Entrepreneur

Frugal Habits of Successful Entrepreneurs: When it Makes Sense to Invest

When starting a new business, there are approximately 1 bagillion things that you think you need (mostly because it’s Google’s job to tell you that you need these things). A website, photos, branding, a VA for your email or social media, a logo, business cards, ads, marketing, and an assistant whose only job is to make sure your wine glass is always full (wait, is that just us?).

Sure, in a dream world you could come right out of the gates and hire out for #AllTheThings so you could just create pretty things.

Wake up, sister.

That mentality is a surefire way to run your business right into the ground. 

When starting a new business, there are approximately 1 bagillion things that you think you need (mostly because it’s Google’s job to tell you that you need these things). A website, photos, branding, a VA for your email or social media, a logo, business cards, ads, marketing, and an assistant whose only job is to make sure your wine glass is always full (wait, is that just us?).  Sure, in a dream world you could come right out of the gates and hire out for #AllTheThings so you could just create pretty things.  Wake up, sister.  That mentality is a surefire way to run your business right into the ground. | Think Creative Collective

First, here’s what we’re not saying:

  • We’re not saying that hiring out or outsourcing isn’t smart (holy moly, our team is amazing);
  • We’re not saying that you shouldn’t invest in anything (especially when you’re a baby business), and
  • We’re not saying that you don’t need these things (keep reading though). 

Here’s what we are saying:

  • Investing in #AllTheThings before it makes sense will put you in debt faster than your iPhone runs out of memory;
  • Investing in some things before you even know how they work and affect your business is a total waste of money;
  • Doing the work and wearing the hats makes you a better business owner (and delegator), and
  • Running a debt free business is not out of the question or beyond your ability. 

So are we on the same page? Are you still with us? Okay.

Here’s the main thing we’re saying. If you only read one thing make it this:

Your business doesn’t run because of its website, its logo, its branding, its images, its copy, or its whatever.

  • Your business runs from a plan.
  • Your business knows where to go if you know how to lead it.
  • Your business blossoms out of action steps, strategy and plain old doing the freaking work. 

There are too many stories of successful businesses that ran without a website or a great product images or a custom logo for us to tell you that you absolutely need those things (and heck, we even used to sell those things!). 

So let us give you a little timeline into our own business investments so you can understand our this can work for you.

March 2015: 

  • Invested in Squarespace (blogging was a strategy and we needed a website to do that);
  • Did our own website design and images (it helps we are a designer and photographer);
  • Wrote our own copy for everything, and
  • Used the free version of MailChimp for our email marketing. 

June 2015:

  • Invested in WebinarJam - around $450/year (webinars were a strategy and this helped make it easier);
  • Invested in Leadpages - around $200/year (this helped make the conversions for our webinars better);
  • Hacked MailChimp to continue to use the free version, but delivered a link to a page we made on our website that held all our freebies, and
  • Sold our first webinar ever and made the money back to pay for both WebinarJam and Leadpages. 

September 2015:

  • Traded services to get headshots taken of the two of us, and
  • Invested in the larger DropBox plan for backup and storage - $9.99/month. 

October 2015:

  • Hacked our website to host our first course. 

November 2015: 

  • Invested in the automation version of MailChimp - around $25/month (so we could deliver automated emails for courses), and
  • This monthly fee kept increasing every month as our list increased and MailChimp counts subscribers multiple times (read about why we left MailChimp here).

December 2015:

  • Launched Biz Chic using TinyPass as a paywall. We DID NOT know what we were getting ourselves into. 

February 2016:

  • Held a co-webinar with LeadPages as an affiliate and got this program paid in full for at least the next 5 years, and
  • Became an affiliate for tools and products we use to bring in a small percentage of commission (see what we use here). 

March 2016:

  • Switched from MailChimp (we were paying $79/month) to ConvertKit (starting at $75/month) - see why we chose ConvertKit here;
  • Became an affiliate for ConvertKit, wrote a few blog posts and held a webinar with ConvertKit and got this program paid in full (plus some) monthly (forever), and
  • Switched our courses from being hosted on our website to Teachable - $299/month (we make way more than that monthly through course sales through Teachable and it’s so much easier than having it through our website). 

June 2016:

  • Invested in team members (copy editing, copy writing, ad specialist, blogging VA), and
  • Invested in Facebook ads (the jury is still out on this one, we feel like the more you spend the more you make, but it’s hard). 

See how it took us a full year to invest in some things that some businesses invest in in their first month? That was intentional. 

See how we invested in systems that could make us money quickly? See how we then became affiliates for them so we could make money and get paid to use them? That was intentional. 

You can do the exact same thing.

Take a look at your business and find systems or tools that will make tasks easier. Not a person, but a system. Can you make money from automated email courses? Then maybe you should check out ConvertKit. Can you make money from webinars? Then maybe you need to invest in a webinar hosting platform (read about the different options here).

Yes, we know your time is valuable. We know that you setting up the tech, or responding to emails, or posting to social media might take you a while. But with that you can get faster. You can batch those processes. 

We want you to first do the work and measure your efforts there. Should you be on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter? If we had hired a Social Media VA from day one we wouldn’t know where our audience naturally likes to hang out. We might be paying for efforts that aren’t worth the money to begin with. 

Are you paying for efforts that aren’t worth the money to begin with?

We know that if you are it’s probably because your brain is a hot mess. We know you’re wearing a lot of hats and sometimes it might seem like the solution is to outsource everything so you can lighten your load.

Well, it might be that you just need to get organized. You might just need a better system at doing #AllTheThings so it isn’t time sucking your day. 

Remember when we said investing in systems that will make your job easier, faster or smarter? Yeah, we’ve got the system for you.

That frazzled hot mess ready to drop dollar bills on all the VA’s in the world is exactly why we created Trello for Business

Inside Trello for Business we’re getting you to a better place so you can spend less time being a frazzled hot mess and more time checking things off your list like you're freakin' Santa Claus.

The best thing? It’s only $29 bucks. So you can watch the videos, put the templates in place and save time the very same day. Boom. You’re about to make your money back and then some.

Ready to get started and see what else everyone is saying about Trello for Business?


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