5 Ways to Invest in Yourself and Be More Successful in 2019


By Laura Gayle, Business Woman Guide

May 23, 2019

If you haven't already done so, you can still make 2019 your year to shine. What are the three (or five or ten) things you've wanted to do but previously lacked the motivation or resources to accomplish? Don't let another year go by without improving yourself and reaching some important milestones!

Maybe you need a new certification to stay relevant or advance in your career. It could be time to save up for skis or scuba gear to go on the adventure of a lifetime. Or a revamp of your living space might be in order. Let's explore some of these ideas and others that can help you up your game this year.

Learn a Skill or Get a New Certification

You don't have to change careers to boost your pay and status. Sometimes, certification is all you need to negotiate a raise or move into a more challenging and rewarding position. For instance, if you work in construction or transportation-related industries, getting a commercial driver’s license can make you eligible for a higher paying position, possibly within your own company. Here are some other top picks for advancement:

  • Actuary. This job makes many “best job" lists because it pays well and is typically stable. Actuaries analyze statistical data to forecast liability for insurance companies. The best certification is for the fellow of the Society of Actuaries, which can help you nab an average gross pay of $150,000, compared to $85,700 for professionals in this field not holding that certification.
  • Quality assurance/control inspector. This job involves testing and measuring the quality of materials and products. You can get into this field with just a high school diploma, but certification can really boost your pay. For example, a welder who becomes a certified welding inspector can expect about a 39 percent increase in annual salary.
  • Midwife. Nurse midwives coordinate the birthing process and conduct some gynecological care. For those who already have bachelor’s and master’s degrees, becoming a certified nurse midwife can help boost your pay an average of 36 percent.
  • Health and safety coordinator. Construction jobs have a high rate of injury, so a health and safety coordinator can make a real difference. This job involves collecting and analyzing data related to work environments and their safety procedures. You'll also inspect workplaces for compliance with regulations regarding health, safety, and the environment. To secure a salary jump of about 35 percent from standard construction pay, you can become a certified construction health and safety technician.

There are certifications for many fields, especially those related to technology, medicine and hands-on jobs such as machine operation and driving. Getting a certification is also a great way to explore a new career or reinvigorate your perspective on your original one.

Make Life an Adventure

A digital nomad is someone who freelances remotely with a high degree of flexibility in their scheduling and location. Many jobs such as writing, teaching, programming, and customer service can be performed from anywhere in the world, with the help of a strong internet connection.

Considering the explosive growth in remote work worldwide, it’s not unreasonable to talk to your boss about transitioning some or all of your work to a remote basis. Then, you can go explore the places around the country you've been dying to see — all while plugging in to work every day from your hotel room or Airbnb digs.

For help in making this happen, programs like Remote Year handle the logistics for those who want to explore the world for four months to one year. They handle flights, accommodations, and excursions, so all you have to do is sublet your apartment or rent out your home and go.

Start a New Business

There are several businesses you can start for under $10,000 (and even some for nothing but sweat equity!). Here are a number of feasible business ideas:

  • Landscaping. Landscapers can charge clients $50–$1,000 hourly or by the project, depending on the type of services provided. The simplest jobs are mowing and trimming yards and hedges, while bigger jobs involve installing sprinkler systems or planting and maintaining trees and installations on multimillion-dollar properties. Startup costs can be minimal if you start out humbly and work your way up.
  • Pet services. Dog-walking and pet-sitting are services that are always in demand, especially in neighborhoods where people own pets but work all day. This can be an easy way to make money if you’re patient and organized, and love animals.
  • Resumé writing. if you have a way with words and a passion for helping people realize their dreams, writing resumés might suit you.
  • Running a franchise. If a franchise business is more your speed, you can start a franchise such as Jazzercise classes, vacation concierge services, or cruise planning for $2,500 to $18,000. Some franchise owners allow you to finance the initial franchise fee.
  • Tax refund investment. Another great way to fund your full- or part-time business venture is with an expected tax return. You can use an online tax calculator app to figure out if you are likely to get one, and how much it might be.
  • Inventing. If you have a notebook full of ideas for inventions, find a practical one that you think has a lot of potential and talk to someone — whether an angel investor or a patent attorney — about bringing it to market. Just be sure to protect your intellectual property  (which represents your stake in the profits) before it goes up for sale.

Start the Year Fresh with a Home Remodel

Whether you’ve been putting off gutting an outdated kitchen or just need to paint the exterior of your home, make those home improvements happen! They make you happier with your home and boost its market value. A good place to start is researching online to get ideas for what to change and how to get the job done.

Better Homes and Gardens suggests that one of the most important tips for a home remodel is to hire the right people. This means licensed and insured remodelers with more than three years of experience; a longstanding membership with the National Association of the Remodeling Industry; decent Better Business Bureau ratings; and great customer references.

And when you interview contractors to get quotes, don't just base your decision on the cost. Visit a current job site, if possible, to see them in action. Most of all, listen to your gut. Do you trust this person? The best remodelers communicate easily and clearly, keep a work site neat and organized, prioritize safety, and maintain a low profile when working in a neighborhood.

Invest in a Hobby You've Been Wanting to Try

Life can't be all about making money, so take the time and energy required to put work and attention into yourself, as well. Whether that means shopping for a new wardrobe, joining a gym to lose a few pounds, or following that interest down its pathway: Get started today. Far too many people put their well-being last, often to their detriment and later regret. Try any of these ideas to enrich your skills and self:

  • Dive into a hobby. Each sport and hobby comes with its own world of devotées and details. Take the time off to enjoy a new hobby or to rediscover an old one. Buy skis or scuba gear if that’s what you want, and take yourself into a whole new world.
  • Get crafty. If you knit, bead, or love another craft activity, start or join a hobby group where you can socialize, get inspired, and learn from peers.
  • Take it outside. Spend more time outdoors, whether it’s jogging, hiking, or even drinking a glass of wine on the back deck. Fresh air and sunshine are a great way to start and end each day — even if it's occasionally cold or rainy, and you're just taking the dog around the block.

What might sound like a cliché is absolutely true: Every day presents a new opportunity to change your life and make it better. These are just a few of the ways you can work to achieve goals and dreams that have previously remained only on paper — and become the best version of yourself in 2019!