Training or learning something new is probably not something you either have the time or money to do.  I completely understand.  As a woman bootstrapping a business, while working full-time, while raising children, while paying for kids in college, I completely understand the sentiment.

What I also understand, is that you need to invest in yourself and your ability to run a successful business.

I attended a conference and one of the speakers stated we needed to invest 10% of our business revenue on training (or maybe it was income).  Whichever one of these applies, use it.

Think about it, 10% of our income should be reinvested into ourselves! 

I realize this may be hard to reconcile.  I had a hard time with it.  How do you spend 10% of your earnings on training when you need to pay housing, car payments, health insurance, childcare?  The list of bills seems endless.

What if you just invest 1% to start with.  Working full-time earning $10 an hour (just over minimum wage), would mean you would invest $4 a week, $16 a month or $208 a year. 

You have to believe you are worth investing 1% of what you earn on yourself!

The internet is filled with places for you to learn. Here are a few free and not so free options for training.

Here are a few of my favorite resources:

Creative Live – This company founded by Chase Jarvis, a photographer, is all about creatives.  There are classes on photography, business, writing, etc.  You will also find blog posts on the site.  You can catch the classes free while they are filming them live or randomly during the year. You can also purchase the classes so you can come back to them at anytime.  I have both purchased and used the live streaming.  The live-streaming is free!  So, there is no excuse to not learn something new.

Local Art Centers, Museums and Community Colleges – most have a weekend or a class in the evening.  In my local area there are multiple art centers which offer classes in pottery, painting, photography,  Beyond just the class, it gives you a community of like-minded people.

YouTube – Do a search on YouTube for you subject.  I guarantee you will find something new to learn.  People post all sorts of tutorials.  I follow a couple of photographers and I get both inspired and learn something new from both.  It is free to watch, unless the commercials bother you and you upgrade your YouTube account. 

Books – I’m a bit old school and love books.  I also have a Kindle I use almost daily, but if I want to really learn something, I buy a real book.  I like to highlight and write in the margins.  Books are an inexpensive way to learn something.  Usually for under $20 I can get someone else’s view or learn about someone inspiring.  Pretty cheap way to learn.  Want to do it cheaper, borrow the books from your local library for free.

Podcasts –  I tend to listen to business/creative oriented podcasts.  But there are a ton of them out there to listen to for free.  Listen to them while you commute to work, taking back time which would normally bother you when you are stuck in traffic.

Conferences –  There are a ton of conferences, year round you can attend.  Conferences cover a little bit of everything and typically have speakers who have worked in the industry for years.  You can do a search to find one which fits your niche.  Here is a blog post I found with a  great list.

You could spend your whole yearly budget on a single conference.  So, make sure you find out everything you can about the conference.  Has someone posted information about what they learned at it.  How specifically will they be getting into what you need to learn.  Have a plan for what you want to take away from a conference.  And remember, the conference fee is just a small portion of what you will be spending, you may have a flight, hotel and meals which you need to pay for. 

If the conference fee is too high, see if you can volunteer for some portion of it and get a discounted or free fee.  Just know if you do this, you will lose out on seeing some of the conference. So, make sure it makes sense after spending your travel money to lose out on something you wanted to learn.

This post started with the statement “you should spend 10% of your income” on self-improvement.  Then it provided lots of free ways to learn and a few more expensive ways to learn.  You need to decide how you learn best and what you have the time to do.

Whatever you do, make sure you know you deserve to be invested in.  You were not created to play small in this world.  Go learn and then go back out and teach others what you learned.


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