To grow, we need to make investments. When we are pursuing our passions we will hit walls, by investing, these walls are pushed back and create space to grow. Sometimes these investments look like personal ones where we set aside time to learn new things, and other times it’s financial where we buy new equipment. Either way, if we don’t make these investments we’ll remain stagnant and keep from growing ourselves and our brands.
Taking the time to learn something new, dedicating free time on a passion rather then going out, and making sacrifices to focus on a venture are all examples of personal investments.
When I was still in high school, I was working at a deli, and had no idea what I wanted to do with my life. This isn’t uncommon for kids at that age, but I felt stuck. I found out that a friend of mine was making money creating websites. We had one conversation, and I was hooked. From then on, every day when I got home from school, I would learn about photography, design, branding, and websites until I went to sleep. I was consumed by this. I invested hours upon hours to my craft. This allowed me to be fully prepared to take on ‘real’ clients, and begin my career. Had I not done this, I would have continued feeling stuck working at my job at the deli.
Personal investments require a lot of discipline. We owe it to ourselves to buckle down and take our passions seriously. At the age I started my freelance career, other kids were out partying and having ‘fun.’ I sacrificed a lot of that to really focus on my craft. Furthermore, I made sure that if I was going to be taking this venture seriously, I also needed to make financial ones as well.
When a venture capitalist is brought a business they believe to be viable, they put money into it, usually in return of the initial investment plus equity. What if we were the ones to invest the money? What if we saved our own money and funded the venture ourselves? What if we could grow our brands and keep all the equity? I heavily believe in bootstrapping, and have been doing so since day 1.
The first investment I ever made was in 2009, a white MacBook. Shortly after, I bought a Nikon D40 DSLR camera. These two pieces of hardware allowed me to kickstart a freelance business in design & photography. This investment of about $1500, that for a 16 year old kid was a lot, opened doors for me that I would have never imagined. Within a couple months I made back the investment and started to see profit. At the time, as I mentioned above, I was also working weekends at a deli making $7.25/hour. What I made in a day at the deli, I could make in 1-2 hours doing freelance. In no time I was able to quit and focus full time on my company.
Was I scared? Sure, however that’s normal. It’s okay to be a little scared while making these investments because there is risk involved. After taxes, I think I was making $100 a weekend at the deli. I would have had to save up for 15 weeks. All that sacrifice and risk, could have gone in vain. This doesn’t come without risk, but nothing does.
There are risks involved, now let’s move past that
Putting personal time into something, could result in nothing being learned, or learning the wrong things. Investing financially could result in us loosing all our money. Know that we know this, let’s move past it. Nothing great that can change our lives comes with no risk. Everything has risks, the good thing about these personal risks is that they come with the biggest returns. I have yet to come across another investment that not only had high returns, but continues to give returns even years after that initial investment. My personal investments have led me to working with some fantastic people.
What could a personal investment do for you? If you took out the time to learn something, what would that do for you? If you saved up some money and bought that piece of equipment, how would that help?