I asked this question from my personal Facebook page yesterday, and a firestorm of comments flowed in overnight.
If this is a question on your mind right about now, join the conversation and add your two cents.
Before asking the question, I conferred with three of my favorite financial wizards — Justin Krane, Debbie Page, and my husband Steve Juetten.
Cash Flow Expert for Women Justin Krane says it's a good rule of thumb to intend to earn at least three times the tuition as a result of an investment in professional development. I interviewed him earlier this year about money savvy, pricing and packaging for big profits and the importance of knowing your numbers.
Just click on the link, you can access that interview packed with timely and practical wisdom in Justin Krane style. He'll be the first to tell you that “You've got this.” No opt in is required.
I also conferred with Debbie Page. She guides women business owners to keep more of the money they make. Debbie suggests that the allocation range to invest for professional development is 3% – 10% of gross revenue. Once the six-figure threshold is met and continues to grow, at a minimum budget of 3% for every $100,000 of gross revenue. If you earned $350,000 in revenue this year, budget for $7500 – $25,000.
And then I asked my amazing husband of 30 years Steve about his point of view.
Certified Financial Planner Professional Steve Juetten
Steve says “Hope is not a plan.”
Invest a reasonable percentage of LAST YEAR's revenues into professional development for the subsequent year.
If the business is new, he suggests being reasonable. If the business is going great guns, invest to the level that makes good sense and also supports you in acquiring the skills you need, while also achieving the desired results.
Isn't it great to have these guidelines in your pocket at this time of year when you are soon to be on the receiving end of many invitations to invest wisely in your future success?
Here's what I know for sure based on having been in business since 2001 and invested in a variety of top notch programs and mentors over the years.
Not everyone who starts these programs — even with the best of intentions — finishes the programs to achieve the promised results. It's often the top 6% of all who enroll who achieve the 3X – 10X returns that were promised in the marketing pitch.
Why is that?
- Sometimes life gets in the way.
- Sometimes mindset issues get in the way.
- Sometimes the level of effort required to bring in the results is beyond what the participant expected or was willing to put forth.
- There may be other factors at play, too.
For me, here is what I know.
I am a strong starter. And I am also a strong finisher.
That gives me confidence that when I invest in something that I want, I am going to do whatever it takes to get the value. It's just that simple. I start these programs with the intention to get 3-10 times the value in ways that I can measure in my shopping cart. Otherwise, I pass.
Decisions start by knowing the numbers.
I know the top categories to which revenue flows. I know my expenses. And the profit margin is rock solid.
Because I want this trend to continue, now is the time in the calendar year when I consider what I will start, stop and keep doing.
That means taking a careful look at the services I use to fuel the engine that is my business, the investments I make to fund my professional development, and evaluate what I need to do differently to make sure things keep moving in a favorable direction.
Do I need a new computer? Yes. That is essential. It is pretty hard to run a successful business online without an up-to-date computer system.
Do I need to invest in my professional development? Yes. And I am going to be very mindful of the specific skills I need to develop and deliberate in my actions so I can continue to grow along my path to mastery.
And here is where things get interesting.
Every day, like you, I am on the receiving end of invitations to fill in gaps in my skill set. The price points vary widely. Given the sheer number of choices and how compelling and inviting the offers, I have to go back to one of my favorite books of all time for some timeless wisdom.
There is a conversation between the Cheshire Cat and Alice within the classic novel Alice in Wonderland that says, “If you don't know where you're going, any road will get you there.”
So here is what I know:
- I need to be in the company of successful entrepreneurs who call me forward to achieve even more contribution, value exchange, and success, while speaking the truth — even when it is hard to hear. Going it alone in isolation is a recipe for disaster.
- I want to speak more to earn more. That is why I teach my clients to do. And my professional development absolutely must include focus on speaking mastery.
- I also need to expand the reach and impact of my message. That means that ongoing lead generation needs to be a high priority.
Now that I know my priorities, what then?
I look at the revenues and profits I earned.
Then, I decide to invest a reasonable percentage in professional development.
So … as you reflect on your own success this year and anticipate how it will GROW in the New Year, what will you start, stop, and keep doing?
How will you invest in your success?
And how fiercely will you fight for your results so you can be proud of your achievements and smile all the way to the bank?
These are good questions to consider right about now.