I recently signed up for a subscription to the magazine The Economist. I didn’t really need it; most of the content is available for free online, and I’m more limited by time available to read than by great content. A few years ago, I wouldn’t have spent the hundred bucks a year or so on it. But recently, I’ve noticed a change in my way of thinking.
You see, even though I’m heavily immersed in technology, I still just prefer to read on plain ol’ paper a lot of the time. I can carry a book or magazine with me to the kitchen, or sit snuggled in a blanket in bed reading under a lamp. Even if it sounds silly, I just know that having that paper copy will make me more likely to read and thus learn more.
Now here’s the interesting part. When trying to justify the cost, I asked myself, what are the odds that learning more about world trends will help me generate $1,000 in value over the next ten years? I thought the odds were pretty good. Maybe with some more cultural awareness I’ll be able to help one more Guatemalan entrepreneur find and buy inFlow every year. Maybe there’s a 1% chance that some trend I picked up on will help lead to a million dollar idea. This way, everybody wins. More people benefit from our work, I’m supporting great journalism, and it’s a good financial investment for me.
What really makes this possible though is being in an environment where creating more value can reward me financially. This is typical for entrepreneurs, but it’s also possible elsewhere, like jobs that are commission-based. In a typical salaried job though, this type of logic just doesn’t work. Maybe you can get a raise if contribute some great ideas, but don’t count on it. All you can really do to have more money available is to pinch pennies.
So that’s why as I’ve shifted from a fixed-income mindset to this variable-income mindset, it’s encouraged me to do more to invest in my own capabilities. This is incredibly liberating, and yet another reason why I encourage everyone with small business ambitions to go for it!