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What should you spend your money on?

Hello friends, and welcome back to episode number 27, getting close now 27 of my 31 day challenge where every single day I am answering your questions about creating a career or a business that you love.

In today's episode, I'm going to answer the question, what should you spend your money on? This is a kind of big picture question. I like it. If you've got a question, you can ask me on social media, my handle on Instagram and Twitter is @alexmakesvr. If you've got a slightly longer question, you can ask it over email alexmakesvr@gmail.com and every single day, I'm sending out a daily newsletter that gives you the inside scoop on my thought processes behind these episodes, some tidbits that come out in the episodes and also just generally to remind you that they're live. So if you want to sign up for that, you can do that at www.alexmakesvr.com.

This is a full transcription of the podcast episode. Instead, listen to it here:

So what should you spend your money on? Oh, my goodness, this is such a great question, and the reason this is a question I've got, that got posted to me quite a while ago, but I was just on my morning walk and something had clicked in my head about something that I've been thinking about buying recently. And I was like, this is the perfect time to answer this question. Because I think my hesitation with answering it originally is because it feels very big and vague. And although money is literally the driver of all of our lives, isn't it? It's like it's the backbone. Anyone that tells you that money doesn't mean anything is a lying toad because money literally makes the world go round, especially in the western world - we are obsessed with money and consumerism and capitalism. And you listening to this, the reason you're probably listening to this is because to some extent, you are interested in making your money in an enjoyable way, something that everyone should be able to do. But then the question is, when you do start making money in a way that you're happy with in your own business, or in a career that you're loving, what's then the best use of that money? I'm sure you've heard me talk about this idea of return on investment or ROI several times throughout this podcast series and although obviously, there is a time and place for just spending money, willy nilly to just kind of treat yourself. Often I am quite even, even as I've kind of grown my company, I am quite careful with what I spend money on. I remember when I first started landing really big projects and I did go through a little bit of a phase to kind of relax and just be like, you know what, I've worked my ass off for so many years for this, I'm just going to treat everyone around me. I remember when Cats Are Not Peas had its first six figure year and I was just so pumped, it felt like such a huge achievement, it felt like I'd like broken my back for years to try and get to that point. And so I took my parents on their dream holiday and I you know splashed out on my friends like in like was buying all the rounds at the pub, which I absolutely loved. And it felt really good to be able to do that. And so there absolutely is a time and a place for that. But now and and prior to that, and what I think most people should be thinking about, generally speaking, aside from you know, spending your money on the stuff that you actually need. What's the best use of your money, especially when you're kind of starting out? What's the best use of your money when it comes to investing in your own business? And this is not going to be like a super practical episode where I talk about, oh, well, first, you need to upgrade your PC to a you know, to have a GTX 1080 graphics card because that will run the rift although not a bad thing to look at potentially and I'm definitely not going to say go out and spend your first paycheck on a new VR headset because you need to upgrade your tech and I think it's interesting because the the thing that sparked me to kind of think about this the thing that kind of clicked in my head whilst I was on this walk and the reason why I'm not doing this episode is I've been really thinking recently about sleep and how important sleep is.

So, when we're talking about a return on investment, I think a lot of people think like what's the course of action, that I can buy that's gonna I'm going to pay £200 pound and I'm going to make £5000 back so it's like that is like a really solid ROI. But what people are a bit less good at is looking at more holistic things that do have ROI but it's just not as direct. So for me sleep at the moment is like a bitch. Like, I just for some reason I just can't get like a really good night's sleep, you know, when you just know when you wake up from those, like a really deep sleep and you're just like, you just feel refreshed and you feel like ready to go. I've not had one of those night's sleep for a long time. And it could be everything that's going on in the world, you know, a combination of anxiety and the fact that it's a bit hotter and muggy now, so maybe it's like changing sleep conditions like there's there could be a load of things going on, it could because I have like an obscene obsession with drinking water throughout the days, I'm constantly needing to go to the loo...like, it could be a number of things. But I've really started to think about,

okay, the a little bit of money that I set aside every month to invest in things, and I have like a little pot every month in the business that is literally for investments and it's funny because you think like - well, you know, you'd think the traditional investment would be like, say...buying a new camera or buying a new laptop or upgrading that phone, whatever it is. But actually, the way I think about it is if I'm more well rested, if I have a better night's sleep, I'm going to be way more focused throughout the day, I'm going to be generally a nicer person, because we can all get a bit ratty when we've not had enough sleep. And that's going to make me feel bad, which then puts me in a bad mindset, which means I'm not going to be the bright ray of sunshine that I usually am when I'm talking to colleagues or friends or family or clients. The ROI of sleep could literally be one day being in a bad mood and doing something wrong and that one thing snowballs and becomes the thing that means you lose a client, you know.

