Begin investing in yourself and you’ll be amazed at the change. Personal and business development are one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself and your business. Successful people are constantly investing in themselves in a variety of ways, here are some that could work for you.
“Books showed me there were possibilities in life, that there were actually people like me living in a world I could not only aspire to but attain. Reading gave me hope. For me, it was the open door.” Oprah Winfrey
Here is an outline of some of the low cost and free ways you can develop yourself.
Conferences and exhibitions
This can be a great way to not only develop yourself but also network with other people who are taking an active interest in their businesses and themselves. A few conferences that you might be interested in include Breakthrough to Success with Christopher Howard; the Women’s Mastermind Conference in the Midlands in April, Sharing Connections – Sharing Success put on by the North London Chamber of Commerce at the end of January and of course our own Create your Future conference for Women in business in London this March.
There are many ways that you can start investing in yourself. The second is probably the most obvious…
Pick up a book
Reading is such a powerful low cost way to get expertise that would be very difficult or expensive to get in any other way. Odds are there is an expert that has published a book on almost any subject that you can think of and these can quickly and easily give you the tools that you need to succeed. Some of the books that we recommend include Get Clients Now! by CJ Hayden, Find your lightbulb by Mike , and the Success Principles by Jack Canfield.
The rolling university
Unfortunately with two kids and two businesses to run, I don’t always have time to read a book (and sadly most of the ones I do will be business related these days). So, to keep up I have adopted Brian Tracey’s concept of a rolling university. The idea behind the rolling university is that every time you get in the car you should listen to motivational CD’s or audio books, so I have applied this to other aspects of my life as well including working out at the gym, walking to the shops or taking a journey on the train or tube. I think of many of the authors that I listen to as mentors as they can open my mind to new ways of thinking and new concepts. Many of my favourites I’ll listen to over and over again.
“I began my studies with eagerness. Before me I saw a new world opening in beauty and light, and I felt within me the capacity to know all things.” Helen Keller
Podcasts are another fantastic way to learn new things as there is so much great free information out there. Not all podcasts are found via Itunes. You will frequently find audio files on personal development sites that are really high quality. I think Itunes is the only way to go when looking for podcasts as it is such an easy interface and you can also see reviews and the popularity of different podcasts.
Some of my favourite podcasts are Internet Business Mastery for internet business skills, Small business podcast for inspiration & motivation, the BNI podcast from Ivan Misner for networking tips and the Beermat Entrepreneur podcasts from Mike Southon.
Video killed the radio star
You tube has become a fantastic resource for free advice and content. Most people think of it as only for fun, but these days it can be used for practical business advice as well as an opportunity to take a comedy break. Using the keyword search will bring up videos from some of your favourite personal development gurus and industry experts. You would be surprised who is using You Tube these days as a method of promoting themselves and their business.
Workshops and Seminars
An obvious one perhaps, but learning in a group environment can often exponentially increase your success. Reading is all well and good, but having an expert on hand to directly ask questions from can accelerate your learning. Practical learning often requires role plays and focus to really bed itself down as a skill.
In the UK we are really lucky that there are some many low cost and free ways of gaining skills. Many of the Chambers of Commerce offer free courses in business management and planning, The British Library Business and IP Centre also offer low cost courses and many of the Business Link courses are free. It’s worth signing up to the newsletters of these organisations to find out what is coming up.
Who is your mentor?
Mentoring is a great way to learn from experts who have been there before. A mentoring programme can be either formal or informal and can be both peer to peer as well as developmental. Many people find that the process of mentoring is as much as development opportunity for them as being mentored. Rockstar Group, have a fantastic mentoring programme that can be both face to face and over the telephone. Fresh Ideas is holding a mentoring competition in May of this month, and you can enter the competition here.
Coaching for success
A coach can become your greatest asset if you are committed and dedicated to the process. For coaching to succeed it requires time and action from you as the coachee for it to succeed. Quite often it is the things that feel most uncomfortable that are the areas that need to be most worked on.
It is very important that you are able to connect with your coach and their style resonates with you. By this, I’m not stating that you need to be best friends, but their style of communication needs to work for you without causing friction. I have had a few different coaching experiences with varying success and have found that to generate results I need someone who really holds me to account rather than letting me get away with not delivering. But the style of coach that works for me, may not be the style of coach that works for you.
If you are considering using a coach, many will offer a free coaching session to assess the fit between you. It is worth taking this up to see if it works for you. Women Unlimited have partnered with Hazel Walker of Redbird coaching to offer 4 free coaching sessions for Women who are in their first 6 months of business.
It doesn’t matter what you do, just do something!
Investing in yourself is one of the most important gifts you can give yourself. Learning promotes growth. It is helps your brain create new pathways and ways of thinking and can help you find solutions to problems that have been with you for a long time. Continuously learning new things will help you become open to take on things you didn’t think you could do before. So dedicate some time to yourself – you are worth it!