I like to tell people the story of my humble beginnings in cookie decorating. It was the recession of 2011. I quit my job as a teacher a year earlier when we moved to a new part of our state. I wanted nothing more than to be the primary caregiver for our small kids and things weren’t working out so well financially. I started cookie decorating with little more than $20 in my pocket. The investment was small. I used cutters from the small collection I already had, rolled my dough thin, and hoped and prayed for the best. There is no greater will than that of a desperate mother.
As my small business grew, so did my investments. One by one they came; a kitchenmaid mixer, a pico projector, an airbrush machine, boxes in bulk, baking trays, storage systems, more cutters, edible dusts and glitters, edible pens, table and chairs for my classes, camera, lighting system for photography, more cookie cutters…And while these things were necessary investments, they didn’t radically change the trajectory of my business or me.
Most people would agree that everything that's worth anything takes investing in. Some obvious examples are your relationships, health, children, education, business and yes, even you. If you want to see something develop, grow, and thrive you must tend to and invest in it.
Not a single one of those business investments took my decorating cookies to crazy, unexpected places. Do you know what did? Investing in myself. It’s sounds totally cliche, I agree, but hear me out. I was not that goal driven girl who dreamed big, had vision or thought through more than the next few weeks, that is, until I started investing in myself.
Investing in yourself is life changing in the BEST possible way.
Before investing in myself and my business, I was uninspired and unfocused. I couldn't see 2 feet in front of my face and had no idea how to do what I knew I could do.
I started small. And in fact, it really wasn’t super intentional in the beginning…it just kind of happened after spending the upteenth lonely hour by myself in my work kitchen decorating cookies. I started listening to podcasts. Not just any podcasts; motivational and business oriented podcasts. I was instantly hooked. Who were all these amazing, but normal women doing all these amazing things with their businesses? They were moms and wives and daughters wearing all the hats, doing all the things and they seemed just like me.
Listening to podcasts led to reading blogs, and reading blogs led to reading books. I started writing down dreams, big ones! I broke dreams down into plans and plans became strategies. Those strategies led to investing in online courses and webinars. And when I really needed someone, I invested in business coaching. These investments have had more impact on my business than any cookie decorating tool, tee-shirt, cookie cutter or technique.
Often, in the short term, the return is low. But long term, it's an investment I couldn't afford not to take.
It can be scary too, I know. Those first moments where you examine the full potential of yourself your brain feels like someone poured a 1,000 piece puzzle in there and said “ok, go! Consequently, you fully absorb that the potential you see can only be fulfilled through intention, purpose, planning and investing in yourself and your business.
Investing in myself has filled a void I didn't know I had. It hasn't been comfortable….infact, its been groan worthy. I've wanted to quit a 1000 times already (3x a day for the last 364 days…that sounds about right). But great things don't come from your comfort zone. The greater the discomfort, the greater the growth.
So, whatever industry you are in, I want to encourage you to invest in yourself. Start by taking that walk first thing in morning. Start by making an intentional date with your spouse. Start by taking a course on how to conquer social media. Start by scheduling a business coaching call. Start by being true to yourself and making YOU a priority.