So when you start to look at like the big picture of the ROI of sleep, it's actually quite important. And obviously I'm using sleep as the example that I'm thinking about at the moment but this can be applied to any number of things like...taking a vacation or starting to build like health and fitness habits like whatever it may be like there are, everything is symbiotic. It's not like you have work in life separate. I think that's a big myth. People think about like the work life balance as if they're two separate identities. They're not, you're the same person. It's just looking at kind of how they intertwine and how they affect each other.

So to bring it back to what kind of sparked the inspiration to take on this question today. I've been really looking at the aura ring. Now, I like most of you listening and I am an absolute tech fanatic. I love technology. Like one of my money dials, which is a concept I believe coined by a guy called Ramiz Satie, who if you've not read, if you don't know about him, he's an influence the works in the personal finance space, he wrote a book called "I will teach you how to be rich" it's all about dialling in your personal finances, it's really good, highly recommend. And the idea of a money dial being like, this is the thing that you naturally just always want to spend money on. So for some of my friends, they're obsessed with like clothes, or they're obsessed with, like home furnishings. And for me, I've never been interested in any of that really, probably because I grew up in a house with entrepreneurs, especially working in the creative industries. We've always as a family been obsessed with technology, always have the latest games consoles always have the latest laptops and gadgets and all of that stuff. So I am one of those people where if I'm going to spend money frivolously it's probably going to be on tech. And I'm that person that as much as I know it's not it's not the difference between a good quality production and not by I'm that person that watches, the latest reviews on the Sony, a seven, five or whatever it is on now all those kinds of things. I'm sure a lot of you can relate to this. So my instant instinct when I was thinking about sleep and thinking about improving the quality of my sleep was like, let me go find a piece of tech that can do that for me.

So I find the aura ring. And you know, I hear about it being the best best on the market for sleep tracking. Really high spec checks, your temperature can tell you all about like your heart rate, heartbeats and all that kind of thing. It can look at how well you're sleeping, what different cycles of sleep you're having and then it can kind of gamify almost sleep and it can kind of teach you or give you some tips on how to how to promote better sleep and that kind of thing. So for about maybe a week or two, I've been like looking at this ring and because I now have these systems in place with myself where if I want something I have to wait until it fits in the investment budget. And be until I have to wait at least a couple of weeks just to see if it was like an impulse buy like I don't want to fall into that trap. I want to make sure that if I wanted, if I'm still thinking about a couple of weeks later, I probably wanted it probably wasn't an impulse buy. So anyway, it's been two weeks. I'm still thinking about that and I'm like - yeah, I think I'm gonna get it, I think I'm gonna, I'm gonna treat myself to this ring. I mean, it seems ridiculous to spend about 300 quid on like a ring, essentially but it's like got the most advanced sensors. And I'm trying to convince myself that I'm like, you know, the ROI of sleep is so important to me, I believe in that if I have better sleep quality, I'm going to this is going to be a positive investment for both the business and myself and the people around me. So I should, yeah, I should invest in this rain. I mean, I don't know why this came up, but I was, I was just like, on one of my morning walks. And this is why I love money wise, because it makes you kind of think about lots of different things. But I was listening to podcast and all of a sudden it clicked in my head, like, why am I spending 300 pounds on a ring? That's going to tell me what I already know, which is that I'm not sleeping well and actually, wouldn't it be better to put that 300 pounds towards actually trying to improve my sleep? So instead of spending 300 pound on a little bit of tat, that's going to tell me like - oh, this is all the proof that you're not sleeping...well, which I already know instinctively? Why don't I spend that 300 pound on buying new pillows, buying a different like weighted duvet? Because I have it that's like supposed to like improve sleep quality? Why don't I invest in some blackout curtains? Why don't I invest in like a cooling kind of like mat, which Tim Ferriss kind of raves about in terms of like getting your, I didn't know how much body temperature like massively affected the kind of sleep you have. But apparently, that's a very big thing and all of these little things, and I suddenly had that shift. And I was like - yeah, that makes so much more sense. Why would I invest in Japan in a piece of tech, to tell me what I already know, when I could spend 300 pound which will go a long way in terms of like buying bits and bobs for the bedroom to try and make it a bit more training? To basically trial and test ways of actually improving my sleep quality rather than rather than just reaffirm what I know and having a cool piece of tech to show and I thought about that. And I thought how it's funny that we fall into these traps with spending money of again, it's it sometimes we look at things a bit too, especially in the tech industry. We go - oh yeah, but I want especially because you're a bit more science and data driven, I want a piece of tech that's gonna kind of do that. For me, I want a piece of tech like so that I can understand all the data behind it, I want want to invest in a camera that's got the highest spec because it's going to like improve like the megapixels of my photos, I want to invest in the new rift because it's got higher pixel density in the lenses, which means that you know, everything...the Beat Sabre again, more localised, so much more crisp, it's got higher field of view, so I'll feel more immersed, like, we think about tech in these. And general investments in this thing of like, the technicalities, like the we think about it in terms of this quantifiable, almost vanity metric situation, when actually, if I was advising you, if I was your business coach, and you were telling me I've just made 500 pound, like profit off this recent client job and I'm thinking about upgrading my Theta Zed want to, I mean, 500 pounds, not going to get you an instant 360 Pro, but like, let's say an imaginary world, it's like...I'm going to spend it on buying the the 360 part. Because you know, it's bette, it's better quality. I don't know whether that statement is true, by the way. Just to clarify, it's been a while since I've worked with either of those cameras, but you know, they're always better quality and it will make me look more professional. And if I was that, if I was your business coach, I would say - hang on a second, let's let's take a step back. How good are your photos at the moment? Would that 500 can be better spent buying yourself a train ticket to go to some epic photographers meet up? Where you can have like a whole day playing around with the camera? Why don't you, instead of spending that 500 pound on a new piece of tech, which means that you've got 500 less pounds in your bank account, which means that you're going to take on another new job more like more quickly than maybe you need to why don't you put that 500 pound invest in your own time and have a week where you don't need to work because then you maybe invest in some time to just practice with your camera and get better at the shots or maybe spend that 500 pounds on a passion project which is going to boost your happiness? It's going to run reinvigorate your excitement, which is then going to bleed into your client work, there are so many other things that that 500 pounds would be better spent on.

