You’ve Gotten This Far on Free or Low Cost Solutions
One of the advantages of starting an online business is it doesn’t require a lot of capital up front. Website software like WordPress is free and open-source. Hosting only requires you spend a few dollars each month. There are even free and low cost shopping carts making inexpensive to start selling your own products.
How Have You Kept Your Costs Low?
You may have started your business on a shoestring budget, too. You did it because you were a struggling single parent who couldn’t afford to invest in your business. Maybe you just wanted to prove that your business could be built on a tiny budget.
If you didn’t know how to do something, you looked up tutorials on YouTube or you bartered with another entrepreneur. You became a master at DIY for just about everything. From your website to your graphics and social media content, you’ve handled all of it.
Is It Time to Invest in Your Development?
The problem with this approach is that it can make you hesitant to invest any of your money back into your business. You probably have money set aside for necessary expenses like taxes or domain names. But you may believe you don’t have enough money to invest in developing yourself as a business leader.
Kelly McCausey of Love People + Make Money (and owner of Mom Webs) started her home-based business when she was broke and in debt. After Kelly paid off her debts, she decided to take the money she was sending to bill collectors and invest 25% of her earnings back in her business.
She used that money for things like attending conferences, hiring a coach, and starting her own podcast. Eleven years later, she now re-invests closer to 10% of her earnings. She makes it a priority to regularly invest in her self-development.
How Much Should You Set Aside?
Now, Kelly advises online business owners to set aside a percentage of their income to invest. She says, “As your income grows, the amount grows with it.”
Understand that the amount you put into savings is going to change depending what season you’re in. If you’re a struggling single parent just trying to keep food on the table, it may not be realistic to set aside a goal of saving back twenty thousand dollars.
But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t save something. Even if all you can set back is $5 right now, go ahead and do it. Put that money in your savings account. In the coming months, you can slowly add a few more dollars here and there. It might not seem like much right now but it will grow over time.
Creating an online business using only free or low cost solutions is admirable. But if you notice you’ve stopped leveling up, it’s a sign that you need to start investing in your development. The more you invest, the more you’ll experience growth, both personally and professionally.
What Money Blocks Are Keeping You From Investing in Your Business?
Tiffany had been running a successful online business for several years. She had good clients who respected her and her customers enjoyed her products. But for some reason, she couldn’t seem to take her business to the six figure mark.
So, she booked a session with a coach she’d always wanted to work with. During their time together, Tiffany discovered she had several money blocks that were keeping her business stuck.
It took a few months and several phone calls with her coach, but Tiffany began to see big increases in her earnings. By the end of the year, she’d successfully crossed into the six figure level she’d dreamed of.
Can you relate? You want your business to go to the next level but you can’t seem to do it. You feel frustrated and overwhelmed. Like Tiffany, you may be dealing with a money block. There are some common money blocks that all entrepreneurs encounter. See if you recognize one of these thoughts:
Money Block #1: I Don’t Deserve Money
Feeling unworthy of money is a common complaint. Maybe you don’t feel worthy because you grew up with parents who were neglectful. Perhaps you had a significant other who used money to control you. You felt like a burden then and you still do now.
What you have to understand is that you’re already worthy. You deserve the money you’ve earned. You deserve to be paid for your services and treated respectfully by your clients. You deserve the income you make from the products you’ve created.
Money Block #2: I Can’t Be Wealthy
You tell yourself you can’t be wealthy because you didn’t come from money. You say that you don’t make enough because you never got a college education. You think that you can’t earn more money because everyone in your family is poor.
These money blocks keep you trapped where you are. In order to be wealthy, you have to first believe it’s possible. Believing it’s possible doesn’t mean that you’re going to suddenly become a millionaire. It just means that you’re open to the possibility of wealth.
Money Block #3: I Would Settle for $[XX]
You see business owners making high six figures and tell yourself you’d be happy with just a fraction of that. You say things like, “If I could just make $30K a year from my business, I’d be good.”
The problem with this kind of thinking is that you’re so focused on a certain number that you don’t aim any higher. You set the bar so low that you’re never disappointed. But what would happen if you did? What if you challenged yourself to double that number?
It’s true that you may not make $60K this year. But how will you know if you don’t try? What if you did try and made it to $45K instead? Imagine how motivated you’d feel to make $60K next year. Don’t be afraid to raise the bar and expect more from yourself.
Money blocks can be tricky to overcome by yourself. That’s why many business owners looking to overcome the reach out to a coach for guidance. A smart business coach can help you work on your mindset and open yourself up to bigger profits.
Smart Investment Steps You Can Take Right Now
You’re ready to get over your money blocks and create a new mindset. But that doesn’t happen overnight. For most of uss, it’s a gradual process of learning how to invest in their business. Begin by making small purchases to better your brand. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
Buy a Book
Non-fiction books are tiny investments in your money and your time. Reach for a book about a business or money topic. If you’re not sure which one to choose go for a book like You Are a Badass at Making Money by Jen Sincero or The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey.
Join a Content Membership
If you struggle with keeping your blog up to date or don’t know what to say in your emails to your mailing list, consider joining a content membership like White Label Perks. These memberships provide you with monthly content in exchange for a small fee.
The important thing is to choose a membership that has content you’ll actually use. If you join a membership for fitness content and you blog in the survival niche, then a lot of the content isn’t going to be relevant to your audience.
Take a Class to Better Your Skills
Every business owner has an area or two where their skills are weak. Maybe you struggle to make graphics or perhaps you can’t master the software that would make your business so much easier to run. Don’t just acknowledge your weaknesses—act on them.
Look around for a class or workshop where you can learn how to improve your skills. For example, if graphics trip you up, take a class on how to use PhotoShop. For other ideas, reach out to your business groups. Ask for a recommendation and see who your community has enjoyed learning from.
