How to invest in yourself

How to invest in yourself so you can get an ROI

Do you ever wonder how to invest in yourself and truly see an ROI?

Are you someone who would rather invest in your business than yourself?

Maybe you avoid investing your YOU because you’re not sure it will be worth it?

Are you wondering “what’s my next best investment so I can grow my business”?.

If so, this is for you.

I’m going to bust some serious myths around investing in you and getting and ROI.

Myths like:

  • Investing has to be expensive
  • Getting an ROI is hard or confusing
  • Results are your coaches, trainers, accountants, lawyers responsibility

I also want to put what, how and who you invest in back in your hands.

Because if you are investing in things the way most business owners are by spraying and praying  –  meaning buying whatever you see in your newsfeed and hoping it works  –  this is a wasted effort.

We want you to be highly discerning in what, who and how you invest.

But first I want to share a little about my experience investing in me.

Before I even owned a business, I fell in love with investing in myself and saw the ROI in lots of different tangible and intangible ways.

Let’s also take a minute to define investing in yourself; I’m talking about time, energy, and money. 

Sometimes it’s all three and sometimes it has nothing to do with money.

Investing in myself is about turning my attention inward to me with the intention to better myself mentally, emotionally, physically, spiritually, relationally, and financially.

A major tool I use for my self improvement, expansion and evolution is my business. 

Business is something I find exciting, challenging, energizing and stimulating.

But my investments, even in my business, tend to be investments in myself.

The first time I consciously made a decision to invest in myself, however, was way before I even had this business.

We were in the middle of slogging through our first business which my husband ran, and I still worked in corporate to bring home a steady paycheck to pay the bills. 

Our first business was a business that was drowning in debt, was undercapitalized and inconsistent, leaving us in a chronic state of entrepreneurial poverty.

We eventually crashed and burned during the great recession, and went bankrupt.

It was during this time, when my kids were toddlers, that I would scrape together the money to pay for them to take swimming lessons.

 I don’t know why this was so important to me other than to feel like a good mother should do everything in her power to make sure her kids don’t have a water accident.

As I sat on the pool deck, I thought about how I would like to take swimming lessons and feel more confident in the water. 

Maybe I wanted to explore swimming as a form of exercise but felt utterly like a fish out of water.

I felt sad that I didn’t have the financial resources to allow my kids to have swim lessons and for me to swim too.

Then I did something incredibly difficult for a mother…I put my needs and desires before my children. 

In that moment, I decided that my kids would sit the next round of swim lessons out and that I would sign myself up instead.

Investing time, energy and money into myself gave me more energy.
“Learner” is one of my top 10 strengths, and continuous improvement as a human being is a personal core value.

I’ve also spent my entire working career in the leadership development space creating learning and development opportunities to help people improve their human and business performance.

Except that would prove very frustrating.

I would notice this really annoying trend; you see, we had mandatory training hours and training budgets within each department.

I would notice that when I put my training requests in, I would have a hard time getting approved for training. Nothing overt, but my request would sit idle on my bosses desk and go ignored for weeks and months at a time. I would watch her pile all her loose papers on top of her inbox that held my training requests.

Yes, some of my training requests were large, like a $5,000 certification I wanted in a popular leadership assessment that was commonplace in many organizations.

What made this even more frustrating was they never batted an eyelash as the myriad of tech training requests for the engineers that were far more expensive than any certification request I made.

Upgrading my skill set would add value not just to the organization but to my resume;  just like the engineers that would take those trainings and get promotions, or even leave the organization for better opportunities.

When I first started my business, I was working full time and this business was a side hustle. 

I knew I wanted my job to provide a cushion for me to get started, even though it meant getting up at 4:45 in the morning to work before work, working at Starbucks during lunch, and working after the kids went to bed.

But what that allowed me to do is to take the extra money I was making from this business and invest it in myself.

My first investment into myself as a business owner was a group program for $497. 

It helped me complete a few revenue generating projects and held me accountable to making the sales I needed those early days in my business.

Part of the reason why it worked because I showed up differently when I had someone holding my feet to the fire and when I made a financial investment.

I’m also at my best when I;m learning new things and raising the bar for how I show up in the world.

This $497 investment has spurred many more investments into myself that over the years have exceeded 6 figures.

Continually improving my leadership, adding valuable skills to my skill set and feeding the parts of me that need to be fed are all critical to not only me but my relationships with my family, clients, colleagues, and my business.

My best investments have always been in other people — coaches, mentors, therapists, healers, masterminds, paid communities, consultants, etc

A few years ago I was having this conversation with my dad over breakfast at the diner. It was just a few years into my business and he said to me, “how did you figure all of this out?”.

That’s when I confessed to the long list of people I have had the benefit of learning from, and how much I have invested in my own development.

My dad can be overly cautious with money, as I shared a few episodes back in the episode “Are you tired of focusing on your money mindset?”

So I was absolutely shocked when he agreed with me, and the investments I have made into myself.   

He said if you were running a manufacturing company (as he did), you would need to make investments into the machines to keep them running. 

You’re a service based business, so it’s different but you’re the most important asset like my machines were an important asset. 

You should be investing in YOU. 

You need to keep running and improving.

Here’s one thing I know for sure — when I invest in myself I ALWAYS get an ROI. 

So, let’s bust some myths and give you some food for thought on how you can ensure that you are receiving a return on investment and a return on your energy.

Investing has to be expensive — at every level you are at, you should look for the best investment for you. The one that will provide you with the structure and support you need. I’m so tired of seeing people go into debt or feel like they have to buy the VIP version of something to get the result they want. NOW, for me, I do need to have some skin in the game. But that number changes because when I didn’t have the business expenses I have today (podcast, marketing budget, contractors), there have been many times where I have purchased a lower priced offer, service, product to help me get to the point where I can buy the higher level program, product, service.

