Do you have an account set up for your continuing education as a business owner?
I do. I deposit $250 into it every month as part of my monthly budgeting. I use this money exclusively for investing in my own education:
- Training Programs
The best part? Qualifying work-related education like maintaining or improving a skill (this could include refresher courses, courses on current development, and academic or vocational courses) is tax deductible in the US on your Schedule C (https://www.irs.gov/publications/p17/ch27.html#en_US_2016_publink1000173992).
Those eBooks to improve your design skills? That course on getting more clients for your business? Consult your local accountant to confirm, but they very well may be completely tax deductible. I am not an accountant.
What I am is a business owner. And every month, I give myself a budget to spend on education and professional development.
Every month, I give myself $250 to spend. And it’s mine to spend. If I want to learn more about referrals, I can buy 5 books on Amazon and charge my professional development account.
You should start paying yourself a professional development allowance. Why?
When you see a book, course, training, etc., that you want to buy, you know you’ve already budgeted for it.
You can save up for larger purchases (like a conference ticket) over a few months
Right now, I set aside $250/month into this account. There have been times where I set aside $50/month and times when I set aside $500/month.
What matters is this: intentionally investing in your education. And budgeting for that investment every single month, like you’d budget for your electricity or 401k or rent.
Your professional development is essential and important.
If you set aside $50/month, over the year you’ve made available $600 to invest in your education and professional development: books, courses, training, or even coaching.
Is it likely that this investment will pay for itself — and potentially many times over? Yes.
As a student of professional development, I can tell you first hand that every dollar you put into your professional development consistently has an exceedingly high return.
I can trace a business I ran for two years and that generated close to $350,000/yr in revenue to a single article I read in a journal I subscribed to for $50/month.
When you budget for your professional development, you make it easy to invest in your professional development.
You see an book on Amazon that will help you improve your skills or understanding of your target market? Boom, you buy it.
Because you’ve already budgeted for it, you don’t have to worry about where the money will come from.
So, within your business budget, dedicate a line-item — $25, $50, $150, or something else every month — to investing in your professional development.