The biggest investment you can make is in yourself. No doubt you’ve heard that sentiment before, in one form or another. Most people would agree with the idea, yet when it comes to applying it—that is, making the investment—many miss the mark.

As an entrepreneur, by nature, you have an independent spirit. You find an idea, and you want to build something significant from it. Unfortunately, many people, especially entrepreneurs, often fall into the trap of thinking they need to do it all themselves.

There is nothing wrong with wanting to pioneer a new endeavor all on your own. Just don’t allow yourself to be so rigid that you fail to see the value in the experiences and templates other successful individuals have left for you.

The reality is, for some business and investment types, there is too much information and expertise needed to be successful in today’s market. Rather than getting bogged down in the minutia, take a moment to look around and observe what other successful people are doing in those fields. Are there experts out there who have knowledge that can help you find your path?

Truly unique ideas are rare. If you manage to find one, fantastic. But, even then, there is at least tangential information related to your idea that you can learn from.

For example, when scientists are trying to find new proofs in the world of physics, they don’t start from square one every single time, reproving the theory of gravity. They ride on the backs of the giants who came before, paved the way, and settled our basic understanding of how gravity works.

The same is true in business and investing. Let other professionals be your guide.

Time Is Limited

Knowledge is power, and time is a limited resource.

If you can spend a relatively small sum of money to get the right knowledge and training that will save you time, frustration, and tens of thousands of dollars down the road, that would be well worth the cost.

Remember, time is the most limited resource, not money. You can spend countless hours, weeks, or months researching every detail of a specific market to give you the best possible chance to be successful. Or, you can spend your time more wisely, learning from others who have been there and done that.

Even if you were able to learn all the knowledge needed in your chosen field yourself, knowledge is simply information. Having the wisdom and experience to apply that information effectively makes all the difference.

A willingness to learn from the expertise of other professionals is a sign of strength, not weakness. Allow their years of experimenting, trial and error, and advice on best practices to fuel your success.

Be Honest with Yourself

To fully leverage your time for success, you must know what you do well and what you do not do well.

As in any business you manage, as you work toward your own development, focus on what you excel at and delegate the rest to others who have the strengths you lack. Whether you are forging a new path in your entrepreneurial career, or simply pivoting your investments into a sector in which you are less familiar, prioritize seeking the right guidance.

In his book “Outliers,” Malcolm Gladwell asserts that it takes 10,000 hours to become an expert in any specific field. This was once a commonly held belief, but in the age of information, that is no longer the case. With the right guidance, training, and mentorship you can achieve mastery in your chosen field in much less time. Getting the results you desire is more about your drive to improve and develop as well as the people you surround yourself with.

Perhaps it’s been years or even decades since you finished school. The reality is, if you want to become better, both as an entrepreneur and as a person, you must be open to being a life-long learner.

Even the most successful investors don’t rest on their laurels; they stay sharp and continue their education process—if not, traditionally, then by surrounding themselves with others who are successful and innovative.

Be Inquisitive

Ask questions. Never assume that you have it all figured out. Surround yourself with people who challenge you.

Shutting yourself off from the learning process is one of the quickest ways to limit yourself and your future.

Make an effort to get involved with the inner circle of whatever market you are looking into. Whether it’s your local REIA, seminars on specific investment classes, management training, or even online courses, always be hungry to learn.

Moreover, it’s not just a matter of learning the tricks and acquiring the tools to invest; it’s also about creating networks and connections that will help energize your success.

Whether in the form of partners or mentors, establishing strong connections with more experienced individuals will help motivate you and provide the fertile ground upon which to cultivate your ideas.

There are few things more frustrating than going solo and learning the wrong way to do things. The process of unlearning bad habits and relearning effective ones often comes with a significant cost in terms of time and money.

The Bottom Line

Always do your research, but make sure to leverage the expertise of others who have been where you want to go.

Following another professional’s lead and allowing their life experiences to show you the shortcuts is usually incredibly rewarding, both personally and professionally.

The best investments don’t come from financial institutions, real estate, or business opportunities.  The best investment you can make is in you. So, take the time to expand your knowledge, hone your craft, and develop as a person and as an entrepreneur.  Difficult times will come, and whatever is in you will eventually come out. If fear is in you, fear will manifest. If pride is in you, pride will manifest. But, if you foster humility and an eagerness to learn and grow, you will see the fruits of your labor.

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