We are so indoctrinated into this consumerism behaviour of like...gotta have new things got to have it now, like, buy the new tech. That is literally how we're being programmed. And especially, you know, that's all consumers are being programmed that way. But especially as in the tech industry, we are super sensitive to it, because we are working with this stuff day in, day out and we're constantly aware of all the new things coming out and all the latest upgrades and feeling like we're behind, because there's always something new that you could have.

Actually taking a little step back, giving yourself that breathing room like I did. So I would highly recommend implementing some kind of price like that every time your trigger finger goes to that checkout button on Amazon, just save it for later instead, that's what I do I add it to my basket. And I save it for later and if I'm still thinking about it a week or two later, then I'll revisit. And then I'll, you know, I've kind of learned to have a little pot of money aside that I know specifically I can spend on investments. And so does it fit in that investment this month? I've thought about it for two weeks, then this is the bigger one right? Is it going to have an actual impact? Is it going to improve anything? So me with the tech ring, I mean, yeah, I'd probably like get that little thrill when you get a new piece of tech and you start to learn it and it's like got a cool app and oh, it's like, now I can go on all these forums and see what other people are doing with their aura rings and like - oh, cool, you get that little like that kick out of a new piece of tech, don't you? That little kind of dopamine hit. But actually, what's it actually improving other than my own knowledge on the fact that I'm sleeping badly, which I already know, as a thinking human that can acknowledge, hey, I'm not getting good sleep.

