The Importance of Investing in Yourself and Your Business

December 30, 2018
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You’ve likely invested a lot in your business – time, energy, money, and maybe even your mental and physical health. It takes a lot to get off the ground, after all. Success doesn’t usually come without hard work and some sacrifice.

Investing in your business is important, but so is investing in yourself. In this article, we’ll discuss what it means to invest in yourself, why you want to do it, and some ideas for how to get started.

Let’s jump in!

What It Means to Invest in Yourself and Why It’s Important

In short, investing in yourself is doing anything to contributes to your long-term well-being. Usually this doesn’t mean investing money, or focusing on material things. Instead, this type of investment is about benefits such as health, knowledge, stress-relief, and happiness.

This could encompass a range of tasks, such as dedicating yourself to a workout schedule, learning new skills, and taking time off to relax. Investing in yourself also includes ‘backing’ yourself, or refining your current skill set to better support your business.

One major benefit of investing in yourself is it can help prevent entrepreneurial burnout. The stress of running your own business is significant, and it’s not unusual for it to develop into burnout symptoms like a lack of passion for your business, poor physical and mental health, and work-related cynicism.

When you invest in becoming a healthier, more knowledgable, more well-rounded person, your business should benefit too. Adding to your skill set and expanding your outlook can help you see areas where your business can expand or improve. A healthy mind and body enable you to put more energy into your work.

Investing in yourself by maintaining your health, lowering your stress levels, and reigniting your passion for your business can prevent burnout and bring new insights to your work. These could be crucial factors in determining your business’ success.

How to Start Investing in Yourself (5 Suggestions)

Trying to accomplish a broad, abstract goal like being healthier or reducing stress can be difficult. It’s sometimes hard to know where to start. Given this, we’ve compiled a few suggestions help you start investing in yourself that you can try and build upon later.

1. Read Almost Any Book

You can read to expand your knowledge on almost any subject. For example, try searching for the top rated books on your business niche, or maybe within a specific area your business is lacking in. For instance, if you’re a web designer, you might check out our reading list for WordPress web designers.

Of course, you don’t have to limit yourself to books related to your business. There are many benefits of reading that extend beyond acquiring knowledge and skills. Reading can improve your memory skills, lower stress levels, expand your vocabulary, and be a source of entertainment.

You may have hated them in high school, but if you’re not sure what to read, try one of the books commonly deemed a ‘classic.’ These books have survived the test of time for a reason, and browsing the Classics section on GoodReads for ideas is a sound strategy.

There aren’t many books you shouldn’t read, but if you’re worried about wasting your time on a 500-page novel, you can always check the book’s reviews before you begin. Choosing from best-seller lists and reading lists could also help.

Remember: it’s alright if a book’s only value is entertainment. Getting lost in a story can help reduce your stress, and a less-stressed you is better equipped to take care of your business and yourself.

When deciding whether a book is worth your time, consider how you feel while reading it. If the experience is more frustrating than relaxing, and you’re not learning anything, the book probably isn’t for you. It’s okay to put down a book you don’t like and go in search of another one.

2. Take a Class to Learn a New Skill or Improve an Old One

You can find a class in almost anything these days. Many colleges and universities offer adult classes, and you can often find beginner-level classes at community centers covering areas such as painting, yoga, and much more. What’s more, there’s also the option to find higher-level classes at specialized boutique studios and schools.

Taking classes in subjects like writing, foreign languages, and web design can help you develop skills that may improve or expand your business. These skills are important for communicating with customers and clients, and could even broaden your customer or client base by enabling you to appeal to a wider range of people.

There’s also nothing wrong with taking a class in something you already use on a regular basis to improve your existing skill set. Sometimes new techniques or theories will have been developed since you last spent time learning about a specific skill, and you could discover better ways of accomplishing tasks vital to your business.

Learning new skills can improve other areas of your life besides your business, though. You can take classes in cooking or work with a personal trainer to improve your physical health. Classes in art and music can provide you with a creative outlet.

These activities may not relate directly to your work, but elevating your health, relieving stress, and exposing yourself to new ideas can have an indirect positive impact on your business. Part of investing in yourself is focusing on improving your life and letting the benefits of those improvements spill over into your work.

3. Tap Into Your Creativity to Access New Ideas

There’s a reason creativity is a coveted trait. The ability to come up with new ideas to produce unique goods and services is what sometimes determines the success or failure of a small business. Doing things differently than other businesses is essential for drawing in consumers and clients.

Believe it or not, creativity is a skill you can practice.  We are all creative in different ways, and if you feel like you’re not, you likely haven’t stumbled on the activity that suits you best.

Finding ways to express yourself and use your imagination have benefits like stress relief and developing problem-solving abilities. Exercising your brain and teaching it to look for solutions that aren’t immediately evident could help you fix problems facing your business or develop new solutions you can market to consumers or clients.

If painting, sculpting, or playing a musical instrument doesn’t sound appealing to you, there are other ways you can tap into your creative side. It could be something as simple as taking a new route to work every day, or completing day-to-day tasks in new ways. You could also try journaling or taking photos.

Practicing creativity can feel intimidating. The most important thing to remember is that you’re not trying to be an artist. You’re trying to practice creative thinking. It doesn’t matter how perfect your painting is, only that you imagined something in your mind then found a way to create it.

4. Take Care of Your Body

Whether you’re in a time crunch to meet a deadline or pulling a late night troubleshooting a client’s problem, it’s easy to let your personal well-being fall by the wayside. Skipping workouts and relying on fast food can quickly become your new norm.

If you don’t prioritize taking care of your body, unhealthy habits could catch up with you. Poor diet and exercise can lead to a whole host of physical and mental health problems. Least of which includes a lack of energy that could make running your business feel impossible.

Making sure you stay healthy could also prevent you from missing work due to health problems. Getting sick would probably keep you from being able to manage all the necessary aspects of keeping your business running. You don’t want to be stuck at the doctor’s office when you need to be at your own.

Designating time for exercise and finding eating options that are both convenient and healthy can help you find the energy to get through the workday. Trying waking up early to exercise before work, and packing meals from home made with fresh ingredients.

5. Take Care of Your Mind

As you’ve probably noticed from reading through the first four suggestions in this article, stress relief is a big part of investing in yourself and preventing burnout. With reports of mental health struggles on the rise, many have to ward off anxiety conditions and depression.

Your responsibilities are likely difficult enough to manage without additional obstacles. Anxiety can make it difficult to concentrate, and depression can cause a lack of energy and motivation. Of course, either of thse could greatly hinder your ability to successfully run your business.

Meditation can help reduce stress and be a tool for coping with depression and anxiety. Setting aside time to meditate is a solid investment in your mental health, and learning how to meditate is easy and accessible with help from a meditation app.

Therapy is also a path you can pursue if you’re struggling with your mental health. While appointments with a therapist might seem like valuable time taken from your work day, remember that having a healthy mind is imperative if you want to be able to put your all into your business.

Conclusion

It may feel impossible to take time away from your business to invest in yourself, but if you’re a small business owner, an investment in yourself is also for your business. Making space for your own growth can help prevent burnout and bring new skills and ideas to your work.

If you’re ready to invest in yourself but don’t know where to start, here are a few ideas:

  1. Read almost any book
  2. Take a class to learn a new skill or improve an old one
  3. Tap into your creativity to access new ideas
  4. Take care of your body
  5. Take care of your mind

What keeps you from investing in yourself? Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments section below!

Article thumbnail credit: Darko 1981 / shutterstock.

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