Guest post by Ari Paz
If you search the word "investing" on the internet, you will see that many definitions include these three words: money, profits, or assets. My definition of investing is: Allocating time or resources to increase one's knowledge in a topic that can produce favorable results that impact self-worth or net-worth.
Investing can have different meanings to different people, depending on their current or future needs or desires. For some, there may be a need to seek resources to obtain a desired role within a company, and it requires investing time in meeting people or learning about the path of others to understand how they did it. In another scenario, investing time to obtain a degree in a desired career field is a major investment in academic education, as well as investing in seeking opportunities to gain experience in order to give a degree value. Lastly, a third scenario of investing is the more popular one, where we invest monetary resources with the expectation that we will have a financial return. This could be investing in bonds, stocks, crypto, real estate, or other options. We take the risk of investing our savings, obtaining financing, or placing assets as collateral to invest in new or larger assets that will give us a short-term or long-term return. I mention this is a risk because, for me, any investment is a risk. Investing years learning about a subject that you may not enjoy once you’re working in the field is a risk; investing monetary resources in a business that may not thrive is a risk; and investing in building a portfolio of different assets, when the market continues to be volatile, is a risk.
But for me, the risks I have taken have been worth it. I can say I thrive on taking risks. It motivates me to grow my knowledge in different subjects, meet new people, implement innovative ways to be sustainable, and share with others what has and has not worked for me. This is what Community Development is about, sharing what you’ve learned along the way to help others prevent the challenges that you encountered. Sustainable communities are built by the power of knowledge and collaboration. We can ask ourselves, what risks have I made that resulted in a positive investment, would I do it differently, or what can I share with others to prepare them for possible challenges?
I started a consulting firm in 2018, at the age of 25. By this time, I had picked up so many ideas about running a business, thanks to the experience I gained while working for several startups and small businesses. I witnessed owners investing their life savings, retirement accounts, and borrowed collateral to start a business, along with sleepless nights, time without family, and fewer vacations. This was a risk they wanted to take to pursue a dream they were no longer willing to put on hold. That inspired me to support the success of the business. I was often seeking new ways to keep the business running, whether it was learning something new to offer more services, partnering with organizations to work together on larger projects, or attending networking events.
I want everyone to know that investing time in increasing your knowledge base can bring significant results if you apply that knowledge. When I’m asked how I know so much about different topics or industries, my response is that I read articles to stay up to date on market trends, I listen to podcasts from industry experts whose values I respect, and I discuss my thoughts with those whose opinions may differ from my point of view because it helps me view both sides of the discussion and implement strategies of improvement. This is how you build self-worth and a strong community. You engage others from diverse backgrounds and groups, having conversations that can lead to unexpected and beneficial outcomes. Our worth is built on the value we give ourselves and others. We must often ask ourselves questions like, do we want to make ourselves valuable? What can I learn to be of value to this business, my career, or my investment goals? To invest, you have to be knowledgeable in the area of interest, this can decrease your risk and prepare you for any challenges that may come your way.
My second point is that self-worth can lead to net worth. What do I mean by this? Once you are able to recognize the value of your knowledge base and the impact it could have on your future and your community, you can begin to build from it. To compensate yourself and others for the time you’ve dedicated to learning, you must use numbers to measure the return. Identify what you’re hoping to see. For me, it's about the freedom to do and be. I want a flexible schedule that allows me to do planned or unplanned interests, like travel and philanthropy, to be who I am, and to utilize my traits to help other entrepreneurs and the younger generation thrive. I apply numbers to this by understanding how financial independence allows me to live a flexible lifestyle. My self-worth helped me build my net worth. The education I have from all the research I’ve done, the network I’ve built, and the assets I own have all contributed to the future life I want to live. I want to share my journey with others because I know we often need that extra push to pursue the change we want for ourselves and others.
You can follow my journey here: https://vain.blog/
One of my favorite philanthropic experiences was serving on the board of Stars United Global Outreach.