The following article is an excellent post written by Abbie from http://www.financejunkie.org/. She reached out to me several weeks ago and I loved the idea of this post so much that I had to feature it.
For many people, an investment is what they have in assets and commodities; real estate, stocks, shares and bonds. But for me, it has always been more than the physical commodities I hold to my name – it’s how I’ve been taught to believe in myself; as an investment.
I think this belief stemmed from my time in college; I had brilliant lecturers, peers and a loving family, who all planted the seeds of growth within me, helping me to flourish and develop my practical skills into a near art-like form.
Their encouragement led to me value my degree in photography and digital media as an investment – something that would grow over time, unlocking a better future for me when I graduated – I guess this was what made the ideology of my education as an investment, stick with me through the years.
However with all investments – there are certain risks involved. If you follow your heart and do what you love, there’s no doubt you will always be happy; but happiness won’t pay your bills. Similarly, if you pick an industry that is highly competitive or one that has only a few jobs on offer; you’re ruining any chances you have of successfully gaining employment when you graduate; ergo your financial stability.
I picked photography and digital media, over photography and digital marketing – I feel as if I’m at a disadvantage approaching the job market, as the call for digital marketing experts is on the rise, I’m left with the media equivalent, which seems quite second-rate right now.
Yes, I’m speaking from experience and yes; I’m rather bitter about it.
The two courses I was torn between at the time were very alike in name; digital media and digital marketing, but content wise these courses were very different. Marketing would have offered me a more desirable skill-set or rather a more demanded skill-set by the advertising industries.
Had I chosen to go down the marketing route, I strongly believe, that I’d have no difficulty finding work – the bonuses of photography knowledge means I always have vision and foresight of what I want to see – arguably, a desired quality that many marketing companies look for when undertaking new employees for visual marketing campaigns.
The best advice I can offer anyone on such a case is; make sure that you research the area you are interested in; by making sure to look at respective job markets, will mean you have an awareness of what’s available to you and what’s not.
I have always considered freelance photography and I’ve often wanted to pursue it, but as any shutter-monkey will tell you; it’s just not financially feasible without an established and filled portfolio. Photography is very much a case of gaining exposure (hah) through industry professionals and peers; if nobody can see your work, nobody will see your work – sadly, my portfolio Is gathering dust under my bed, which is not a great way for me to gain exposure!
This example is rather illustrative of how a seemingly small decision can have a large impact on your life – think things through and research the job markets; make your own investments count!
Your Life is an Investment
On a more positive note; by getting a college education I have essentially matured my self-investment. I’m extremely employable, but I lack specialization in certain areas of my field that would otherwise give me access to a job relative to my degree. This is something important to keep in mind if you’re considering a college education; if you looking at doing a media based course, I would advise you to check out all your options before steaming ahead and try looking into an area such as video production to give yourself that unique tailored skill-set.
Like me, you’ll start to develop better habits when you treat everything in your life, not just education, as an investment. My spending and saving habits have drastically improved since college, which was probably symptomatic of the debt I ran up at the time, but also accredited to the way I treat myself and my lifestyle choices.
You can begin by questioning every minor financial decision you have to make, to help save you from multiple financial catastrophes – I once took a holiday on a credit card; I never questioned it though, which was the main problem.
To help the ‘you’ investment mature you could consider doing the following:
- Getting better qualifications
- Learn a technical skill
- Set up a home run business
Education is a great way to increase your employability, don’t let my circumstances change your mind on this! Education opens up multiple avenues for you to explore; whether you are considering teaching or going on to further education. This is the ultimate investment that pays for itself; providing you with a well filled CV and putting you miles ahead of the competition when you approach a potential employer for a job.
If a college education isn’t for you, numerous companies offer work-based training for highly technical roles. Practical skills are considerably underrated and are a fraction of the cost of a college education. Whilst you won’t have many grades on your CV, you will have desirable skills and valid experience, which is much sought after in the working world.
Setting up your own business from home is as simple as making a blog. Blogs obtain readers over time and progress in popularity; when you become popular, it’s likely that advertisement companies will approach you to use some of your page space for adverts – a great source for a little extra income each month and super fun too!
Think of the above mentioned as a way to mature your investment – the more avenues you unlock and the more options you have available to you, means you can improve a specific ability or focus on improving one of your existing skills.
Learn from my deviations and avoid the camouflaged pitfalls of luxury amenities, holidays and credit cards. Start treating your life as an investment and you’ll see the value of it skyrocket.