As an entrepreneur, it isn’t easy running a start-up company. Most start-up entrepreneurs usually wear several hats, serving numerous functions in their companies. They are the idea people, the passionate leaders, the team builders, engineers, marketing experts, logistics officers, bookkeepers and strategists all in one. This is not a bad thing. It only means that they have to keep investing in themselves, in terms of building their own personal skills and abilities. This can be quite challenging.
It is so much so that some entrepreneurs would prefer to invest in their companies over investing in themselves if they have an extra hour or 30 minutes. They see personal investments as a waste of time. “Why should I waste time playing video games or reading that novel, when I have a business to get off the ground?” See?
Yes, running a business is no easy feat. But by being an entrepreneur, personal investments must be taken into consideration. You are the brand and brand ambassador of your products and/ or services, in addition to being the all-in-one. True? If yes, then investing in yourself translates into investing your product and/or service.
Here are ways you can do that:
1. Consider going to school
Few things do more to enhance both your credibility and intellectual capacity than higher education. The fact that Tara Durotoye studied Law and owns House of Tara lends her credibility. Olori Supergal studied Accounting and runs a website. Having an education helps. In a country where certificates are given a lot of weight, finishing a degree or starting a new one can make a huge difference. Every tertiary institution has a part-time or returning student or executive program and other professional courses.
2. Take online courses
These are increasingly available now. Distance learning is the way forward if you can’t go all the way to the school. It’s possible to earn certifications in a variety of business-related subjects from schools in places that are not in your vicinity. Even if you are just exercising your mind or staying up-to-date on current topics and trends in your field, it’s a good investment.
What better way to learn and reinforce your thinking, than by teaching others? You like to teach or explain things and concepts to people? Good. Like an advanced degree, being a teacher confers a great deal of credibility. Teaching also forces you to know what you are teaching at an expert level (you don’t want to fumble before a crowd, do you?), confront and consider new ideas and explain things in new ways. If you’re an expert in something, reach out to community learning programs or colleges in your area and get in the classroom or set up programmes in which you get to transfer your ideas. Start a video blog or something
4. Read wide
Read widely. Read about related and unrelated things. Are you used to reading business books or motivational book? Expand your reading list to include topics that are not related to your business endeavours. Read whatever will distract you from your hour-to-hour obsessions, be it magazines, comics, novels, sci-fi, architectural or even Yoruba books. Giving your mind a break will inspire creative problem-solving and invigorate your work when you return to it.
5. Your physical health
Yes, we get so cut-up in work and running the business that you don’t have time for “that” frivolity… It is difficult to do exercise or watch what you eat sometimes or take breaks or vacations. But then, if your ability to work is the most important thing to your business success, it makes no sense to risk it. You have to stay healthy, if not for you, then for your business, because you want to see it grow and yield good fruits.
Consider moving yourself and your business to a co-working community. The collaborative, entrepreneurial spirit of shared ambition and sacrifice can be intoxicating and empowering. By co-locating, you’ll find mentors, partners and different-thinkers – all of whom can add to your personal growth and strategic creativity.
Networking is key to getting ahead nowadays. Have you got a new idea? You need to let people know about it. Just as it is a great opportunity to advance your business, it is also a great opportunity to build personal connections, assets you can take with you from project to project or business to business. Investing in networking and getting to know your network personally will increase your personal reach and capacity.
You probably knew all these but haven’t started implementing them. Do start now, to improve yourself and your business. If you knew this already and are doing the above already, thumbs up! This serves as a gentle reminder as to why you should invest in yourself.
Are there any other ways you have invested or are investing in yourself that weren’t included in this post? Do share with us.