Let’s dive into the concept of investing in yourself.
Not so long ago, I thought paying a couple thousand dollars for a course, or a couple thousand dollars for a mastermind, or a couple thousand dollars for a conference was just insane. Why would anybody pay that amount of money when you can learn this stuff for free online?
But in the past couple years, my investments into groups like Entrepreneurs’ Organization, which probably costs about $8,000 per year, and Young Entrepreneurs Council, which is like $1,000 per year, have paid off so many times.
Compared to when I first came into Single Grain, I didn’t know a lot of things related to business processes. Basic things around operations, finance, even something like a 10-week cash flow document—I learned all these skills through my EO forum.
I learned all these processes because these guys already had that experience. The guys in my forum are in their 30s, 40s, 50s, etc. They’ve all gone through a lot of these things, and they were able to help me sidestep a lot of mistakes that I would have made on my own. Quite frankly, as a business owner, that’s worth more than a couple thousand dollars, right?
In fact, I’d go so far as to say that without Entrepreneurs’ Organization, my company wouldn’t be around today, because I wouldn’t have been able to sidestep so many mistakes. And it’s not just avoiding mistakes that makes groups like EO worth it—the camaraderie of working with other entrepreneurs who understand what I’m going through is priceless.
Learn More: The Benefits of Joining a Mastermind Group
Being able to build relationships with people, working closely with people in my forum…it’s been a really rewarding experience to do exciting stuff with really smart entrepreneurs and be a part of this organization where there’s 10,000 people worldwide. And they’re all just trying to create great businesses and add more value to the world.
If Young Entrepreneurs Council can get me into even two publications as a contributor in one year, it’s already more than paid for itself, right? But it gives me much more than that. I’m able to drop into Summit at Sea in Miami and text everyone and all of a sudden we’re all hanging out together. That’s powerful. And when I went to San Diego for Traffic & Conversion Summit, I did the same thing, I looked up who in YEC was there and we all got together.
Summit at Sea is anywhere from $3,000-$10,000. But to be able to meet with so many great people on that boat, where I literally want to have lunch with every single person, makes it more than worth it for me. It was like: “Oh, there’s Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos. There’s Scott Belsky, the founder of Behance over there. Gary Vaynerchuk is standing over there. And there’s Eric Schmidt from Google.”
So, even though that event was quite expensive, I’ve started to build lifelong friendships from that. And it’s because of those interactions. Same thing with Traffic & Conversion conference. This time, I took my team, because I knew they were going to learn a lot. And we bonded together more as a team and just had a good time together. Whatever they decide to do with their career, I hope this was a good stepping stone for them to learn a lot.
The moral of the story is that a lot of these expensive investments might not pay off immediately for you. These things take time to manifest. Sometimes, it might take a year or two to close a deal. And that’s okay. I don’t go to these events just to say, “I’m here to get more business.”
Related Content: Why You Should Set An Agenda & Focus on Team Building at Conferences
Ultimately, at the end of the day, I know that the more relationships I can build, the more people I can help. It all comes back to building goodwill, right? Your compensation in the future is based directly on the value that you’re adding to people in the present.
So I’m not really worried about dollar figures at this point. I’m constantly putting out content all the time, and I know that it’s helping at least one person out there. The unsolicited feedback that I’m getting from time to time for the Marketing School podcast and my Growth Everywhere podcast is all the validation I need.
I’m doing these entrepreneur happy hours once a month, where I’ll pay for drinks and food. And I’ll do these monthly entrepreneur dinners, too. In a sense, I’m investing in myself and investing in the future. Because I know that if I’m able to connect these people, great things are going to happen. Not necessarily directly for me, but there’s going to be great value created. And I just want to be able to facilitate that. I want to be able to create that helpful ecosystem.
That being said, I obviously did the math for how much it costs. This year alone, these expenses are $20,000-$25,000. A few years ago I would’ve thought that that was an insane cost for something that isn’t delivering immediate ROI. But the way I see things now, it’s worth it. I’m enjoying the community that we’re building in downtown L.A. These things take time, just like any kind of relationship takes time to manifest and grow.
So, if you ask me whether you should pay for that $5,000, $10,000 or $25,000 seminar, I’m going to say: if it’s the right timing for you, go for it.
I’ve seen people get massive value from these things. Is it worth it for you to pay $50,000 a year for a coach? Not if you’re only making $100,000 per year. But if you’re in the high six figures and this coach could push you into seven figures? Absolutely.
So take a step back and block out some time for a strategy day to figure out what kinds of conferences make sense. What kinds of events you should be throwing? What else should you be doing to enhance yourself? What else can you do to level up?
This post was adapted from Eric’s Facebook Live videos: Growth 90 – DAILY live broadcasts with Eric Siu on marketing and entrepreneurship. Watch the video version of this post: