The Crazy Thing About Betting On Yourself…

Several years ago I had to make a big decision as to how I would invest some of my money. I evaluated 3 different options as to what to do.

As an example, I will use $20,000 as the nominal amount.

  1. Invest $20,000 and put it in the stock market for an annual 10% return?
  2. Be an angel investor and look for a 3-10x return on investment in a highly speculative company that I didn’t know very well?
  3. Or spend the $20,000 investing in me, someone I knew better than anyone else, and look for a 10-100x return?

Napoleon Hill said that successful people make a habit of reaching decisions quickly and definitely and changing them slowly. This was an emotive decision. I had to believe in my own skills and be the cause of the results I wanted to bring forth in my life.

Naturally it’s important to have a fixed monthly amount of funds flowing into “savings” that are never touched. But to get a large return I knew I had to invest in myself!

Dale Carnegie said, “As I grow older I pay less attention to what people say and more attention to what they do.”

I try to mimic successful people and their habits. This thought process started when I switched from having a career to having a calling, when I decided to move away from my corporate career to first become an entrepreneur, and then launch my own startup.

As a side note, I like to define a career as something you retire from, but a calling you never retire from. It’s when purpose, passion, and vision come together to form a new driving force in life.

So far I see my business life split into 3 sections:

Section #1: The Career

The first part of my life I set out to accumulate degrees and professional designations to boost my skill and to succeed at work and in life.

I have a BA in mathematics and accounting, a Masters in international business, an MBA in finance, and am a CFA charter holder, and can speak four languages. All this has helped me accumulate the necessary skills and know-how to do very well in a job.

I was in my early-30’s when I became an intrapreneur and I realized getting an extra degree or designation has a smaller and smaller return on investment.

Section #2: The Intrapreneur

I left a very lucrative career on Wall Street to follow my heart and move into the field of microfinance and social impact. I became a CFO and learned a new skillset moving away from investing towards building companies.

This is where my career became a calling.

Although I made less money, it was an investment into an area I was passionate about and the ability to develop a new skillset. I also started working with a coach on a regular basis and invested in surrounding myself with a team of mentors.

Earning less money as you get older hurts not only the ego, but also your lifestyle. If you want to master the necessary skills though to be able to pursue your passion you have to invest in yourself.

Section #3:

Only by making the time and monetary investments described above could I step forward to the next stage, namely to start my own company. Once again there was an initial hit to my income, as I had to gather momentum in building my customer base. I also had to renew my network with entrepreneurs and business owners and joined a paid high-end entrepreneurial mastermind group.

I continue to invest in my inner circle and mentorship group to surround myself with people who are ahead of me.

As a business owner, the risk goes up, and the investment necessary to continue to be successful increases. I now invest a minimum of 10% of my gross income in myself. I aim for 10% giving – 20% savings – 10% personal investment.

Before you decide to make an investment in a company, remember that the very first startup founder you need to invest in is you.

Today, we’ve barely scratched the surface

Whatever stage you’re at in business, you need to be all over the numbers. In posts like this, we aim to offer bite-size food for thought – but in a few hundred words, we can only do so much.

If you’re ready to build your financial muscle, how about a FREE copy of James Vanreusel’s (highly-acclaimed) book for CEOs?

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