This is major for anyone, but it’s especially major for women. I do believe that 2016 will be the year of the woman and it’s about damn time. I think and encourage that people invest in themselves sooner rather than later because I believe the earlier, the better. There’s this huge thing, this huge idea that investing has this set starting age which is not true. You can start investing in yourself and going for your dreams whenever you want. When people hear the word “investing” they automatically assume that it’s strictly focused on putting money down, and that is true – however, there are ways you can invest in yourself (up to a certain point) where you can do it for free.
The very first way that you can invest in yourself (that is free) is: having self-love. When you are set with who you are, love who you are, and have accepted your flaws – it is going to make it a lot easier to want to invest in yourself in a different way and your entire being changes when you’re happy with who you are.
Now I am going to tell you ways you can invest in yourself, career wise, kind of in the order that I am taking. So even though, you may not be interested in the same career path as me, you can still invest in yourself the way I am but alter it to fit you and your life the best way possible.
So one thing you can do when you begin investing in yourself is to establish what it is you’re wanting to do with your life and career. Ask questions like where do you want to see yourself 5, 10, 15 years from now. Whatever path you chose, you have to make sure it’s something that you are really serious about.
Once you found that out, find people within your industry/field and follow their social media handles/blogs. You don’t have to talk to them (but I highly recommend that you do) but just stay connected with them. I have mentioned a few people on Twitter saying things as simple as: “Thanks for the free stock photos sent via email, love them!” and “Great periscope last night – very informative.” – doing this leads to them to clicking your page, knowing your name, and even getting a follow back! They have been in your shoes and following them and seeing their path and their growth can help you get an idea of what they did and the work that has to be put in.
This now leads into finding and gaining mentors. It’s sort of like creating your own secret society of women (people) that you’re aspiring to be like. So when I see other women, especially women of color in my field doing web design, graphic design, and branding it excites me. When these women that inspire me are kicking ass and doing big things it in turn makes me want to keep doing what I am doing.
Once you have a set group of people who inspire you, take courses from them. If they’re offering a free email course, their website has “freebies”, they have a newsletter, they’re hosting a free webinar, whatever it is, sign up for it – GET IT. Read what they’re talking about – this is huge. I have gotten a lot of good “freebies” and have learned a great deal of things from women in my field just by simply signing up for their newsletters.
Another thing you can do is going to and attending events that your mentors/inspirers host (if they’re local) and network!!! Even if you are in another state, networking can still be done.
Something simple you can do is practicing your craft + buying the necessary things in order for you to improve in your craft. If you want to be a photographer, save money and buy yourself a legit camera. For me, I purchased Illustrator and Photoshop so I could become more serious with my graphic design skills. I had to set money aside to buy domain names, hosting, and web templates so I could become better at creating websites and even create this blog!
You can always practice your craft at the skill level you’re at, but learning and staying on top of your craft is another major role in investing in yourself. Staying in know of what’s going on in your field or industry is a big thing as well.
Get a job or volunteer/join an organization in your industry/field. This is a great way because not only are you getting experience, you’re getting paid as well! If you want to get into the fashion industry, it would be smarter to work in retail rather than at McDonalds. I got hired to work at my school doing web + graphic design, not only will that look great on my resume but I was able to learn html and css – key components in web design. Joining or volunteering in an organization will allow you to make connections, help out other people, and help you gain team-building experience.
Another free way to invest in yourself, is to start creating and working on your personal brand – which is how you’re perceived. So if you have any social media that’s under your name and for personal use, that is your personal brand. If you were to have a room full of people who know you well and people who know of you, and they were asked to talk about what comes to mind when they hear your name, what would they say? Your personal brand is how people perceive you. And you really want how people perceive you and the way you perceive yourself to be pretty close. So your personal brand is huge and great way to invest in yourself – this also ties in with self-love because how you see and portray yourself is going to be a direct reflection to how people will portray and see you.
The free ways you can invest in yourself are similar to the non-free ways you can invest in yourself. So someone may offer a free 6 day email course that tells you how to find your branding identity and then may also have an E-book that gives you insight on how to create, design, and sell a kick ass brand for your clients that may cost $65 dollars. So then, you must decide if this information is important enough to for you to spend money on it. If the author of the E-book owns her own business, has a good clientele, knows what she’s doing and is trying to help out people like you – purchasing the book may be the best move to make. This then puts you ahead of people in your industry because you are gaining knowledge they may not have because they didn’t get the book. However, both ways are beneficial.
Investing in yourself is major no matter what the age, you – yourself – are a craft. Taking the time to allow yourself to be the best you that you can be is one of the smartest decisions you can make.
In this post: “20 + Building a Brand” – I go into what I am doing personally, my opportunities, and the success I have had from investing in myself. This is a mini-series, so stay tuned!
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