Maybe you don’t have a lot of money right now but you have more time — so your investment might be more time intensive. For example, investing time in a self study course instead of hiring a coach.

I like to play around with investing various different amounts of money to learn new things, acquire new skills and, be led deeper in my own self knowledge.

Sometimes that looks like investing a few hours in going for a hike by myself, or sitting on a grassy patch of land near a body of water and staring into the great beyond.

Sometimes it means going through the effort of finding someone to watch my kids so my husband and I can spend a few nights away and invest some energy into our relationship. 

The price of the few nights away might not be that expensive ,but scheduling the kids to stay somewhere else, finding someone to watch the dogs — that takes a lot of my energy.

Getting an ROI is hard or confusing

I hear from a lot of people who don’t know how to quantify their ROI.

First, I think this is partially because when we think about ROI, we only think in terms of tangible results. 

Thinking only in terms of tangible and immediate results can hold you back from uncovering the richness of your investment. 

For example, an intangible result of my swim lesson was the confidence and self trust to show up for myself when I do make investments, which has positively impacted every single investment I have made since then.

When I was in grad school, I took the hardest internship in our program.

 Everyone knew if you had the guts to work with this specific mentor, you would get one of the highest paying jobs out of grad school. 

She was known for being VERY tough to the point that most of the students were afraid to take the opportunity. 

Not me, I jumped at the chance even choosing to work with her as a 1st year student instead of a 2nd year like most people. 

I quit my full time job with benefits and drove to connecticut from NY 3 days a week. I knew this would be a short term sacrifice — I lived off my student loan, credit cards and at the time I was living with my then boyfriend, now husband ,who agreed to cover the rent and groceries. 

9 months later I got a job working for one of our clients and had doubled the salary I had left behind 9 months earlier. 

Now, 23 years later, I am still benefiting from the mentorship of this woman in both small and large ways. 

I remember her advice;  I remember her critique on my blindspots which sometimes still come up today, 

I remember that she charged a 15% admin fee on her consulting agreements that comes in handy on larger proposals.

I have another mentor that I work with. 

We worked together for a long time, took a break and then I started working with her again. 

The reason why I started working with her again is because I wanted to be in her energy. Her energy elevates me, it inspires me to be a better leader and a more grounded business owner. I know my results will improve based on our conversations and having her input.

Perhaps some of my ability to get fantastic ROI on my investments is the belief that I will. I’m discerning when it comes to who I give my money to so when I do, I KNOW it’s the best move for me.

I enter these relationships with the intention of maximizing my time, money and energy. Which brings me to my last myth that I want to bust.

Results are your coaches, trainers, accountants, lawyers responsibility.

There is a vibe out there that if you pay a coach, consultant, trainer, accountant, lawyer that your responsibility ends with that payment and it’s up to the provider to deliver the return.

Yes, the service provider needs to show up and provide the service — they comply with the terms of their contract.

AND — you need to show up and BE accountable to the growth you want to see, the skill you want to develop, the process you want implemented.

For me, this usually starts with me deciding that I’m going to make the most out of this experience and that I’m going to give it my best. I then define what it means for me to be my best in this relationship:

  • I’m going to do hard things like ask for support when it feels uncomfortable. 
  • I take responsibility for checking in on my commitments.
  • I inform the person holding me accountable of my progress.
  • I’m honest with how I’m feeling and out myself when I’m in a mental dip or am spinning out.
  • I ask for resources – e.g., do they have an SOP, training, recommendation for something that could help me move through what I’m in the middle of.
  • I celebrate my wins and successes loud and proud and regular and frequent.
  • I stay open when I get feedback and I lean in to different opinions. My best coaches/consultants think differently than me — and maybe even trigger me.

I know showing up in this way is hard — I hear a lot of concerns like:

  • I don’t like asking for help
  • I don’t know what I need help with
  • When things get challenging, I shrink
  • I don’t take feedback well and want to rebel

I understand all of these concerns, and so will a good service provider / coach/therapist/consultant, etc.

I’m going to end this podcast by sharing a funny conversation I had with my CFO — we were reviewing 2020’s numbers and he said, “I noticed you’re investing in yourself…a lot”.

My response was, “Yep. I’ve actually doubled down on my investments for me right now. I want alllll the support, knowledge, and energy I can get right now”.

As a matter of fact, the reason why he noticed is because for about 6-9 months prior to this I had gone lighter on my investments because I was putting money away for when I needed it the most. 

The conclusion of the conversation was my CFO saying “Good, I like seeing you invest in yourself” Because he knows the business is going to see growth now too.

By the way, it’s never too late to take responsibility for making an investment. Even if that investment has passed.

I’ll pull out some learning material from a program and review it. 

I regularly contact previous coaches and mentors to let them know how insights I’ve had while working with them continue to pay forward. 

By giving gratitude to those experiences, my future experiences benefit. 

I’ll write a review or testimonial after the fact. 

And if I felt like I didn’t show up my best, I will often acknowledge that as well. 

I have one coach who patiently sat with me through 18 months of hardcore “i don’t wanna style” resistance.

 I got great results but getting them was so heavy. To this day I thank her for her patience and not giving up on me, and believing in me when I struggled to believe in myself.

Instead of looking at all the ways you aren’t, haven’t, didn’t get an ROI — can you look at those experiences with a fresh perspective and find what you did receive and how that has helped you get to where you are today?

And if you’re someone who struggles to make investments in yourself,  start small.

You deserve to be supported and when we make investments in ourselves everything around us blossoms too.

Important links to share:

Listen in on CEO Debriefs and Get 10 BOLD Questions for your own debrief.

The BRAVE Society

Follow Tara over on Instagram

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