Sunday, August 23, 2009

Guest Column by Ali Brown "The E-Zine Queen"



"5 Ways to Keep Learning and Growing - Even on a Tight Budget"
by Ali Brown

I recently received a long letter from one of my readers - whom I'll call "Amy" -- that went something like this, "Ali, I see you're now charging beaucoup bucks for your coaching programs and to mentor with you. No question you are worth thousands of dollars to work with! But I feel really stuck. You see, I am down to my last dime. You emphasize how important it is to keep learning and growing... and to have a mentor, but how can someone like me do this when there's no money to invest?"

Ah yes, Amy, believe me, I remember what that was like. In fact, things got so bad when I first started my business back in New York 10 years ago that there was one evening I couldn't even take out $20 from the ATM. (And even if I did have cash to spend, I didn't know where to find a mentor anyway.)

So what's a girl to do when she's on a budget?

Answer: Learn all she can within her means.

While in-depth courses and high-level mentorship programs deliver a complete plan for those who are ready to invest and move forward quickly, don't forget about tried and true low-budget learning options. The five I list below are surely nothing new, but often times we forget they are here for the taking! The only trick is you have to motivate yourself.

1. Books.

Yes, books. Remember books?
There are millions of helpful and educational books out there. Both new ones in bookstores and used ones at the library. Ones to inspire you, to motivate you, to help you think differently, and delivering specific steps to grow yourself and your business. Spend a rainy afternoon in a Borders or Barnes & Noble with a coffee and see what strikes your fancy. Or finally get that local library card and see what they have to offer in their business and self help sections. Bonus: Most libraries also carry CDs and DVDs that they rent for free or a low fee, and usually you'll be able to find several educational titles.

2. Free ezines and reports.

Search your topic of business online and you're bound to find tons of free online information and many in the form of ezine subscriptions and reports. From marketing to moneymaking, from advertising to finding clients, if you search for it you will find it.

Just know these media - being free - are typically more introductory information and used as lead generators. But good content can surely be found!

3. Free teleseminars and webinars.

Along the same lines, many experts are also hosting free teleseminars and webinars day and night around the globe. All you need to participate is a phone or an Internet connection. From business training to personal development - search and you will find as well! As with free ezines and reports, you can learn a lot from these events, but just expect a sales offer during the session.

4. Free and low-cost live seminars.

Even adult education classes via organizations such as the Learning Annex are great to get started. Even though they usually feature very basic info, I've found these classes are still good to help reboot your brain and give you some new ideas to walk away with.

If you live in a major city you can also almost always find free or low-cost seminars to attend as well, if you keep your eyes and ears open. But remember, the hosts of these events aren't non-profits! Expect a sales invitation to buy their products or enroll in a program. Just realize this upfront as you go in and graciously decline should you choose not to take advantage. [Julia Stege the Magical Marketer offers a free teleclass series on how to attract customers on social networks.]

5. Lower-priced information products and programs.

If you can't afford a live mentor, how about one in a box? That's how I started! And I admit it was even from a TV infomercial.

Back when I had finally quit my last job 10 years ago, I was lost and frustrated. I had started my business but was down to just a few hundred dollars in my bank account. One late night I was up and turned on the TV and saw an infomercial for Tony Robbins' "Personal Power II". (Funny enough, I could barely see it on the screen since I couldn't afford cable TV and was watching it via old-fashioned rabbit ears.)

If I remember correctly, the product was $179 at the time. That was a huge stretch for me, and I opted for the payment plan. And when those cassettes arrived (yes, I got the cassettes because they were cheaper than the CDs), I dove into them like a box of chocolates! Tony became my virtual mentor as his voice of encouragement, showing me how to think big, was played in my ears every day while I rode the subway.

If you're not growing, you're dying

Remember that not having cash to invest in your business is no excuse to sit on your bum. There's a great saying, "God helps those who help themselves." Having money isn't a prerequisite to step forward to grow and become your best. The only requirement to your stepping into your greatness is your true desire to do so.

© 2009 Alexandria Brown International Inc.

WANT TO USE THIS ARTICLE IN YOUR EZINE OR WEB SITE? You can, as long as you include this complete blurb with it: Online entrepreneur Ali Brown publishes the award-winning 'Highlights on Marketing & Success' weekly ezine with 36,000+ subscribers. If you're ready to jump-start your marketing, make more money, and have more fun in your small business, get your FREE tips now at www.AliBrown.com

WANT TO SEE MORE ARTICLES LIKE THIS ONE? See Ali's Small Business Marketing Blog.


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1 comment:

  1. An insightfull post. Will definitely help.

    Thanks,
    Karim - Positive thinking

    ReplyDelete