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Have you ever bought a book with all the information that you needed, and then put it on the shelf? Never actually getting to the part of reading the book?  It’s as if somehow the act of buying the book would take care of the problem.

But it never does.

There is a big difference between just spending money and investing in yourself, and your business.  Investing implies, no actually… it demands that there be a return for the money that you have put forth.

As you know, when you set intentions and become clear about what you want, and expect and intend to see as a return, the more likely you are to receive exactly what you are after.

When I learned how to invest in myself,  my business took off. All the money that I spent in photography, in branding myself and in education and coaching, has very specific intentions and outcomes in mind.

When I started investing in photographing my work,  my intention was to have a photo that could win a local ASID award and be published in the local Home and Garden magazine. And that is exactly what happened. As a result,  I also increased my “celebrity” in the community and had a great piece for my portfolio. All these things combined attracted new high-end clients to my business.

Another investment that I made (not an expense) is my branding; it is my printed materials, portfolio and website, and it is “my personal look.” This is the polished way I present my business to a client, even my clothes, accessories and grooming. In my studio business, I have a great deal of intention around first impressions because I want win over that new client immediately.

The most important investment that I make on a regular basis is in education and coaching. This is what has really pushed my business ahead. I find programs and opportunities that teach me what I want to know next. To be cost effective, many of these opportunities are by phone or by webinar and I approach each one with a specific intention of what I want out of the experience, and what I am going to do with it in my business.

I personally am a lifetime learner. If I find one “gem” in a seminar I am happy. Most often there are many A-haa’s that allow me to attract new clients or discover ways to make way more money out of a job opportunity.

Here are three simple steps to help you judge if you are just spending, or you are making an investment in your self and your career.

Step #1 – What is the information that is available for me in this opportunity?

Is this information something that I can use right now? How will I apply it?
Will it generate income?

This first step implies that I am making a commitment to take action with the things that I will learn and that this is a priority in my life. An investment is something that I may make use of now. I am making a commitment NOT to put the information away in a file and forget about it. I know how I am going to use it.

Step #2 – What do I specifically intend to learn about right now that will change or add income to my business?  

I always set an intention about learning one main topic, and then I add two more things that I would like to know as well.

The result is, I always receive the main intention and very often I get all three.
The clearer I am about the outcome that I want, the more likely I am to get what I am after.

Step #3 – What do I intend to receive for a return?  

Or how many new clients and how much income will it take to make this a good investment?

My answer is usually ONE!  One good client is worth thousands of dollars to my business over a period of years. And as they continue to work with me, the numbers get into many, many thousands of dollars.

ONE editorial piece published with my room photo, and a story about how the client and I worked together to create her dream room that expresses so many things about her life is PRICELESS. You can’t buy this, you can only set the intention and do the work to create the scenario that can make it happen.

The power of ONE is amazing!

Next time a learning opportunity presents itself, use these three steps to analyze the situation.  Ask yourself… is it just an expense or is it a great investment opportunity for your business or your life?

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