Spending money on your business can be hard. Especially when you are first starting out and have little-to-no money coming in. Most entrepreneurs spend their first couple of years just trying to get by, which can often mean you’re not investing anything back into your business. You’re cutting corners every chance you get in order to keep your business afloat. Trust me, I get it.
Have you ever considered that investing in your business could potentially set you up for greater success? If invested in the right areas, you could actually see more benefit and more income than if you hadn’t spent any money at all.
I am a firm believer in, “you get what you pay for.” Sometimes exactly what your business needs is a little TLC and blind faith that it will all pay off in the long run.
So now that you’ve decided it’s ok to invest in your business, the larger question is where to spend your money.
I have a few rules of thumb for this one.
You should Do It Yourself when...
- You know how to do it well and it's in your area of expertise. (For me this is design, product photography, organizing + planning.)
- You are interested in learning more about the topic so you can perform the task moving forward. (My examples are social media and marketing.) If you have interest and would find it valuable to have knowledge in the area, you may want to spend some time familiarizing yourself with the subject.
You should invest in a program or platform when you are certain...
- It will cause you to be more organized/efficient in that area. (ex: Buffer for scheduling social media)
- It will help you not dread or procrastinate that particular task. (ex: ConvertKit for email marketing)
- It is a necessity in order to do your job. (ex: Adobe Creative Suite, MacBook)
- It will create a streamlined workflow (ex: 17hats for project management, invoicing, bookkeeping, etc.)
- It will generate clients and/or income. (ex: Facebook Advertising,)
You should hire someone to perform a service when:
- You feel overwhelmed by it and find yourself procrastinating the task. (ex: Attorney, legal work)
- You have no desire to learn that particular skill. (ex: Finances, accounting)
- You are struggling to complete a task necessary for your business to move forward. (ex: company name, branding, website, writer/editor)
- You are unable to find the information or answers you need in order to complete a task. (examples may include: Analytics, SEO, website coding)
Three things I think are always worth investing in:
1 | A great website
Investing in a website can mean two things:
1. Paying for a platform that requires a monthly or yearly fee.
2. Hiring a professional to design it
If you already know how to create a beautiful, efficient website—more power to you! You can save some money by setting it up yourself. You may want to consider using a paid platform like Squarespace so you know you're getting a high-quality, user friendly site. In my opinion, their user interface, sleek designs and customer support makes Squarespace worth the investment over other free platforms.
If you do not have the knowledge to create your own site—or the time to learn—I would suggest hiring a professional. Your website is the face of your business, especially if your focus is primarily online.
2 | Professional Photography
Quality photography is not only undervalued, but it's completely necessary in order to create a professional brand and website. Photography can make or break a good website design. Whether the photos are head shots, images of your studio or products, spend the money to hire a professional photographer. If money is tight, you could also consider a services swap with a local photographer.
3 | Education
Learning is crucial for growth. I recently invested in a course called Freelance Academy. To be honest, it was more money than I felt comfortable spending at the time. But let me tell you—I am SO glad I did it. I learned so many valuable things about streamlining my workflows, communicating better with clients, pricing my services appropriately and setting my business up for success. I came out of that course more confident in myself and in my client process, which for me has been completely priceless. I was also able to book new clients seamlessly thanks to the things I learned through the course.
You really can't put a price on education.
I know it can be hard to find the funds to pay for the products or services mentioned above. However, there are ways to get creative and find wiggle room in your budget.
Try to eliminate paid services if they’re not crucial to your everyday life.
A few luxuries that come to mind:
- gym membership (although I don’t suggest this if you actually USE your gym membership),
- monthly shopping sprees
- maid or cleaning service
- Hello Fresh or Blue Apron
- Eating out frequently
I decided to give a few of these things up in order to pay for a ConvertKit subscription.
Also, you could try selling things on Ebay or craigslist. A couple times a year, my husband and I go through our house and find anything we don’t need or use frequently. We decide if the items have any value and then list them for sale online. Yes, it takes effort, but it’s an easy way to bring in additional cash to spend on the items we do need/want. Plus it declutters your home which is always a bonus in my book!
Collect pocket change! We have a jar of coins in our house made up of overflow from pockets and heavy wallets. Once the jar gets full, Jordan rolls the coins and takes them to the bank. Last time he went, he came home with $80 cash! It’s a super easy way to bring in fun money or to pay for that $5 per month subscription you’ve been dying to sign up for.
It’s all about prioritizing and deciding where to allocate your budget. What are some things you’ve invested in that have been well worth the money?