Last year, I had one savings goal: $800 for a new snowboard, boots and bindings.
Depending on how you define an investment in yourself, a new snowboard could totally fit the self-investment bill.
Snowboarding is my favorite. But it happens to be an expensive hobby that I can only do 10-20 days per year.
Spoiler alert – I totally made that goal, kind of. I saved $800 but spent only $500 on a new board and bindings. BOOM!
Getting this snowboard in the mail was one of the best days of 2016.
It was a huge win! I set a savings goal. I consciously put money away toward it. I got my beautiful new GNU B-Pro C3 BTX. Let me tell you, this thing is fast.
But a new board and bindings weren’t the only investment in myself I made in 2016.
I spent a grand total of $3,530 on self investments — not including the new deck.
That is no small chunk of change especially because I didn’t put any money aside for it at all.
If you’ve been following my blog, you know that last January, my boyfriend and I resolved to learn one new thing a month — which I highly recommend if you’re looking for a good 2017 yearly project.
By April, we each got heavily caught up with what we were learning.
The “learn one new thing a month” goal was replaced by a bigger one: to develop skills we could profit from that we also enjoyed.
My boyfriend is still teaching himself how to code, and I’ve stuck with online business and marketing.
So here’s what happened as a result of investing thousands of dollars into my post-school education in 2016.
1. I started creating content with the mission of helping others.
At the end of the day, aren’t we all trying to make the world a better place by helping people?
The last time I put myself out there on the internet, I was 16 years old. I was doing a 365 self portrait project on Flickr.
The whole project is long gone from the internet, but I did make a book on Blurb of 1/2 my photos.
Fast forward eight years, and I’m finally comfortable enough to get back to it through writing.
But the motivation to write and publish online came from a course called Zero To Launch from I Will Teach You To Be Rich.
Yeah, the site name sounds sketchy AF, but don’t let that stop you from reading Ramit Sethi’s material if you’re interested in learning how to manage your money, negotiate a raise or start a business.
Zero To Launch was not easy for me to buy. It cost $2,000.
I could have put that $2,000 towards my retirement fund.
I could have let it sit in my savings account. I could have spent it on cabs. Instead I took a risk and invested in my education — and it was worth every penny.
It was the crash course I needed to hit the ground running with my online business, Workweek Lunch. There’s nothing easy about implementing the material — but it’s a blast.
Is there a skill you’ve always been interested in developing? There are so so so many online courses to take for just about anything these days.
Some great resources to start today online are:
2. I quadrupled my professional network.
Education aside, investing in myself put me in rooms and online communities full of people I would have never, ever crossed paths with otherwise.
I dropped another $1,000 on a weekend-long personal development conference called Forefront in New York City.
Putting down $1k for this event was significantly easier.
I connected with creative, kind, like-minded self-development nerds people. I learned so much just by sharing ideas and speaking with them.
I even got to meet Ramit himself.
I’m not saying you have to shell out a thousand dollars to attend any old networking event.
Here’s specially what value I got from Forefront, besides meeting people from all over the world:
- Accountability: I signed up to attend Forefront AGAIN this year in Chicago. Knowing that I’m going to see many of the same people in Chicago that I spoke to at the event this year motivates me even more to hit my goals.
- Clarity: We got to hear keynote speeches from Sethi and Daymond John from Shark Tank (one of my favorite TV shows ever). They both dropped truth bomb after truth bomb that helped me get my priorities for the year straight.
- Headshots! During the event, I got some professional photos done. Having an updated photo of myself is worth a lot to me. I’ll admit now that my previous LinkedIn photo was a selfie I took on an airplane. Yeah.
3. Education took my confidence to another level.
I’m confident by nature, but building the confidence to start my own business wouldn’t have happened without these investments.
The deeper I get into online business, the more I want to learn.
I studied creative writing, but I’ve always been interested in learning how to write effective copy that sells. Copywriting was at the top of my list this year.
First, I landed a few copywriting jobs on Upwork to get a feel for it.
After using Upwork for awhile and having some success with it, I came across a course called The Six Figure Upworker on Freelance To Win by Danny Margulies.
Danny’s site loaded with some of the most helpful free resources for freelancers, but I was intrigued by his paid material.
The course cost $500.
I hesitated for a few weeks. But the day after my run at Elite Daily ended, I took the plunge and bought it.
Sure enough, I made back that $500 after six weeks on Upwork easily. The best part? The material I studied can be applied to literally any situation as a freelancer — not just Upwork.
It proved (again) that educating yourself is the only way to get results sooner than later.
In 2016, I read 18 books. 80% of them were business, marketing and writing books recommended to me by successful people I look up to.
I could have figured out some stuff on my own. But why waste that valuable time if I can learn from others?
Avoiding growth, change and learning opportunities would have left me feeling miserable and trapped.
You only feel trapped and stuck when you’re not aware of what possibilities even exist.
The only way to stumble on new opportunities is to stay open, be curious and adopt the learners mindset.
It’s terrifying to go after something you want.
At least, it is for me. But fulfillment outweighs my fear every single day.
What investments will you make in yourself this year to get you closer to living the life you dream of?
I have a clear idea of what I want my life to look like. I’m sure it will change, but I don’t think about that much. Investing in myself pushed me further this year towards my dreams than anything else.
Instead of dreaming, I made a plan.
Instead of hoping and wishing, I took action.
And now, instead of being scared of failure, I’m focused on making my decisions work.
If there’s something you’ve always wanted to do or start, take the first step and start learning today. Hit me up if you want to talk through it at taliasarakoren(at)gmail(dot)com or subscribe here to get motivating insight delivered straight to your inbox.