Return on Investment (ROI) is a concept that entrepreneurs and marketers know all too well. If you can spend a dollar to get more than a dollar in return, you should keep spending.
Awesome, but why do I care? I struggle with 40 paid hours a week and another 20 of what I called “I have to” hours of unpaid work. How does spending money help me?
Like you, ROI has always been something I care little about. Now that I started making investments to improve my business though, I see the true value of investing for the individual too. It may not be as direct and measurable as an advertising campaign, but investing in oneself is actually more beneficial than any investments a business owner can make.
Let me elaborate by giving you some suggestions.
- Reading – No, I’m not trying to get you to buy my book (although it would be appreciated *hint*hint*). I’m talking about career, self improvement and business books. So many of us spend thousands of hours watching Everyone Loves Raymond, but imagine what you can learn by reading books like Good to Great instead. Reading doesn’t make you money per se, but it stimulus your thinking, gives you a glimpse of the thought process of successful people and improves your language skills. All else being equal, will you promote the person who seems to think beyond the obvious or the person who just follows instructions?
- Continual Education – I can’t believe I’m saying this since I hated English class growing up, but I’m seriously thinking about taking creative writing classes. Other than helping with my often awkward grammar and sentence structures, I also want to increase the critical thinking and reasoning aspects of my writing.
If you are in a field that’s ever changing, you can continually go to classes (or professional networks) to help you keep up.
- Learn a Related Skill – From updating the website to designing book covers, I knew just enough to make small changes without the help of others. It not only saved me money but even more importantly, it saved me tons of time and stress as I didn’t need to communicate what I wanted to another person. Marketers who know a bit of photoshop are often much more efficient at communicating his/her vision to designers using language that everyone understands. Managers in a technology company who keeps up with latest trends are always one step ahead of others. Teachers who embraces technology are often able to do multiple tasks in the time it takes others to do one. Are there any skill sets that you can learn to compliment your position?
- Management Classes – Whether it’s managing people or time, we are always judging and trying to maximize limited resources. It may not feel like an improvement at first, but with some practice, you will reap the benefits.
- Practice – By now, you probably realize that investing your time takes more commitment than the money you need to spend. Setting some aside and letting go of your ego by practicing takes even more commitment than taking a class, but once you hear about a new way of doing things, practice turns it into a habit.
For the most part, you probably won’t see the effects immediately but don’t lose heart because investing in yourself is incredibly beneficial for the long run. Think about it. Making a one time investment gives you life long benefits. Who would say no to that?
Editor's Note: I've begun tracking my assets through Personal Capital. I'm only using the free service so far and I no longer have to log into all the different accounts just to pull the numbers. And with a single screen showing all my assets, it's much easier to figure out when I need to rebalance or where I stand on the path to financial independence. They developed this pretty nifty 401K Fee Analyzer that will show you whether you are paying too much in fees, as well as an Investment Checkup tool to help determine whether your asset allocation fits your risk profile. The platform literally takes a few minutes to sign up and it's free to use by following this link here. For those trying to build wealth, Personal Capital is worth a look.