So yeah, having a think about what can I actually invest in is actually going to push me forward and it's funny, because I'm thinking about, like, what the next month looks like for this podcast. As we're coming to the end of that one day challenge about answering questions about business and career, I'm thinking about, well, what do I go do going forward? And is this format sustainable? Are there enough? Of course, there's like endless business questions. So I'm very happy to carry on doing this. But I've been thinking about also some like fun, like mini series that I can do within the podcast. And one of them is like, what is the ROI of dot dot dot? And then every episode might be what is the ROI of a new camera? What is the ROI of a holiday? What is the ROI of blah blah blah and I can rationalise all of those things. And I can tell you that even, I don't know how many of you watch Gary Vee, but he famously always talks about like, what's the ROI of your mother and it's like such like a bold statement. It's such like a word, like those two things shouldn't be in the same sentence together, but when you start to actually dig deep into that, what is the ROI of your mum? And, like, for me, like the ROI of my mom is like, insane. Like she's like, literally shaped me into the person that I am today. Like, I wouldn't be who I am without her. Like, when I think about, you know, am I going to buy her coffee next time we go out like, post COVID? Or should I be buying the dinner or when I go over there. It's like, of course, because like this woman gave me life and not only did she give me life, she supported me in like the most crazy endeavours and has always like, been there for the highs and the lows and has been fiercely protective and loyal. And all of those amazing things that I'm very fortunate to be able to say of course, like, there's people in the world whose ROI of their mother is negative, which is horrible to say, but it's true. Like if you have a bad relationship with that parent, like how has that shaped you how, what insecurities do you have? Because of that which make it harder to flourish in things like business, in life, even like for example, the ROI of a friend. So I have a friend who I work with quite regularly and she's a very very very, very talented writer and when I needed some some help with some articles that I was writing recently - I was like okay, cool, let's do a deal and, you know, we'll have x amount of articles and I'll pay you this much money. She's like, no - I don't want your money, like I don't. I don't need your money and I was like - you're gonna take this money, because I want to, I want to pay you for your services like you're super talented writer, I don't want you to do this for free, even though I know you would, and I appreciate the offer and it tells me what kind of person you are, the fact that you would want to do this for free, but I do want to pay you. And when she was kind of like really being defensive, and like trying to not take the money, I said -you know, what return on investment I've got from having you as a friend, do you know the ROI positive effect that you've had on my life? You know, and if people don't think about ROI, and return on investment in that way, they automatically think about money. But for her, I was saying, you know, the ROI of having you in my life is you completely when we met, when we were teenagers, you completely change my mindset on the world. I was on a path where I was like chasing fame and fortune and I had this big idea of like, I'm going to go to acting school and being an actress, and, you know, I'm going to go and conquer New York City, like all these big wishes, you know, I mean, no shade, but that probably would have easily been an interesting path for me to follow, like, not saying that I'm not saying that that wasn't necessarily possible. But at the same time, like, when she came into my life, and totally changed the way I saw the world and change what kind of I didn't know, she almost like pulled the veil off a little bit, and showed me a different side of the world that hadn't really seen before, because I was so comfortable in my own little bubble, it's so important to have people in your life that do that, that challenge you, that challenge your world perspective. I can literally pinpoint that, though, that kind of those teenage years and the way that we interacted and the things that she would kind of like that she would instil in my mindset that have literally gone on to, to pivotally change decisions that I made in my career, like years and years later.

So again, like for someone like her, I'm like, you're gonna take this money for these articles, because literally, it's almost like, you had equity, you had skin in the game, like in my business in my career, from when we were teenagers and so if you had made like a physical financial investment in me when we were 15 years old, you'd be very rich woman right now, because you would own a percentage of the empire that I'm building and when she like, when she heard that, when she heard we put it that way. She was like, wow, wow, I never thought about that. Obviously, she was also touched, because, you know, very sentimental, but that's the way you're going to think about things as well, you're going to think about. What's the ROI of like some of the relationships in your life? Some of the friendships, some of the networking that you do? And this, this is also kind of all ties back to the whole, like doing stuff for free thing again, it's like, what's the ROI of that future relationship that you're gonna have with that person, or that client or whoever it might be just by being by showing up being a nice person and going the extra mile? But the ROI of that is not necessarily...it could be directly directly related to money eventually, but also, there's something bigger there too.

So the next time you go in, spend some money on some new tech, just pause, wait, wait, wait a couple of weeks. See if it was an impulse buy, but also really seriously think about like, Is there something else I could spend that money on that would have more of an ROI down the line? If I spent that extra 500 quid on a family on a family holiday? What's the ROI of that? Well, I'm going to be happier, I'm going to be less stressed. I'm going to have beautiful memories with my family. That's going to make them happy, which makes my life easier going forward as well. I'm going to come back fiercer and fight and also I'm giving my headspace to kind of have some more creative thoughts and get out of the kind of the day of day to day stuff that plagues a lot of my creativity. I there's so many things that are non business expenses that you could invest in, that would have a massive benefit on your business. So have a think about that and I hope that this kicks off your Monday with a bang.

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