider doing at some point, though. I hired a business coach over a year ago to teach me ways to package my services, charge higher-premium prices, grow my online following and in turn, make more money on a monthly basis. With the coaching program, I also got connected to a fabulous mastermind group of five other female small business owners. Although the coaching is over, I still meet with the mastermind monthly and hope to for a long time! These are both good next steps to take in a business when you’re ready to grow and scale — and simply play bigger, make yourself known as an expert and get hired more. It’s one of the biggest and best investments that you can make in yourself. Even if you don’t think that you feel ready, when will you be? If you find the right coach or program and you feel in your gut/heart that you need to hire them in order to change your business (and in turn, your life) you will find a way to afford it. Plus, you will (hopefully) see a big ROI down the road.  

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