Eleven or so years ago when I first jumped into the world of blogging it was just me, my trusty point and shoot, and the wall around my front yard. At the time investing in myself looked like perching my camera on those bricks, setting the timer, and going for it. For a while, it sufficed. But too often I was discouraged by my inability to afford a professional photographer, by my feeble back account, or the dust bunnies in my wallet. I allowed that to be my guide rather than focusing on what I could do to get where I wanted to be. This was before the dawn of Instagram, most blogs were comprised of terrible photos and horrendous backdrops. What I was missing wasn’t all of those outer things. It was the lack of understanding about the power of investing in myself.
The lesson in that realization was this, while I was busy feeling bad about what I didn’t have, those other girls were finding ways to make it work with what they did. They were figuring out how to make due with the equipment at hand, learning composition, lighting, editing, etc. And now those same girls I began blogging with; Emily from Cupcakes & Cashmere, Aimee of Song of Style, Jane from Sea of Shoes, are experiencing the kind of success I was aiming and longing for. Because they knew they couldn’t wait on the success to fall into their laps they had to go get it.
Investing in yourself isn’t always about spending money…
Yes, it takes money to do things on a grand scale. It’s quite true that it is easier to make money when you have it already. Yet what I have learned over the course of my years as an entrepreneur and self-starter is that if you never begin – you won’t get to the money that is waiting. The fact is I had a camera that had been gifted to me, two actually. I would snap photos casually willing them to be great but I never picked up a book or deep dived into the college of Google to gain some actual knowledge. I failed myself. Not the internet, not the blogging community; me. Now that years have gone by I’ve learned that the biggest gift you can give yourself is time and effort.
Each day many of us go to a job where we may or may not be using our skills to the fullest. We show up on time, feel obligated to stay late but when comes to our own endeavors we don’t give nearly as much. Relegating our desires to the “side hustle” pile and or the after-work couch thing to do. I recognize that employment is critical and many of us, especially Black people or other marginalized folks, don’t always have the leeway we desire to focus solely on our personal goals. Here is where time management is key. Here is where the successful begin to separate from the average. Investing in yourself requires making time and sacrifices.
There were plenty of days when I had to say no to something. Whether it was because I couldn’t afford it financially or with my time, I recognized that I was giving me first priority. Even if FOMO did hit me every once in a while.
outfit details: dress – Zara // headband – Iris Atelier Couture // shoes – Converse x Comme des garcon // sunnies – Rayban // purse – Louis Vuitton
Now that I am past those days I fully understand the power of investing in myself. As a blogger I know that in order for my blog to be seen as valuable and worth the read; my photography must be top notch. It’s why I use a professional to take my photos. I understand that a site that runs slow, is poorly designed, or doesn’t work well on mobile devices will cause visitors not to stay, so I hired a designer to handle my needs. When it comes to my clothing line I am working on finding someone to help me run my social accounts and looking to bring in an additional designer because I recognize the value in having a team. That is an investment I am willing to make.
Investing in yourself makes you more dedicated to the work. You feel empowered when you start to see things coming to fruition. By giving yourself the gift of pouring into you – the win feels greater. I’ve learned that my investments in me are the ones with the longest lasting results. Because it’s a deposit that compounds and I can continue to pull from the account any time I need to. So do it, take that class, read the book, teach yourself something, or delegate it to someone else.
Photos: RSee Photography
Whatever is holding you back from excelling to the fullest, give you what you need. Invest in yourself, you’re worth it and I’m sure the return will impress you.