About two years ago, I found myself frustrated.
I had been at the entrepreneurial game for 8 years at that point, and I still just didn't feel like I was "making it".
I was working countless hours.
I was making OK money, but not nearly what I had hoped for.
And I ultimately just felt like I should be doing better than I was.
You see, I had read all the business books.
I had studied all of the courses.
I felt like I "knew" everything about how to run a great business.
But then I looked at my reality and WTF was all that came to mind...
My results were not there.
In my head, I had the ego of a multi-million dollar business owner.
But in reality, I was a floundering consultant on an up-and-down roller coaster.
There was a gap between what I believed I was capable of and my reality.
In this article, I am going to share with you how I have started to close that gap.
Invest in yourself
People consistently ask what is "the secret" or "special sauce" that helped me finally find success in entrepreneurship.
While that is a loaded question, there is one thing that I would point to over anything else.
The key to my growth has been that I have been investing in myself.
Seriously, that is the one distinctive thing that I did differently at the start of Lead Cookie versus every other failed venture I have tried over the years.
And every other change I made in my life, which impacted my results, stems from that.
The day I started Lead Cookie, I hired Alex McClafferty as my business coach. I started working with him before I even had our first paying customer when it was still just in a conceptual form.
And as I shared in my previous blog post about working with Alex, this literally leveled me up as an entrepreneur in every possible way.
Now, for you and your situation, Alex may or may not be the right coach.
But what I want to hammer home to you is that you need to invest in yourself.
And I'm not just talking about buying more books that sit on your shelf that you don't read.
I'm talking about dropping some cash that makes you feel uncomfortable.
I'm talking about spending the kind of money that is going to make your spouse say "What the hell?"
It's scary to do, but when you put out a financial commitment like this to someone, a few things happen.
Investing in yourself calls you to action
When you finally drop some cash for a training program or coach that is going to level you up, it is a commitment to yourself.
There is countless research that shows that the more someone pays for something, the more they value it. This is equally true of training and coaching services.
I've known Alex for years and have hit him up for advice many times before he decided to become an actual business coach.
But here's the thing. I never actually followed any of his advice until I started paying him...
When you put money on the table, it calls you to take action.
Investing in yourself is a commitment to grow
Whenever you make an investment in yourself, it is calling you to grow. In a sense, you have to in order to be able to pay for the investment.
This past week, I signed up for Seth Godin's altMBA. It's an investment that is costing me $3,850.
While I can afford this, it's still a pretty large investment for me at this point.
And so I make the investment and put in the down payment, knowing that I now have to step-up to produce the profits in the business to afford this program.
The same is true when I choose to hire new team members. I'm investing in them because I know they are going to provide me freedom that will enable me to grow the business and afford them.
Making investments in yourself is scary, but it's essential for growth.
As an entrepreneur, you are your #1 asset
One of the best concepts I have learned around this topic recently is the idea that you are your #1 asset.
This concept comes from Garret J. White, the founder of Wake Up Warrior, which is one of the training programs that I invest in.
The concept is simple.
Most people who are employees at other companies make a flat salary, and then their best option is to take their earnings and put those into stocks and safe investments that will grow over their career.
As an entrepreneur, putting all of your money into stocks is actually a pretty horrible investment.
Think about this...
What is going to give you a better return as an entrepreneur.
$5,000 that you put into safe stock investments that generate 5-10% per year growth...
Or $5,000 that you put into a training program that levels you up as an entrepreneur.
Let's just look at this math for a second.
If you put $5,000 into stocks, you would make $500 this year. And then compounding interest after that.
Now let's look at the other side and the actual reality...
When I hired Alex, I paid him roughly $4,500 for our first 6 months of coaching. (Note: this was two years ago before he was actually doing this, so his rates have gone up.)
So I put ~$4,500 into training and coaching with Alex.
In the 16 months prior to investing with Alex and other training programs:
My business had generated a total revenue of $261,891.
I had taken home a total of $108,495.
In the 20 months after investing with Alex and other training programs:
Lead Cookie has generated total revenues of $646,694.
I have taken home a total of $149,173.
So let's compare that math real quick.
Before starting to invest in myself:
$16,368 was my average monthly revenue.
$6,780 was my average monthly take home income.
After starting to invest in myself:
$32,334 has been the average MRR over the last 20 months (though we are over $65k today).
$7,458 has been my average take home amount. (This has recently raised significantly, but I ran the business in a highly unprofitable way for the first 8 months, which skews this number downward. But that is a story for a future blog post...)
I share these numbers to bring up a point.
I could have taken that $5,000 and put it into my Roth IRA. That probably would have made my parents happy because it is the safe and conservative thing to do. 🙂
But instead, I invested that into programs and coaches that developed me as a person.
Instead of getting $500 per year on the higher end...
I saw an average growth of $678 per month.
That's over a 12x ROI vs investing into the safe stock options.
Investing in yourself has compound effects
All of the math I just showed you is hopefully somewhat convincing that investing in yourself is worth it.
But those numbers don't even tell the full story.
My entire life has improved as a result of investing in myself.
My business provides significantly more freedom.
I have entirely new levels of certainty and confidence.
And I am making big moves that are going to make the numbers above look like nothing in comparison to where my businesses will be at in the coming years.
Today Lead Cookie is at $65k MRR.
My personal income is well upwards of $10k per month, which was my goal for years as an entrepreneur.
This would not even have been possible if I tried to do this all on my own.
Not a chance in freaking hell.
Sure, I would have still grown and developed, but I would not have achieved what I have done today without investing in myself.
Your business is a reflection of you
There is another great analogy from Garret J. White that stuck with me.
He talks about going to the gym and working with a weight lifting coach on his front squat.
He goes up there and keeps trying to do this front squat and fails.
He asks his coach what is going on and where he is screwing up in his form.
His coach says, "It's simple. You aren't strong enough."
This is what investing in yourself does.
It makes you stronger as a person, a leader, and an entrepreneur.
It lets you carry heavier loads, without even flinching.
And only when you are capable of handling more, can your business handle more.
If you don't grow as a person, your business will remain stagnate.
Simply put, the things that you did to get you where you are today are not going to get your business to the next level.
You will hit plateaus of stagnation along the way.
And each time you do, it is going to require you to grow as a person to break through that plateau.
If you stagnate, so will your business.
The bottom line... Invest in yourself
I don't have a coaching program to sell you.
I don't do consulting.
Someday in the future I may, but not today.
I'm sharing this with you because this was a game changer for me.
You are reading this blog because I chose to invest in myself.
It's going to be uncomfortable.
It's going to be scary.
But investing in yourself is the best investment you can ever make.