Great Ways to Invest in Yourself
Most people are scared of investing because it involves risk. No matter how sure you are about a stock, mutual fund, or business opportunity, there’s always the chance that you could lose all your money.
And that’s scary.
So what if I told you there’s a way to invest with absolutely no risk? I can’t promise an exact return on the investment, but I guarantee it will always be positive.
It’s called investing in yourself.
I know it sounds cheesy, but when was the last time you learned something new made you a better employee or job candidate? Instead of trying to get rich by putting huge piles of your hard-earned money into a stock you think is going to go up, why not invest time and money into improving your skills and boosting your earning power? (See also: Best Investment: Yourself)
More skills can lead to a higher pay, more job opportunities, and added job security. Bonus — more skills also make you more interesting.
That sounds great, but how do you invest in yourself without going back to school and paying thousands of dollars for a degree?
Here are some ways you can invest in yourself to boost your skills.
Read a Book
Books are my favorite way of learning new things. Everything I learned about investing and personal finance I learned from reading books. I read everything I could get my hands on and became knowledgeable enough that I started my own site, The Writer’s Coin. I recommend I Will Teach You to Be Rich by Ramit Sethi to start.
Start a Blog/Site
When I started my site I did it because I felt I had something to say about personal finance. I had no idea it was going to teach me about networking, social media, SEO, entrepreneurship, CSS, and PHP, or that it would start to make real money for me. Bonus — blogging regularly will make you a better writer, and that’s an essential skill in the world today. Go to Wordpress.com and start your own blog today — it’s free!
Subscribe to a New Site
Learn what an RSS fee is. Then start adding new sites to your reader, and you’ll stay up to date on whatever topic you’re curious about. This is how I injected myself into the personal finance blogosphere.
Take a Course
There's a course for anything you can imagine out there. Whether it’s a local class to learn how to cook or an online course about computer programming, if you can think it, I guarantee someone out there is teaching it. You’ll meet new people, learn new skills, and broaden your horizons. Thanks to the Internet you can learn pretty much anything you can think of. iTunes U has tons of cool courses for free!
The best way to become an expert on something is to have deep knowledge of it and then try to teach it to others. It works your brain in a totally different (and good) way. Plus you’ll meet some interesting people. Pick a sport/instrument/topic you know a lot about and teach your niece/nephew/child a basic concept about it — you gotta start somewhere!
Learn a Language
This is easier said than done, but if your job requires a lot of travel or will be investing in another country soon, then another language might be essential. Tip — Duolingo is gonna be awesome.
Freelancing is a great way to get a taste of another job without leaving your current one. It’ll also teach you about handling clients, running a business, and marketing. Check out Craigslist or ask your friends if they need help with something.
Be Smart About the Skills You Learn
Don't expect your boss to give you a raise simply because you can say "hello" in French. Be smart about which skills you tackle and how they fit into your career plan. If your company just signed a major client from France, then go ahead. If you're doing it because you like Paris, it probably won't have an effect on your value to the company.