When most people think of investments, they tend to think of the stock-market, of purchasing properties, and of contributing to an IRA. You know that investing is important for your bottom-line, but what you might not realize is that the most important thing to invest in is yourself.
Yes, we know that sounds like a self-help guru’s cheesy pick-up line. But the fact remains that you are your own most valuable asset, and leveling up your personal skill sets can one of the most effective ways to boost your career or increase your side hustle’s income.
Most people leave the books behind them once they graduate. But the fact is, continuing to educate yourself will benefit you long after you no longer fit into your college sweatpants. And in today’s internet age, life-long learning is easier than ever.
Not sure where to start? Here are nine ways to invest in yourself and learn something new this year.
1) Read More
The benefits of reading often are numerous. Reading enhances connectivity in your brain, slows cognitive aging, helps reduce stress, improves focus, and — you guessed it — helps you learn. There are so many great things out there to read, which means you really have no excuse.
Besides reading fiction, you should also add some great non-fiction to your reading repertoire. Pick up a book related to your career or side hustle. Find a few blogs online to follow. Subscribe to a magazine (or two) in a niche you’d like to learn about. The options are endless.Books train your imagination to think BIGGER! #SideHustle #Read #ThinkBigger Click To Tweet
2) Take Online Courses
Taking courses outside of college has never been easier. There are many programs online that offer affordable courses in various subjects. Sites like Udemy and Lynda are great resources. A lot of universities also offer free, non-credit online courses — you can even take classes from Ivy League schools like John Hopkins or Harvard.
3) Find a Community Education Program in Your Area
Many cities offer community education programs. These programs can be offered through a school district, local college, or even your library. Your local library is a good place to go to find out if any such program is offered in your area.
Community education programs generally offer affordable classes in subjects such as professional development, life skills (like cooking), and creative pursuits (like painting or pottery making).
4) Find a Business Coach or Mentor
There’s nothing quite like getting personalized, one-on-one help. Perhaps one of the best ways to do this is to invest in a business coach or a mentor. A coach or mentor will be able to work with you to help you learn the best ways to become more successful in your career or side hustle. There are a lot of ways to find coaches or mentors. Perhaps the best way is through your personal network. Alternatively, you could reach out to someone you admire and simply ask them if they would be willing to mentor you.
If neither of those routes work, you can also find mentors and coaches online. Many come with a steep price tag, so be prepared to pay. Though it may seem silly to pay for a personal business coach, if you can afford it, a coach can be an invaluable resource.A mentor is someone who enables you to see the infinite hope inside of yourself. #SideHustle #Mentorship Click To Tweet
5) Attend Workshops or Seminars
Many places offer free (or affordable) workshops and seminars. Local workshops and seminars are a good way to be exposed to ideas or topics that you might not otherwise think to learn about. Look for them at a local college/university, or your local library.
6) Use Your Local Library
Libraries are great resources, and they are often underrated. Obviously, your local library is the perfect place to check out free books, magazines, or videos, but there are other things your library can offer you as well. Many libraries host activities and events, lectures, workshops, and seminars, among other things. Beyond being a hub for educational activities and resources, libraries are also a great place to hook into your local community and find out what is happening in your area. Chances are, if there are educational programs going on in your city, your librarian will know about it.
7) Watch YouTube
Sure, you could spend hours mindlessly watching cute kitten videos and laughing babies … but there is so much more to YouTube. Try typing the topic you’d like to study into YouTube’s search bar, and get ready to learn.Do you ever go on YouTube thinking you'll just watch a quick silly video, then 5 hrs later you find yourself watching a tutorial on how to talk to giraffe? #SideHustle #YouTubeEducation Click To Tweet
8) Listen to Podcasts
There are so many great podcasts out there, just waiting for you to give them a listen! Podcasts are unique because you can listen to them in almost any situation — while you are driving, during your daily bus ride, or even while you do the dishes. Any small bit of time can be turned into a productive learning session with podcasts!
And you thought “not having the time” was a good excuse.
9) Go Back To School
When all else fails, go back to school. It may be expensive, but obtaining a new degree or certificate can really take your career or side hustle to the next level. If you aren’t able to uproot your life and move to the school you want to attend, check to see if they have any online programs. Obtaining an online education is becoming more and more viable, and many schools are now offering 100% online degrees. Take advantage of this.
There are, of course, many other ways to invest in yourself and increase your potential. Taking the time a little self care, for example, will do wonders for your productivity. Learning stress management techniques, picking up a new hobby, exercising regularly and eating well — all these things will ultimately benefit your career or side hustle.
This year, whether it be by taking a few free courses online, finally getting that Master’s degree, or even just committing to getting those 8 hours of sleep — set aside some time (and even money) to invest in yourself. Trust us. It will be worth it.