I wanted to start off today’s post on how to succeed in life with a great quote by billionaire investor Warren Buffet that many of you have probably heard,
“The most important investment you can make is in yourself”
Looking at the brief history of my personal finances, I used to work a minimum wage job for multiple years. As a result, I found myself being very frugal with my spending, even on cheap things like food. I still suffer from this a bit. I am a young university student who doesn’t have a ton of money in my bank account to spend. However, I have gotten better with this, and with managing my overall expenses. To give you a couple examples of how cheap I was:
- Instead of buying coffee at Starbucks or even Tim Hortons, I would get my coffee at 7 Eleven, just to save a buck
- I would find the cheapest watering holes when I went out to bars with my friends, trying to keep each drink under $5
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DABBLING WITH DIFFERENT RESOURCES
When I was 18 years old, I started to discover a lot of self-help strategies out there teaching me how to succeed in life. I remember spending hours going through forums and other free resources on the internet. Even though I spent a lot of time doing this, I had information being thrown at me from all angles. I found myself being distracted by different perspectives out there. I never really came up with a concrete plan of action to address my goals.
For example, I was looking into a lot of psychological resources online, including some social anxiety advice and stuff for my mental health. This is obviously not the most reliable resource. If I really had a problem, I should be investing in professional psychology counseling, a coach, or a tangible course. This would help me make progress with my goals and avoid dabbling with different kinds of resources.
However, this past October, I took my progress more seriously and invested in a social anxiety support group. It did involve spending money, and it was not cheap. A lot of the cost was not covered by my insurance. But I had no problem spending money to learn how to succeed in life. It was an investment in myself – in my own development, and it has potential to provide me long term benefits instead of instant gratification.
Another example is that I used to spend a lot of money on clothes and alcohol. Some nights out, I would spend as much as $50 on drinks. This is ridiculous since it only provides me benefits for a couple hours and has no future benefits.
In terms of business, when I was trying to learn more about online marketing, I spent a lot of time going through free Udemy courses and YouTube videos. Udemy is a great platform to find starter courses that teach you how to succeed in life. However, a lot of the courses are of cheaper value, and you get what you pay for. A lot of the courses can be accessed for free and are lower quality than other courses you can find online. About a year was spent doing this, but I didn’t get anywhere with it. I never made any money, or even set up a blog, YouTube channel, or social media accounts. I didn’t know where to start. I had “analysis paralysis” because I was taking in so much information.
Yet another example of my frugal spending is when I went to a Toastmasters open house 2 years ago at my university. If I was totally honest with myself, I would have joined Toastmasters. I needed to improve my leadership and communication skills. Even though I had no problem with the group, I did not join because it involved me filling out a registration form and spending money on membership fees. However, this past year, I was honest with myself, and I ended up joining. I had no issues spending the money. I saw the growth benefits that could show me how to succeed in life.
These are some core examples of how I’ve gone from a frugal spender who avoided things that could provide long-term benefits for myself (yet spending my money on nights out and food) to a logical spender.
EXPENSIVE = HIGHER VALUE
One important thing to emphasize is that the best value you are going to find is in things that are on the expensive side. I’m not saying that all things that are expensive (and potentially overpriced) will provide you with the value equivalent to the price. However, you are going to have to spend a certain amount of money to get the value that is associated with that. There is no quick fix when it comes to time or money.
For example, I attended a 3-day live event this past year on how to build an online business. Live events are great. There was the chance to network with other online entrepreneurs, learn some advanced strategies, and I did get a lot of value out of it. There was an initial 2-hour presentation that I attended and they had an upsell at the end where you would spend money to attend this 3-day live event. I was one of the first people in the room to stand up and register. I thought,
“Wow, this is it. I’m going to fulfill my dream here. This is going to be the moment that I start an online business”
I spent around $750. When I went to the event, I received a lot of value. However, I left the event not getting the tangible advice I was looking for. While I had a lot of advanced strategies like how to use ClickFunnels and how to set up ad campaigns, I still didn’t know how to actually get my online business up and running.
KNOWING WHAT I NEEDED TO TAKE ACTION
In the middle and at the end of the event, they offered upsells that were very pricey (in the $10,000+ range) which would give me the tangible advice that I needed. But, I wasn’t willing to spend that much. I don’t have that much money out of my pocket, and I wasn’t comfortable spending at that level.
After the event, I decided to invest in a course that wasn’t THAT expensive but could still offer me the value I was searching for. I invested over $1000 in the Affiliate Marketing Mastery program. So far, it has given me the step by step instruction I was looking for. Since joining the program, I have started my blog, my YouTube channel, and started to grow a following. The important thing is that it helped me TAKE ACTION, instead of relying on bits of information from different resources to teach me how to succeed in life.
As you can see, it took a lot of spending to get me to where I wanted to be, even on an event that didn’t work out as expected. Sometimes, that is what it takes.
ESTABLISHING A BUDGET FOR MYSELF
When you consider investing in yourself, make sure that you know your budget, but don’t be too frugal. Because I knew my budget, I wasn’t comfortable spending over $10,000 on the upsell at the live event. I’m not willing to go into debt, while others are willing to go to that level. As self-help guru Tony Robbins said,
“If you want to take the island then burn your boats. With absolute commitment come the insights that create real victory”
Others go into debt to give themselves no other option but to know how to succeed in life; there is no way out. Personally, it isn’t what I want to do, as I am 21 years old and still in school. That is why I settled on Affiliate Marketing Mastery. It is still expensive enough to offer high value but is within my budget.
CUT DOWN ON USELESS EXPENSES
I also believe in cutting down on useless expenses as I said earlier. Just as time management is important, so is money management. Instead of going out twice a weekend, go out once. Or if you do go out, don’t spend money. You don’t necessarily need alcohol to have fun in a loud environment (read my blog post on how to get into a social state easily). You can choose a cheaper place to eat, or even have a night in. There are ways around this.
PRIORITIZE YOUR SPENDING TO KNOW HOW TO SUCCEED IN LIFE
At the end of the day, you need to evaluate what is most important to you. If you truly want to learn how to succeed in life in a certain area, free resources can help to some extent. But if you want some real value to help you make progress on your goals at a good pace, then you need to invest in yourself.
Try not to view it as something that might not work out or could be a waste of money. If it doesn’t work out then so what? You get a better idea of what you need next on your journey to success. Plus, you still get some value that can be used down the road. You will get the potential for some rewarding long-term returns that you can’t get by buying clothes.
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