When you have a big dream that you’re trying to turn into reality, you need support. And support–the really effective, professional kind–often costs money.
It can cost a lot of money.
While you’re taking baby steps, wondering when or if all this hard work is going to pay off, it can be tempting to cut costs. Maybe you don’t need that Mont Blanc pen.
But when it comes to the things you do need, never be afraid to invest in yourself.
Here are the five best investments I’ve ever made for my career. I’m a writer, but this list can be tweaked to suit any business. (And I easily could have made this a list of ten.)
1) Travel. I love to travel for its own sake, but there’s something about a change of scenery that is incredibly inspiring. I’ve come away from my last three trips with solid ideas for novels.
2) Computer. For over thirteen years I plugged away on the same desktop computer, until it was so glutted with knowledge that it took over a minute to open a single page. The day I sprang for a MacBook Pro was the day that changed my professional life forever. The only thing I regret is that I waited so long.
3) Trek Desk. Unless you’ve been living under a rock these past few years, you’ve heard how awful it is for your health to spend most of your day sitting on your ass. Well, I’ve yet to meet a writer who did her best work while skydiving. Of course we’re sitting down! Until now. The lovely trek desk lets me walk while I work. The learning curve was minuscule, and the results are already worth it. A few hundred dollars for more years on this planet? Priceless.
4) A life coach (or two). Are you self-destructive? Prone to procrastinate? Great at setting goals, but not so good at meeting them? A life coach can help. There are many different styles of life coaches out there, but you’ll know you’ve got a good one when she pinpoints what’s been holding you back and gives you suggestions on how you can work around it.
5) Conferences. I don’t go to many conferences–I stick with the very best. My experience with conferences has been invaluable–I’ve learned how to pitch my work with three well-honed sentences, I’ve made friends for life, and I’ve been able to escape the slush fund and place my submission at the top of the heap. Add in tons of workshops and panel discussions and editing sessions, and you have the most valuable weekend you’ll ever spend.
How are you investing in yourself?