Yeah yeah yeah… I knowwwwww.
Starting a business is hella expensive. And you’re broke.
And there is so much to pay for. But once again – you’re broke.
I UNDERSTAND. When I started my business, I didn’t even have a job. I was racking up debt and was chintzy as fuck when it came to spending any money on anything.
But you know what I did? I picked up my credit card, and I paid Alexandra Franzen $1000 for copywriting. BEFORE I even had a website. BEFORE I even knew what my business was. BEFORE I had any clue what I was doing or how I was going to do it or where it was all going to lead me to.
Could I afford it? Hell no.
Was it the right place to spend what little money I had? Nope, not at all (more on why in a second)
Am I glad I did it? You betcha.
Because here’s the thing – investing in your business changes the game. BIG TIME. As soon as you fork over that money, good things happen. Energetically. And tangibly.
Investing makes you pay attention. Commit harder. Work more effectively.
Because there is nothing worse than spending money on something and getting nothing out of it.
Investing makes you act like a professional business owner, even when your business feels anything but professional.
WHERE SHOULD YOU SPEND YOUR MONEY?
Not all investments are created equal. There is a sequence for what you should invest in first, and second, and third, and so on.
Here is the order:
1. CLARITY. Getting help strategically defining your branding message, knowing your clients, figuring out what makes you different from everyone else who sells what you sell, understanding how to package up and price your work, and making sure that all the foundations are in place. Without this, every other business investment is a waste of money. And without the confidence that clarity brings, you will have a hard time selling anything, forever. Best to get these cleared up right from the get go.
2. WEBSITE + COPY. As soon as you are clear (and confident), you have to look good online. But spending a lot of money on this right away – not a good idea (hence why I said that spending $1000 on copy right away in my business wasn’t the best place I could have invested. It all changed within the first 3-6 months of my business and I had to continuously change it). Not that you have to invest a shit ton of cash right away, but a great WordPress theme and a few hundred dollars for some tweaking by a professional, and a course on copywriting, will go a LONG way.
3. ADDITIONAL SUPPORT + SPECIALIZED TRAINING. Once you’re up and running and things are going smoothly, you will get to a point where doing everything yourself feels like pure hell and you’d rather stick a rusty nail in your eyeball repeatedly than have to learn yet another piece of technology. This is the point when hiring some of your tasks out to an assistant or other contractors and experts is WELL worth the investment. This is also a great time to learn new skills that will help improve your business – Facebook ads training, learning how to sell, new ways of using social media – programs that are specific to what you need now in business.
Are there other places to spend your money? Sure. Business investments are endless and you should always be putting money back in to get more money back out.
INVESTING: A CASE STUDY
I want to look at a case study from a real live Uncage Your Business participant, because I think it tells a PERFECT (and very common) story.
Meet Ffion! (hi Ffion!). Ffion is a super talented web designer over at Kaleidoskop.
I chatted with Ffion recently about what’s happened in her business since she invested in Uncage Your business last year, because she was the first person that came to mind when I was thinking about writing a blog about investing. Ffion almost didn’t sign up because she was flat broke and super stressed about it. So I thought it would be interesting to followup almost one year later and see what she thought NOW.
Here is some of what she had to say about making one of the biggest investments in her business to date!
What was going on in your business before you joined UYB? What were you struggling with that had you decide to join?
Before I joined Uncage Your Business in I was really struggling in my business. I’d hit my lowest point so far since starting out around mid 2012. I’d made some money in the past, but at that time I was pretty much completely out of money, wondering how I was going to pay my bills for the coming month and nearly didn’t join the course for that reason. I had practically no money coming in, the clients I’d worked with in the past had generally been far from ideal, I was creating design work I was less than thrilled about, I lacked confidence about the quality of my work and was seriously undercharging. I was totally fuzzy about my message, the people I wanted to serve and the work I wanted to be doing and was totally clueless about my next steps. I had completely lost all motivation for my business at this point and was kind of ready to give up. I was spending my life just getting through the day and felt completely aimless and out of joy. Everything just felt like a total drag.
Even though you signed up for Uncage Your Business anyway, did you have any fears/doubts about the program, before you signed up?
My biggest worry was, “Would it be worth the money I put in? Could yet another online course make the difference that all the others hadn’t?” It was the most money I’d invested so far for a business course so I was really on the fence about the whole thing.
I decided I’d be out of money within the next two months either way and took the leap!
Now that you’ve been through the course, can you talk a little about how you feel about those fears and doubts now, looking back?
Uncage Your Business was a totally awesome experience! The course packed way more value than I’d ever expected.
The course has paid for itself over and over again, and I’d made my original spendings back within a couple of months, and since then the motion that kicked off from there has never stopped. UYB was the trigger that finally got me moving forward, and finally moving forward in the right direction due to my new-found clarity.
I started booking ideal clients for the first time ever and suddenly remembered why I thought design was fun in the first place. Work was suddenly FUN again. I actually started to enjoy my business for the first time.
Now looking back over the past year, I am totally in awe to see how much has changed and am pretty gobsmacked about all the stuff that has happened, all the awesome people I’ve connected with, the opportunities that have come up, and all the changes for the better that have been happening in my business. I don’t think all this progress would have been possible without your help. I’ve returned to the course material several times and have gained new insights and ideas every time.
Uncage Your Business is THE best thing I’ve done for my business so far and I’d totally consider doing it again if I felt I was stuck in the mud all over again. Hasn’t happened yet though :)
I’m actually glad I was worried about the money originally, because investing so much money meant a much bigger investment from myself. I’d put skin in the game so I was sure as hell going to show up, do the work and get as much value as possible out of it. When you go all in and do the work magic happens. I cannot believe how far I’ve come, and I feel right now is just the beginning. Can’t wait for 2015. It’s going to be awesome.
I’m sharing this with you not because I want to show you how awesome UYB is (even though it is), but because this kind of response is SO common with new business owners who are afraid of investing. Reading back over Ffion’s answers, it’s pretty damn clear that her investment has not only paid off financially several times over, but that her happiness, excitement for her business, confidence in selling, and hustle have all been HIGHLY impacted.
Based on how she was feeling before, how much money do you think she would have made this year without this investment? How excited do you think she’d be about her work? I mean, she’d already invested a TON in other courses that got her nowhere. Ffion was literally about to quit and give up before she invested. And now she is booked up in advance and rocking it HARD
THIS is the amazingness that is possible when you take the time and money to invest and do the work on the core of your business. It builds you a more solid, sustainable business in the future.
I truly believe that every business can’t afford NOT to invest.
How much money is it costing you NOT to invest in your business? How many months have you spent staring at blank screens and going in circles and being frustrated that you’re not getting anywhere and you don’t know what you’re doing? Assume $2000/month for what, 3? 6? 12? months of not getting anywhere… Do some of the math… and then tell me that you can’t afford to invest.
PS. If you’re hell yeah-ing to needing to set a solid foundation in your business, Uncage Your Business is running again in September and will be open for registration August 10 (and earlier, with a special bonus, if you’re on the interest list. Sign up here.)