Starting a new business feels quite overwhelming. Where do you begin? Where do you focus your energies?
Where, and on what, do you spend your money?
Ah, money. There’s never enough of it. The temptation to pay a pro to take over some of your business tasks can be overwhelming.
But should you give in?
Like most things, there are no easy answers to this question, but I do have some thoughts.
Just How Much Money Should You Spend To Make Money?
You’ve heard the saying: You have to spend money to make money. And it’s true. But it should be done carefully.
Start by doing things you’re able to do yourself. Slow down, breathe, and do your research.
As a startup small/online business, you likely aren’t flush with cash. Plus, your confidence may not be sky high. There are plenty of so-called experts out there more than willing to take advantage of your naivete.
I’ve learned that a bit of homework and research can prevent a financial disaster caused by falling prey to unethical pseudo experts.
When you’re just starting your small business, you’re not yet well versed in things like website design or content and social media marketing.
Hiring a pro to handle these business tasks for you probably seems like a no-brainer. But, in fact, there’s much you can — and should — do on your own before spending money.
The Money Pit
There is absolutely no end to the number of experts out there, claiming to hold the keys to your success.
Some are excellent. Others are scams.
Training classes, website design, individual business coaching, conferences, for example, abound. Some are worthy of your dime, at the right time in your business growth.
Others, not so much.
And it’s easy to spend thousands and thousands of dollars on so-called expert services, with little, if any, return on investment. Add a reluctance to quit too soon, and it’s easy to see how it can quickly add up.
And up and up and up.
The Two Most Common Reasons New Business Owners Overspend
With a little time and patience and some hard work, you can get the ball rolling in your startup business, allowing you time to identify where and when to hire help, which you will want to do eventually.
So why do so many small/online business owners too quickly pay experts for nearly every aspect of their business building?
Good question. I have a few theories. Well, two, in particular:
- They feel it’s necessary to avoid mistakes and sidestep pitfalls.
- It makes them feel like they’re doing something tangible toward growing their business.
Both of these reasons bear closer inspection.
Avoiding mistakes and pitfalls sounds great, but professional involvement or not, they’re going to happen. And paying someone before you know if you should is a good way to pay dearly for these mistakes.
Certainly you’ll eventually want to hire professionals to handle some of your business tasks. But doing your homework early on will provide a clearer picture of where you need help.
As for the feeling that you’re doing something toward business growth by hiring experts, that’s bogus. It lets you off the hook. It allows you to step aside and justify your expenditure while you avoid reality. It feels like you’re doing something, when all you’re doing is spending money. At least identify where you should spend your money beforehand.
4 Simple Ways To Be Money Wise
Here are a few simple ideas I have to help you get a solid business start without blindly throwing money away.
Start small. Begin by identifying your target audience. Who are they? What do they need? What are their pain points?
A bit of online research will help you identify your ideal audience and how to provide value to them. Join some free or low-cost membership sites that cover this topic. Absorb their posts. These sites can be great training sites if you tap into them. Later, you can purchase a training course or program. But start small.
Build your own website. Building your own site is not as hard as you think. WordPress is the best place to start. And I will advise you to skip the free version. Otherwise, you’re digitally sharecropping, a risky endeavor.
Purchase a simple theme and choose your domain name.
Both WordPress and hosting sites provide support and documentation to help you set up your site. Likely you can get your site live in a few hours, without paying a web designer hundreds or thousands of dollars to build one for you.
I like the Studio Press themes, and their themes come with excellent documentation that walks you through the process. But there are others that are easy to set up and look great. Just explore and pick what is a good fit for your business.
Simple is best. No need for a fancy schmancy theme. Later, you may want to upgrade. Then by all means, find a good web designer to help you. But early on, you can do this yourself.
Do some online training. You can find a host of online training courses that are relatively inexpensive. The websites you follow for information probably offer free training. Start there. Later on, spring for more advanced training when you have a better idea what you need. You’ll be less likely to waste money.
Do your own blogging and content creation. This advice may sound strange coming from someone who provides this service. But again, start small. One of the benefits of the startup phase is you’ll have more time to devote to this task.
A skilled content marketer is worth their weight in gold. They’re skilled at business writing and content marketing. They understand SEO (search engine optimization) and keywords and how to address your target market effectively. But you can build your foundation first and hire a content marketer down the road.
Don’t sign up for every single offer you see. The ability to exercise restraint in the face of so many internet offers may be your most valuable business skill. You have to be smart when it comes to marketing resistance.
I’ve seen people spend well into the thousands, every month, for expensive individual coaching, mentorships, and the like. Undoubtedly some of these are excellent services. But it’s also where you’re most likely to find snakes in the grass.
These online services are where I’m convinced it’s the hardest to separate the wheat from the chaff.
My advice here is to move slowly. Do plenty of online, independent research. Ask yourself if what you’ll receive is something you’re unable to learn yourself. Will you even complete the program?
You have no idea how many unopened programs and training courses are purchased and never completed. Many never even get opened.
And please, please, please do yourself a favor and don’t sign up for multiple programs like these on impulse.
Some unscrupulous people are very adept at separating fools from their money. They come in all manner of elaborate, convincing disguises. Research, explore, and think about potential purchases before buying
If you lose interest, that’s a sign you should keep your money.
When You’re Ready For Expert Advice
Expert help can be, and often is, highly valuable. But I’ve seen too many small business owners burn through money faster than a brush fire in a dry field, with negligible results.
Don’t fall for every sales pitch you see because, believe me, you’ll see plenty. Do your homework.
Do your research.
Identify your strengths and weaknesses as well as your interests.
Start outsourcing slowly and carefully.
Don’t jump at the first thing you see.
And when you do spend money, do it wisely.
And suffer no regrets.
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