What does it mean to invest in yourself?

No matter how the economy performs, there is one investment that is always a sure bet: investing in yourself. And you can invest in yourself in many ways. In this video, I explore the different ways in investing in yourself—perhaps in ways you have not considered yourself just yet. 

Investing in yourself means putting in the resources—that is, time, energy, and money—into improving yourself for a better life in the future. Many resources about investing in yourself focus self-development, specifically in developing skills and knowledge that will make you better qualified for what you do.  

  • Investing in your professional development 

We begin this discussion with the most common way of investing in yourself: investing in your professional development. As a business owner or as someone interested in business, we owe it to our customers, employees, partners, and community to be the best that we can be—to produce the best products, to build the best working environment, and to nurture profitable and impactful partnerships. Learning is an important part of growth—and as discussed in a previous video, committing to lifelong learning helps make you a better business leader.   

There are multiple ways to develop knowledge and skill. Most CEOs read one book a week, and many successful people in businesses are known voracious readers: Warren Buffett, Charlie Munger, Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk, and Mark Cuban, just to name a few.  

Books do not have the monopoly on information. Thanks to technology, there are many ways to access relevant information. You may read blogs, listen to podcasts, or watch videos online. The upside is that these resources are free to access and you may do so at your own pace.  

If, however, you prefer something with more structure, perhaps taking a course may be better.  The upside is that you take these online courses at your own pace and right in the comfort of your home or wherever else you find it conducive to learn. Many of these are short enough to only take up a few weeks at a time, with some short courses you can finish within a day.   

If you’re worried about the cost, many courses online can be accessed for practically free. The downside is that sometimes you don’t get the certification, which could prove that you took the course. However, if you find the online course to be relevant and of great interest to you, you can always upgrade to a paid access at any point of the course. This gives you the full experience and certification at the end. All that is required from you to begin is go online and sign up. 

I have found that by paying for courses, I tend to be more committed to completing it as I have invested my own funds into it. It also forces me to choose the courses I take carefully. And who benefits from this? I do! You, too, can benefit from following this strategy, too. 

Consider finding a mentor or working with a business coach. In fact, I would recommend that you find someone outside of your business who can help you see things from a different and detached standpoint.  

  • Investing in your financial health 

For small business owners, their personal financial health is typically tied to their business’s financial health. This is good when the business is doing well, but not so when the business is experiencing challenges.  

Investing in your financial health means two things. One, it means maintaining good financial housekeeping both for your business and your personal finance—ensuring the two do not mix, knowing your financial position at all times, and at you take measures to stay afloat and achieve your financial goals. 

Two is perhaps the most crucial aspect of your financial health: finding different sources of income. The common investing advice is to diversify—that is, do not put all of your eggs in one basket. The same is true for your business, but also for yourself. This may mean diversifying your product line, expanding your client base, setting up another business, or finding other sources of passive income. This is to create balance and to even out risks, so that you stay afloat even when your business is not doing so well.  

  • Investing in your physical health 

As a business owner, you are the most important asset of your business. Your health is a critical factor in your business’s health. How will you function if you get sick? The pandemic has taught us the importance of taking care of our health and how illness can upend everything. And even before the pandemic hit, many healthcare professionals have already warned us about the negative effects of stress and burnout. Nothing good and productive comes out of a tired mind and body, which is why rest, relaxation, and recovery in building business stamina, which a discuss in a separate video. 

Eat well. Rest well. Take everything in moderation. Exercise. Meditate. Take regular walks. See your doctor regularly.  

  • Investing in your mental health 

Finally, but perhaps even more importantly, is to invest in your mental health. The Australian Treasury reports that one in 5 Australian small business owners have been diagnosed with a mental health condition. The pandemic has hit some people harder than others, impacting not just their physical health but also their mental health as well. 

There are several ways we can take care of our mental health. Exercise is a good option, with many of those suffering from mental health conditions acknowledging how regular exercise gives them energy and helps them regulate things better. Many people find the time to meditate, even if just for 10 minutes a day, helps them work through the day. Experts recommend taking regular vacations. Once a year seems like a luxury, but if you work hard the rest of a year, a week off is necessary. 

More importantly, if you feel that you need more than rest and relaxation, please do not hesitate to see a healthcare specialist. You are important—your mental health is important. 

After watching this video and learning the different ways of investing in yourself—in your professional health, your financial health, your physical health and your mental health, how do you plan on investing in yourself? Which are you going to prioritise? 



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