Business: Invest First or Profit First?

Uncategorized Jun 08, 2018

When I decided to become an Occupational Therapist, I didn’t decide I wanted to make money first and then do the training. That’s absurd. I did the training, then I used my training to make money.


When you start out in business though, you seem to think there are different rules. You tell yourself things like “I can’t pay for training, my business isn’t making any money yet…”


When we (my husband and I) realised this was an absurd mindset, our business started to take off. We realised that the skills we needed to get us here, weren't going to cut it to get us over there, to where we wanted to be. 


In fact, a lot of what we had learned at school and in our previous jobs, needed to be unlearned if we were going to make it in business!


We paid for training, so we could become the people capable of having a successful business. The investment wasn't always in business training, it was in our own personal development because we strongly believe that your business is a reflection of YOU. 


We had no desire for another 4-year degree. We chose non-traditional training - online training, coaching and mentoring. While many people thought we were crazy, we invested in training even when we had no money.


There was a time when we had no money, so we paid for training on credit cards, and then paid it off.


There was a time I remember clearly when our kids were tiny and we were down to our last $5K and had a young family to feed. We were pretty freaking scared, but we took that last $5K and invested it in training.


Why? Because our business is what was feeding our family (and our souls), and we couldn’t get to the next level without learning more, becoming more. You can only get so far with the information and way of BEing you currently have.


Further, we have always had total confidence that we can live on a shoestring, and we have all the skills we need to deal with life’s challenges. We’d survive and grow, together even if we had to live in a tent for a while (which so far, thank goodness, we never have).


I’m not suggesting this path is right for everyone. Don't go out and blow the last of your hard earned money on training if it is not right for you. Be very careful, particularly online about how alluring the carefully crafted marketing pitches can be, despite the investment not being ideal for you. These marketers can really draw you in by touching on ALL of your pain points and then promise you the world (often via testimonials) in three easy (bullshit) steps, and then tell you that if you're not having the promised success it must be because you're not being coachable, or because you're not taking enough action, rather than any deficit in their training package.


If there is one thing I'm sure of, it's that this business life is a long-game, and if there is one thing that kills creativity and creates a shed load of stress (not the motivating kind), it’s wondering whether or not you’ll be able to pay the bills.


There is no one right way for everyone, but investing in ourselves and our business was right for us. We’ve always been in it for the long game, and the passion for us is in the process and the personal growth, not just in the outcome or the business growth.


I just read one of Seth Godin’s blog posts. It says “It's tempting to decide to make a profit first, then invest in training, people, facilities, promotion, customer service and most of all, doing important work.


In general, though, it goes the other way.”


I concur, Seth. I concur.


I'd love to hear what you have to say about the order of business, to invest in training first, or to make a profit first. Join the conversation over here in this post. 


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