I Feel Guilty Investing in Myself: Part Two

Posted by The Icehouse on 27/06/2023 12:00:00 AM

Training and professional development programmes are important tools for entrepreneurs and owners to upskill themselves to make better-informed decisions in the running of their business. 

I Feel Guilty Investing in Myself Part Two  _ Blog_Image

However, all the available evidence suggests that owners are reluctant self-investors. Lack of time, lack of finance, how they might fare in a room full of peers – there are many reasons why owners are reticent to push the button in pursuit of their own development

When they do dive in, there’s often an overwhelming sense of guilt around the decision –could that money be spent elsewhere? How can I justify the expense? What will I actually get in return? 

The guilt is understandable. Currently, owners are counting every cent. Business owners are balancing tighter-than-ever budgets and limited resources. Investing in self-training and upskilling can seem like a needless additional expense that may not yield immediate returns.

Business owners may also be hesitant to invest in themselves as “change” or developing new ways of thinking may disrupt their current operations, expose vulnerabilities in their knowledge base or simply create more obstacles that do not align with the business’s wider goals and values.

“In our experience, owners do feel guilty in putting money towards their own training,” says Maryse Dinan, Customer Growth Partner at The Icehouse for the Auckland and Waikato regions. 

“Part of our role is often about helping them to understand the immediate value something like the Owner Manager Programme (OMP) provides. It can help them strengthen their business short-term, and better-prepare them for what's going to happen in the future. It's also about helping owners to appreciate that if there’s a gap between where they want to get to and where they are now, then there are ways to reduce that gap through their own role.” 

Owners don’t hesitate when it comes to investing in sales and marketing, technology or recruitment and, of course, offering training and development opportunities to their teams. Strange then, that owners are reluctant to invest in perhaps their most valuable asset… themselves.  

“You’ve got to invest in yourself, into your own personal health, and your own personal mindset if you want to achieve things for the team, the culture and business,” says Jono Jones, CEO at Bluelab and an Icehouse alumni. 

Running a business demands considerable time and effort and owners often find themselves overwhelmed with the daily responsibilities. As a result, they struggle to justify the time spent away from the business. 

However, programmes such as OMP help owners find more time to work on the business and not in it, and make better use of their new-found efficiencies – often in ways which work best for them. 

“I suppose I was probably, ‘Am I worthy?’ [before OMP],” says Tim Goom, Director of Goom Landscapes and an OMP alumni. “That was probably my biggest feeling going into OMP. And I still have this guilty feeling of setting a day or half a day aside and working on yourself… to be honest, I don't do it anywhere enough. 

“But I definitely see big value in it, but it's got to be done in each individual's way because me sitting in a coffee shop, writing down cool stuff to think of, is not going to happen. I’m far better off driving around in the truck thinking of stuff while I'm on the road doing something else. It's really investing in yourself in a format that works for you.” 

The most effective ownership training programmes are the ones that provide continuous and long-term rewards far into the future, and don’t just stop the day the course stops. It’s easier to live with the guilt when you invest in something that pays for itself many times over, that reduces fear or anxiety about the future, clarifies goals and assists planning and creating structures.

Self-investment can also offer greater access to further learning opportunities, and access to a ready-made business network – if you choose the right kind of programme. Many of our OMP alumni tell us they wish they’d done it sooner

Yet too many small business owners have spent little or nothing on their professional development since leaving full-time education – we hear it all the time, instead pouring every spare bit of cash, time and energy into making the business work and leaving little room for professional development.  

Is it time to think about cultivating personal growth, enhancing ownership skills and, by learning and developing new abilities, make better strategic decisions, adapt to changing market trends, inspire teams and, ultimately, drive the success and long-term sustainability of your businesses? In short, investing in developing your ownership skillset could be one of the best business decisions you ever make, which is nothing to feel guilty about.
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Topics: Owner Manager Programme, Coaching