There has never been a better time to invest in yourself than right now. I say that with absolute certainty because it is always a great time to invest in yourself. And since life isn’t a dress rehearsal, I say it’s always smart to expand your horizons. You never know what you might discover.
But having said that, it’s also true that you have to be clever about how you invest your time and money. You don’t want to squander precious time and treasure needlessly. Here are the 5 best ways to invest in yourself in order to get the most bang for the smallest amount of bucks possible.

1. Interview Successful People

No, I’m not asking you to get thick glasses and try to be a Geraldo Rivera wannbe. But I do suggest that you tap in to the talent and knowledge pool you have all around you. Talk to the people who have what you want and ask them to share their secrets with you. This won’t cost much and it’s an invaluable resource. And don’t worry, people love talking about themselves to others. You’ll get plenty of takers.
Make a list of your most successful friends, family and acquaintances and ask them if they would agree to have lunch with you. During lunch, try to get inside their heads by asking questions such as:

  • What was the single most important thing you did to become successful?
  • What mistakes do you wish you would have aided?
  • What advice would you give to someone just starting out right now?
  • What would you do differently if you were starting over?

One question will lead to another. Let it flow. Try to really understand the foundation of the success the people you interview built their lives on. Look for common traits and decisions among the successful group of people.
At the end of the meeting explain that you really want to be successful and want to talk to as many successful people as you can. Ask the person you’ve just interviewed for names of other people she thinks you should talk to.

2. Side Business

There is no better way to learn about success than putting your own money on the line. And the smartest way to do that is to start a small business. It doesn’t matter so much what the business is. It matters that you go for it.
Don’t be intimidated. You’ll learn as you go. Start very small. It’s far better to risk your time than your money – or the money of your friends and family. If you simply must invest money, don’t lean on your credit cards. If you have limited resources and are convinced the business is strong, consider using a company like Lending Club rather than more expensive sources.
But remember, there are plenty of great small business ideas you can find by simply looking around and some of the very best won’t cost you a cent to launch.

3. Read Right Not Wrong

There are plenty of great resources on the web. A site like MapleMoney is a perfect example. And if you are looking for a great book on success, read every Dale Carnegie book you can find. But don’t overload yourself. You only need a handful of ideas but you need to stick to them. Don’t waste your time reading every book on success you can find. Success is about action. Go out and do it.

4. Start Investing Now

No matter how much money you have, you can start investing right now. Don’t think you have to have it all figured out. I have been investing for over 30 years and I’m still learning. Don’t put too much money on the line when you are unsure of what your are doing. If you are just starting out, take advantage of websites like Betterment. This site is perfect for beginners. For a very small fee, they educate you on how to invest and they actually do the investing for you once you get set up. The sweet part is that they do this for you without any transaction fees. Me Likey.

5. Low Salary

Many people think the they must get the highest paying gig they can find but it’s not true. During your career, you’ll find that it might make sense to take a low paying job if the experience and exposure warrant it. When I graduated from college I took the highest paying job I could find and it was a huge mistake. Within 8 months I quit because I just couldn’t stand it. I would have been far better off had I simply considered the best career move rather than focusing on getting the fattest pay check.