Grab Some Image Credits
There are plenty of free photo sites online. But it can be time-consuming to find the exact image you want to post and have to research the usage rights. It’s easier to pop a search term into a stock site and browse a huge collection of images. That’s why paying for image credits like the ones on Deposit Photos is a smart idea. You save time and money when you opt for a royalty-free stock photo.
Upgrade to a Quality WordPress Theme
When you first started out, you may have opted for a free WordPress theme. There’s nothing wrong with using a free theme. But after a few months, you may find a free theme no longer suits your needs.
Now, you could use a landing page to get visitors to sign up for your opt-in gift. You want a theme that’s responsive and doesn’t rely on using an old plugin. You’d like to easily customize your website with just a few clicks.
Go ahead and splurge on a new theme. Not only will your site look great, but you’ll feel more confident and professional with a premium theme, too.
Pay for Premium Plugins
Most WordPress plugins are free and easy to use. But some plugins are premium and worth investing in. For example, Backup Buddy makes a backup copy of your entire website. If your site is ever targeted by hackers or goes down unexpectedly, you can easily restore it within a few minutes.
Many plugin creators release free versions of their plugins. This gives you the chance to try before you buy. If you like what you see, don’t be afraid to upgrade to the premium option.
Big, Bold Investments that Grow Your Business
You’ve been investing in your business in small increments. You bought a premium WordPress theme. You took classes to sharpen your skills. You subscribe to a content membership or you’ve invested in other ways.
Now, you’ve come across a big, exciting opportunity to level up your business. A coach you’ve always wanted to work with started accepting new clients again. The conference you’ve dreamed of attending is offering a payment plan that would fit your budget.
The offer is time-sensitive. You know you have to make a decision but you’re terrified you’ll make the wrong one. Find a quiet space and ask yourself these three questions:
Can I Afford It?
It’s good to stretch financially from time to time. It helps you test your limits and can give you confidence to take other risks. But there are some expenses you should never gamble on like paying rent or keeping your utilities on. You want to invest in your business, not spend the next three months living in your car.
If you really want this opportunity but don’t have the cash, come up with a plan. Look at how you could generate the extra income quickly. You could do this by running a sale, taking on a new client, or pre-selling a product to your mailing list.
Am I Ready?
Before you sign up for this new opportunity, consider if it’s right for you. If you’re just starting your online business then attending a conference that’s geared toward advanced marketers may discourage or confuse you.
Like nature, your business goes through seasons. You might be in a season where you’re hustling to launch a new membership site. If that’s the case, then it may not be the wisest move to join a challenge where participants publish an eBook each week. You won’t be able to give either area your full focus and you’ll feel stressed out trying to do it all.
Can I Make the Time?
You’ll pay for your investment in two key ways—one is with money and the other is with time. That’s why it’s important you consider how much time you’ll need to invest in this new opportunity before you jump in.
Joining a mastermind group might sound fun and you may be able to afford it financially. But how much time will you have to commit to it? If there are long meetings several times a week, will you be able to show up? Will there be homework assignments to complete?
If you’re willing, you can make the time to do almost anything. But you need to sit down and consider what a typical week looks like for you. Ask yourself what you’ll have to give up or move around in order to fully embrace this new adventure.
Try taking a bold step and investing in your business. Then follow through by showing up. Attend the conference. Schedule that coaching call. Watch that video course. Keep taking action and pretty soon, you’ll be unstoppable.
How Do You Measure Returns on Your Investment?
It’s not enough to simply make an investment in your business and hope it turns out well. You need to analyze that investment and make sure you’re getting the most out of it.
But evaluating a coaching service or conference can be challenging. How do you know if you got your money’s worth? Did this opportunity really help you grow? Are you happy with the outcome? If you’re asking these questions, here are four quick ways to measure the return on your latest investment:
You Developed New Skills
You sucked at graphics so you took a class on how to make social-friendly graphics. Now, you know the best sizes for images on Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook. Thanks to the instructor, you also have templates you can easily use to create beautiful graphics again and again.
Learning new skills is fun and keeps you sharp. It also adds value to your business and helps you save time. The more time you save, the more time you can spend working on income-building activities.
You Formed New Relationships
Sometimes, investing in your business is about learning a new skill. But it can also be about forming new relationships, too. A connection you made at a conference may become your best affiliate. A new friend at a seminar could go onto become a beloved mentor. It’s a great feeling when you make an authentic connection as the result of your investment!
You Took on New Opportunities
You joined a six-month challenge where each participant tackled a self-limiting belief. You chose to work on your belief that you couldn’t be a speaker. You started reaching out to people to let them know you were available for speaking opportunities.
As a result, two or three event coordinators asked you to speak at their events. You rocked those speeches and you now have a few testimonials so you can apply to speak at conferences or seminars.
A sure sign that you’re seeing a return on your investment is that you’re leaving your comfort zone to embrace new adventures. Doing new things grows your confidence and inspires you to reach for even bigger goals.
You’ve Grown Your Income
You worked with a great coach and gained a lot of clarity. You hired a specialist in Facebook ads so you could build a big buzz for your product launch. Now, your income is increasing while you’re spending more time on the projects and tasks that light you up.
If You’re Not Seeing a Return…
When you’re not getting a return, it’s time to change courses. Don’t just give up if you’re not seeing results. Instead, look for a different way to invest in your business. Maybe what you really need is a mastermind group so you have more accountability. Perhaps you could benefit more from a specialized consultant instead of a coach.
Business investments can be fun and profitable. But remember to step back and evaluate them afterwards. Take a hard look at what you got out of your investment and what you’d do differently next time around.
And if you’re ready to make a small, but very important and extremely wise investment, I invite you to join me for the I Dare You To Email challenge.