Hardly anyone talks about money once you grow up.  

When my friends and I finished university, we all started working in architecture. Since we all were looking for jobs, we all were open with sharing and comparing job offers.  

A few years later, as people changed jobs and moved up the chain, money became a much more taboo subject.This concerned me when I started writing this. Is it okay to talk about money so openly? Is it okay to want to share how I've spent a significant chunk of money since I left architecture and went on my own. What if this money wasn’t on inventory or a direct business expense? What if it was on personal development?  

What if it was $40,000?    

Whether it was online courses, workshops, mastermind events, or conferences, over the past 2 years I have been on a quest of constantly learning, growing my personal network and getting out of my comfort zone. I added the total cost up today.  

$40,000. That’s the same pre-tax amount I earned as a junior architect in New York City.  

Had you told me 3 years ago I would have spent $40,000 on personal development, I would have assumed that I’d be abducted by some hippy dippy guru aliens or won the lottery. (Actually, I’d probably just thought you were crazy, but you see my point.)

“The most important investment you can make is in yourself.” - Warren Buffet

I’m proud to say that I’ve gotten a pretty solid ROI from the investment. Both professionally and personally.  

I’ve started 4 businesses in the past 3 years, all of which are still currently running. I did this despite having never taken a college or high school business class in my life. My business experience before this had been child’s play, and I mean literally. I sold bun cakes on the playground at age 10 and had an eBay business at 14.  

There’s so much I didn’t know, and even more that I didn’t know I didn’t know.  

We live in the best time ever for you to go out on your own. The internet gives power and platform for everyone to start from nothing. Traditional university is becoming less important as companies like Google have started hiring people who didn’t go to university at all.  

Before you go out and start investing in yourself with classes and workshops, there are some things you need to look out for.

Be an Action-Taker! Not a Content Consumer

Once you get into the entrepreneurial space, it seems like there are shiny objects everywhere. And there are. There’s something new out every day, whether it’s a new course or a platform to try out. You can waste a whole lot of time and money without ever seeing results.  

How is this possible? It’s possible because you can keep consuming content, always feeling like you need to know more, and never taking action on what you do know.  

We’ve all been there.  

“A little less content, a little more action.” - Elvis Presley, kind of  

Plan your Outcome  

Every time you spend money on an online course or class, you need to have an end goal in mind - something you want to get out of whatever you’re buying. If you can’t think of how you will use the book or course right now, then put the credit card away.  

The speed of implementation is crucial. If you learn something today but can’t take action on it until months later, then it’s essentially useless. You’ll forget the information and have to re-learn it later.  

Here’s the last few big courses I’ve bought and my goal for each:

Get 10K Subscribers ($1,500)

Goal: Build a List of 2,000 subscribers for a Kickstarter launch Why: To validate the product before launching, tweak to ensure it was the best it could be, and to ensure a successful launch. Outcome: We built a list of 3,512 before the Kickstarter launch and raised $15,000 in the initial 28 hours.

The Foundation ($5,000)

Goal: Build my personal network and create a software business Why: I wanted to create a business and gain experience on digital products and software since I’d only dealt with physical products thus far. Additionally, I wanted to meet like-minded people who were also new entrepreneurs.  

Outcome: I met some of my now closest friends in The Foundation, including my business partner Allen, who I’ve created 2 businesses with since. I also created ClinicHero and had $6,000 in presales by the end of the 6-month program.

Business Mastery ($10,000)

Goal: Building teams, Business Analysis for scaling and growth Why: For growth of BestSelf so we start out with our best foot forward Outcome: It’s in January 2016 so time will tell.  

The point of this is to always know what you want to get out of something. This is how you ensure that you take action on content and how you know when you’ll get a return on your money and time.  

This is why I am open to sharing how much money I have spent on personal development. Had I spent 40K aimlessly - not had personal goals in mind or taken action - I probably would have kept my mouth shut.  

Recently I decided to pre-sell a workshop teaching people how to launch successfully on Kickstarter. I limited it to 15 people and only accepted those who had an idea for a product they wanted to move forward with. I refunded 2 people because I felt they weren’t in the right position to take full advantage right now. With limited spaces, I wanted people to be able to take action right away.  

Why did I do this?  

The people who have the idea and product in mind already are going to be taking action and seeing immediate results from the course. I can provide more guidance with an actual idea or product rather than a hypothetical, and that will make the course more successful.  

If you’re interested in getting into the next Kickstarter Success Kit class, you can sign up here.  

In the comments below, I’d love to know: What’s the best investment you’ve made in yourself over the past 2 years and why was it so?