Investing in yourself is often the last option on our list, when starting a business.

I’ve been there, I get it.

Investing in fancy office, exotic retreat or high level business coach is not a priority as much as paying your taxes or business insurance.

But it’s called investing in yourself for a reason.

Expense is a cost, pure and simple. It’s usually a fixed amount so you know how much it is and you can budget for it.

Investment carries initial cost but than it continues to work for you.

A new laptop on it’s own is an expense. But it can be an investment if it means you work faster and get more done.

Please note, I’m not talking from bookkeeping point of view, so it’s not about a distinction between hard costs, amortisation and other boring, albeit necessary stuff.

I teach how to think differently about your business – so I only talk about how to change your own perception.

When you are an entrepreneur, startup or a small business owner there is a lot of pressing expenses and not enough budget to cover everything. Both time and money are usually scarce.

This morning on Periscope I talked about how to invest in yourself when you have no budget at all, but I know it’s easy to forget or dismiss, hence the post.

You can do all those literally on no budget, as there is no direct cost involved – but to grow your business, you need to invest in yourself first. 

Here are 5 examples that will make you happier, healthier and more productive:

  1. Sleep more. Simple as that. I know it’s the hardest ever  – I’m a serial offender myself, often working late and going sleep 2 am. Thing is, since kids wake up regardless if I had enough sleep or not – I’m often in zombie mode for the best part of the day. Since I tried to keep myself awake for so long, in the evening my brain sort of resets…and I work late again. I write my best post on little or no sleep, just as I aced university papers, so it’s very hard to break that self destructing habit.
  2. Drink more water. Start small, if it’s hard for you and you are a soda addict. I’m a lover of diet coke – but I drink less than a glass a week now. I almost exclusively drink mineral water, green tea and smoothies. Yes, it makes a difference. It’s the easiest swap ever – after some time, it won’t even taste as nice comparing to water.
  3. Create your morning routine. I know, again with that – but it really works. We are all so BUSY all the time, having a quiet time in the morning, just for you, your cup of tea or coffee makes all the difference and set the tone for the day. Consider it your pre-flight check, to make sure you don’t crush and burn later on in the day. You might want to start with yoga, journaling, meditation, running or simply standing outside in the garden soaking up the quietness of the house before kids wake up (pure bliss:)
  4. Take lunch breaks. The real ones, not a quick grab sandwich and checking Facebook. Best case scenario you go outside and have at least 15 min walk and you talk to real humans without any tech involved. Second best is walking and talking on the phone with a friend or a family.  Make sure you are away from the biz stuff. 30 min won’t kill your business, but constantly skipping lunch breaks is extremely detrimental to your health and wellbeing. Don’t be a worse boss to yourself than your last real one, right?
  5. Design your evening routine. Best days start, if you plan the night before. Clean your desk, email inbox, jot down your 3 most important tasks for tomorrow and you are set. Go to sleep earl so you have time for your morning routine and let the cycle of self improvement continue.

 

One last tip: Start small, but fancy.

All the above is as close to free as possible. This one might cost you little money. Basically, inspect your automatic purchases and see if you can skip it to invest the money into something you like more, but thought you can’t afford it. Rewarding yourself regularly is one of the best tactics to stay productive, especially if working on long term projects. I buy fancy notebooks and calendars, just upgraded my office chair to designer one I was eyeing in the shop for ages, since I work better form home than coffee shop anyway, I buy myself really nice teas. (Currently my favourite is a salted caramel green tea. It even sounds delicious:)

You might not have money to invest in yourself just yet – but you can slowly upgrade things , starting with those that frequently annoy you. My best advice is to invest in things that will have a lasting effect – like a good running shoes so you feel great during your morning workout. Or a one-off strategy session, so you don’t stumble in the dark for months.

We all have bad days. The entrepreneur funk hits all of us, even the productivity gurus. Put fail safe into your day, to make sure you start it in the best way possible, centred and full of energy and it might just do the trick and get you back into the flow.

Those tips seem obvious, and you probably know it already – but are you really doing it? I’ve been thinking about morning routine for a long time before I actually implemented it consistently. Small things make the biggest difference. And obvious things are easiest to ignore.

Start small, upgrade your morning to upgrade your day – and those investments are pay off nicely over time.

What is your morning routine?

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