I recently made a big decision about an investment in my business. And I spent the last week talking to makers about how to know WHEN something is the right investment in their business business.
When I opened the Starship to new members last month, this is the question that most people have – how do I decide if this is the right investment for me, right now?
Our conversations have me reflecting on how I make these decisions in my own business, and how anyone knows that anything is the “right” for them. I have a few questions I ask myself before buying, whether it's a $25 guide or a $999 Program.
If you are ready to grow and expand your business, you are probably asking yourself – what do I invest in? Where do I spend my time and energy in order to make the biggest growth. Well I cover the ONLY 4 foundations that need your focus and attention my masterclass. You can join (for free!) at TaraSwiger.com/foundations.
So before we dive into investing your business, I have to be super clear, when you’re looking at investing your TIME in your business, you need that investment to be in one of the four areas I cover in that masterclass.
But when you’re looking at investing your MONEY in your business, how do you choose the class or book or program that’s going to be most effective for you, right now, exactly where you are?
I ask the same 3 questions of every investment (yes, I invest in my business too, so I can become the best help to YOU as possible!)
Do I know and like the person?
Does this person show up regularly and with integrity? Especially in a class, the way I feel about the person is going to impact my ability to learn. If you don't like who the teacher is, as a person, you're not going to trust the information they have and will spend time second-guessing everything. You learn better from someone you deeply trust. Also, if this is going to take longer than an hour, you want to like the person's voice and style, and look forward to spending time with them. (This is why it's so easy to buy from Caitlin, my mentor, or from your favorite yarn shops!)
Does it provide the structure that I need?
For me, this means something more than a simple PDF download. I learn best if the information is chunked up and delivered in pieces, and has some kind of accountability built in. The entire reason I joined Up & Running is that I needed a training plan and accountability on the regular.
But of course, not everyone learns in the same way, so this is something I've tested endlessly in the Starship. Sure, I've got AMAZING, life-changing education on profitability and marketing, but how can I share that information in a way that results in real changes for the captains?
The last 8 years of working with makers every day, has taught me that the best results come from a combination of weekly accountability check-ins, structured classes (everything you need, step by step), and targeted, deep-dive, apply-it-to-your-own business material, delivered in video, text and worksheets. The best format I’ve found is a combination of question-asking and accountability-providing. This not only teaches information, it also keeps the regular movement of your business from where it is to where you want it to go. It makes big goals more reach-able and dreams more do-able.
Does it fit with my immediate goals?
Is this thing aimed at what I'm working on right now? Even if the class has fantastic information, if it's not information I can use right now, I resist it.
Why? Because otherwise it will be a distraction from what I'm working on and I'll be frustrated that I can't put what I learned to work right away. (This is why we spend the first weeks in the Starship setting individual goals and mapping out a path – so that you spend your time in the Starship working on your goals and avoid distraction.)
Where will I find the time for it?
Here’s the truth – if you don’t see how this will fit with what matters to you, right now, you won’t find the time for it. The hard part of this is… we aren’t always honest with ourselves what really matters to us, what our priorities are. So we buy something we WISH were our priority, but honestly we’re putting our time and attention elsewhere.
So if you’re telling yourself “I don’t have time for this,” I want you to change it to “this isn’t a priority right now.” Can’t join a business-growth program? Maybe business growth isn’t your priority right now!
And hey, that’s OK. For the first month of a new foster care placement business growth IS NOT my priority. Getting the kiddo(s) settled and figuring out the structure of my life again and napping, those are my priorities. I know if I don’t focus on that, I won’t ever be able to focus on business growth later. Maybe for you it’s a big move or a new baby or a major illness? Just be honest with yourself, honey.
If you’re saying, “no no, Tara, I swear it IS a priority!” Then the question is – when will I find the time for it? Tough love time – if you can’t find the time for it, it’s not a priority.
Does it fit in my long-term vision?
Is this going to help me build the kind of business I want to own next year and the year after that? Or is this going to distract me by thinking about something short-term?
And the really hard question: Is this going to help me become the kind of person I want to be? Or encourage me to focus on being someone else?
This question is so hard to answer, but vital. There are super-compelling classes, books, and adventures that look fantastic. But if they don't promote my core values, or encourage me to be me, then I know they're not for me. Of course, the first step is to know what you value and define them, so that you can spot them (or their lack) in an offering. The values I look for in a class or book are personal responsibility (am the Captain of my ship), sustainability (valuing the long-term over the short-term, conserving resources), and self-knowledge (I can find success by embracing my quirkiness). This reflects my business ethics and ensures I spend my time in integrity.
These are the questions I ask myself before I invest in my business, and it’s what I’d like to invite you to ask yourself before you invest in anything for your business. If you’ve been thinking about prioritizing business growth and profitability, you can learn more about the 4 foundations Method of growing your business over at TaraSwiger.com/foundations.
What do you ask yourself before you buy a class or book?
Lemme know over on Instagram, in a comment or DM! Show me what you’re doing while listening, just tag me, @taraswiger and #exploreyourenthusiasm.
Have an enthusiastic week!
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