If you're a new entrepreneur, you probably want to keep as much money in your pocket as possible. Starting a business of your own can be a financial strain, and when you're just getting started, it's natural to have fears about money.
There are investments you need to make as a start-up -- like design and marketing, for example -- that seem like a non-negotiable no-brainer. But there are other, perhaps less obvious, investments that are important to the long-term success of your business. You need to invest in yourself. Your professional development. Your personal growth. This is key in the early stages of your budding business, when your growth and learning is paramount to the success of your start-up. To this end, here are four personal/professional development opportunities that every new entrepreneur -- even the penny-pinchers -- should splurge on:
1. A Coach or a Mastermind Group
Google CEO, Eric Schmidt, has a coach and stresses the value of a coach. "The one thing people are never good at is seeing themselves as others see them. A coach really, really, helps," he says. If someone at Schmidt's level of success is seeking guidance from a coach, maybe you should, too. We all have our blind spots. An alternative is to join a mastermind group, which is essentially a small collective of people who help each other learn and hold each other accountable. The key to a good mastermind group -- whether it's a paid subscription or a home-grown group -- is to join a group with people whose skill sets are different from your own.
2. Tribe Membership
Have you ever had a conversation with a group of individuals and thought, "Wow, these are my people"? It doesn't happen every day, so when it does it's like magic! If you're lucky enough to find "your people" pay the membership fee (if there is one) and stay connected. I'm a paying member of 85 Broads, a network of high-powered, badass businesswomen, and it is worth every penny. I also connect with other Martha Beck coaches on a regular basis because we just vibrate on the same frequency. That's precious, so when you find it, invest in the connection.
3. A Killer Conference
Nothing gets your creative juices flowing like attending a killer conference. During the last two-day conference I attended, I filled nearly a whole notebook with ideas. I also came home with a stack of business cards from people I wanted to collaborate with. Conferences come in all shapes and sizes and price-points. You don't have to shell out $8,000 to attend this year's TED conference. Chances are there's something awesome (and affordable) brewing right in your back yard. Which brings me to one more splurge...
And I don't mean for the caffeine. Though (who are we kidding?), you will probably need that, too. Coffee is for connection. As a new entrepreneur you should reach out to other entrepreneurs -- some who are at the same stage of growth as you, and some big fish who can help you learn. Reach out to people on your own and ask them out for coffee. Ask to be introduced to people. You'll be surprised by how many people are willing to lend a little time to help. I make a point to have at least one coffee a week with someone I might learn from or collaborate with. I've learned more over a quick cuppa joe than I have in some very expensive classes. It's more of an investment of time than money, and well worth it.
Happy (wise) spending!
Published at Careergasm.