Standing here on the edge of 2018, I’m really excited about the year that’s to come.
I’m getting married in June. I have a few trips planned in addition to a honeymoon and a list of goals I’m excited to tackle. I can’t wait to spend more time with my friends and deepen those relationships that mean the most to me.
I just hired my first team member for my business and my goal is to ramp her up to full-time employee before the end of the year. And I’m excited to launch a huge new branch of the business, CAM School, an educational platform that covers inbound marketing tactics and strategies.
Eric’s business is growing like crazy, too, and I love expanding the role I play in making that happen (as his unofficial Chief Marketing Officer).
The future is blazing bright. I really think we’re on the verge of something huge, and as a result, I feel full of buzzy energy.
But I’m also hovering right over feeling anxious as hell and scared to death because it’s only the time I’ve had to choose to invest my money not in the market, but in the untapped potential of something that feels far more uncertain: myself.
Turns Out, Investing in Myself Is Scary AF
I looked over the financials for my business today. The money that will hit in December is enough to cover my taxes and to pay my business bills. It’s also enough to cover my personal expenses.
There isn’t enough, however, to contribute to savings and investments. Unless a last-minute flurry of invoices gets paid, this will be the first month I’ve not contributed something to savings since I started saving.
I’ve always found some way to save a few bucks — even if it meant living off Ramen noodles I found in the pantry (or that I found in my parent’s pantry and took home with me). Part of me feels like a failure for not managing it this time.
But some other part of me, some distant small part that struggles to really make itself heard over the shouting of the fear-driven lizard-brain that is shrieking about how we’re all gonna end up in a box by the side of the road because just this once I didn’t save anything during the month… well, that distant small part of me is saying, but you did invest.
Just in a different place.
I know the reason I don’t have any cash available for saving is because I doubled my normal business expenses through hiring someone for the business. There are flashes of time — like a full 5 seconds at most — where I can acknowledge, this is an investment.
By hiring my team member, Jenna, I’ve been able to:
- Better structure my services
- Set up systems that can support growth
- Standardize my pricing
- Find ways to better communicate value to prospective clients
- Free up more time — and most importantly, mental space — to work on CAM School, which could be an enormous driver of growth and revenues in 2018
All this happened in just one month. In January, the priority is setting Jenna up to handle all the bookkeeping and accounting that needs to happen on our end and handling all outbound communications and sales.
That is going to be a complete gamechanger, because it means no more turning away prospective clients simply because I don’t have the time to meet with them an onboard them. It means being able to actively market the firm (whereas up til this point, I did basically nothing to market because I was at my own personal capacity). It means freeing up even more mental space for me to work on high-profit activities.
It also means giving me more leverage to work on Beyond Your Hammock, and as Eric constantly reminds me, it’s about our household revenues, not just mine. Driving growth for his business is just the same as driving growth to mine in the end.
…but even as I type out all these reasons that hiring someone and investing in the business in a tangible way (i.e., in cash), I’m wondering if I’m making it all up.
Like these are excuses, or justifications, for my bad decision to invest in myself and in my business rather than in something that I believe in: capitalism and the stock market.
I just can’t get myself to fully see, to truly believe, that this investment in myself isn’t just a waste of money. Which is crazy, because now that I think about it, you know what?
I went into 2017 in the middle of the biggest investment in myself I had ever made.
The Last Time I Took a Terrifying Financial Leap… How’d It Go?
Last time this year, I had been working with a life coach for a few months. I had a few months to go — and at the end of our relationship, I had paid $10,000 for the engagement.
Yup. $10,000 for 6 months of life coaching.
Which is insane. It was also the best money I ever spent.
In fact, when my coach, Anna Tsui, ended up moving from Boston to Dallas, she threw a going-away party. Before we left, someone came up to us and asked if we’d say a few nice words to send her off on her next big adventure.
I agreed, and ended up getting in front of a room full of 30+ people intending to share a heartfelt, eloquent little speech. It was heartfelt, for sure, but as soon as I started speaking I burst into tears because I was that overwhelmed with gratitude for this woman.
All I could choke out was, “you changed my life. You gave me my life. I owe everything to you. Thank you.”
I meant it then and I meant it today. Working with Anna was the best thing I have ever done.
That was the first time I made a decision to put money into an investment that wasn’t the stock market. And knowing what I know now, I’d probably exchange every single cent in my brokerage account for what I gained through my time in coaching.
From that perspective, spending $10,000 was an absolute steal.
And to think about it now… well, gives me a little more confidence about being on the brink of making a big investment in myself (again). And it’s the right decision (again).
Nothing Is Without Risk, and the Risks We Take Define Who We Are
Of course, everything could go to shit tomorrow.
That is what 99 percent of my mind would have me believe right now. By if I do a gut check, there’s nothing but calm and confidence and a certainty that I am on the right path.
I’m a skeptical person, but I’ve learned to trust my gut. It knows what’s up.
And you know what? No investment — in fact, nothing in life — is without risk. Everything could always go to shit tomorrow, regardless of how secure you feel in the moment.
I guess I’d rather go down because I bet on myself and left it all on the field, than go down even after playing it safe and avoiding what I feel called and compelled to do.
There’s always a Plan B (and plans C through Z, for that matter). At the end of the day, I know there’s always something I can do.
If I’m going to take a risk, making a bet on myself, at this point in my life — well, that’s the risk I want to take. I don’t think 2018 is going to be great. I think I’m going to make it great.
How about you?