You ARE your business. Investing in yourself IS investing in your business and should be viewed as a business strategy.
How you show up in your business and the impression you leave with potential clients whether having a phone conversation or a visit to your website helps them determine whether or not they think you’re a “good fit” or not when it comes to hiring a career professional.
Unfortunately, many business owners pass up professional development because their bank account can’t support the expense right now.
Hiring a virtual assistant, search engine optimization specialist, website designer, a new customer relationship management system, or getting email marketing software to streamline processes are investments and great ways to move your business forward. But, what I’m stressing here is you. What about you the person, the one who runs the show?
It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been in business, there’s always going to be something new to learn. Professional development events like industry conferences serve as perfect springboards to network. They offer many ways to build new relationships, expand your horizons, and pick up new ideas and strategies to implement when you get home.
Conferences also serve as an excellent way to recharge your batteries and getting out of the office setting, allowing you the opportunity to meet face-to-face with people you’ve only communicated with virtually. But what if you can’t just afford it right now?
If you’re in a financial position to go to a few conferences a year and get away from your office 3-5 days to attend each of them, kudos to you! But I know for some of you, travel costs added to registration and hotel costs just doesn’t make sense, especially when you consider the cost of missing time from work and opportunities of landing new clients.
It’s essential to keep up with the trends of your industry and not get left behind. You’ll not only provide better service to your clients, but you’ll also discover new ways of conducting business that will contribute to the overall growth and stability of your company.
Having limited funds or working on a shoestring budget should not stop you from developing professionally. It’s a matter of just getting creative.
Three simple ways you can invest in your own professional development WITHOUT spending a fortune!
- Read – Offline and offline. If prefer to get away from your screen, your local library can be your best friend; how else could you browse through all of the latest and greatest business books without spending a dime? And if you haven’t actually bought the book, you’ll be less tempted to keep reading if you’re not getting anything out of it. If you prefer to read online, use a feed reader to keep track of the bloggers you like to follow, and bookmark websites where you found good information.
- Listen – Some experts publish podcasts or other audio recordings that you can download and listen to when it’s convenient for you. Another way is accept invitations from business experts you follow or are connected with who offer free or low-cost training sessions or workshops via teleclasses or webinars.
- Share – Join or form a group of peers who are all committed to continuing education. Meet on a regular basis, with a loose agenda to share any of the learning you’ve done since the last meeting. By pooling together all of your efforts, you’ll create a powerful body of collective knowledge. The brainstorming sessions alone will generate lots of ideas and strategies. No doubt, you’ll take away a golden nugget or two from the meetings.