How to Profit by Investing in Yourself and Your Business
Welcome back - we're here in the 4th and final installment of my “4 Steps to a More Profitable Business” email series.
If you missed the first parts of the series,
here are links to catch up:
- Read Part 1 - Common Profit Myths
- Read Part 2 - Profit from Better Time Management
- Read Part 3 - How Business Systems Can Make You More Profitable
In Part 3, we looked at how systems and processes can save you time and money and thereby, make you a heck of a lot more profitable.
In today's story, we'll finish up with the final step -
MAKING SMART INVESTMENTS IN YOURSELF AND YOUR BUSINESS
While I could write just about investments you can make in your business - I also believe you can thrive and be more profitable if you are taking good care of yourself. So let's look at some ways to both invest in yourself and invest smartly in your business.
To grow your business and make money, you've got to be confident and happy in what you're doing.
If you're not feeling your best and are losing your passion, prospective clients and customers can feel that. Even those you're networking can feel that. It costs you money when you're on the verge of burnout and you're not projecting the energy of a confident business.
If you're feeling this way, I want to encourage you to consider making one or more of these more personal, more individual investments in yourself as an entrepreneur:
- Take at least one full day off coming up - no client meetings, networking, no nothing on the business side of things. Take it off and do whatever you want that relaxes you. Make enough space to get bored and read a book you've been meaning to get to. Block it off on your calendar right now and protect it fiercely - you need it to recharge! I did this the other week and finally got some pictures hung in my house that I'd been meaning to put up for more than 2 years.
- Learn a new skill / take a class! Learn calligraphy (I love Maghon Taylor's classes if you're local to the NC triangle/triad areas), subscribe to Lynda.com and take some online courses on new skill sets for the business, check out your local library and get some new business book reads.
- Give yourself some credit! Take some time one afternoon in the next week to write down all the small win's you've had this month or even this year. Write em on a big sheet of paper and tack it up in your office. You're doing great things - give yourself some credit and keep that reminder right in front of you!
While free tools and resources are great, you can often make more money if you invest in specific tools that save you time.
As you've been hearing throughout this series, so much of the money you keep relates to the time you spend.
I used to hunt down only the free tools, resources, optins, you name it! If it was free I'd use it and if it were $5 a month, no freaking way! But when I think back on those choices, I realized it was silly. Some tools and apps these days can save you a ton of time and aggravation so you can be working with clients and better marketing your business. They are more than worth the relatively low monthly fees they cost.
Last December or so, I built the bullet and got PAID accounts with the following online tools and resources. Beside each are the benefits and bottom line they've delivered to my business, even though they are expenses.
- Gmail for Business ($5/a month) - I so regret not doing this sooner! It's a game-changer to have my professional email through Google. Just getting my personal inbox separate from my business was a HUGE stress relief and helps me get back to my clients faster and with more focus. I use the included GDrive to host client files, share documents, and more. I also create client calendars on the Google Calendar side of things. I'm even considering upgrading to $10/a month for unlimited storage because it's such a great service - one of my best tool investments yet! (Read more about my experience with Gmail for Business here)
- Acuity Scheduling ($10/a month) - Totally genius and saves me hours every week on scheduling! Couldn't love it more. Read more of how I use Acuity here.
- Zoom Video Conferencing ($15/a month) - Zoom is life. I use Zoom for client meetings, screen recordings, and so much more. Discover my love for Zoom and how it can rock your business like it's rocked mine right here.
- SmartSheet ($10/a month) - As I shared in this series and in the past, I use SmartSheet to schedule client projects that can have up to 40 different tasks/deliverables. It allows me to block out holidays and workdays and schedule with just a click. I can even export from it to Google Spreadsheets and Google Calendar!
I've had fantastic experiences with all four of these and they are worth every penny in value of what they deliver to my business. If there's a tool or app you're on the fence about, consider what it may allow you to do to grow the business or how it may free you up! Remember, there are always free trials and you can do monthly vs. annual at first to see if you like the fit of something.
Though it can feel daunting, hiring people can be an incredible and powerful investment.
This is where it's easy to get tripped up. $10/a month for a product? Sure, I get that. But hiring someone.... EEK too much money. Too much commitment.
Hiring someone is daunting and I used to be 100% super duper afraid of it and 100% not interested because I felt I had to do everything myself. Both feelings cost me a lot of money in the past few years, but I had to wait until I was ready.
Here are some things to keep in mind about hiring people and what it can do for growing your business and your profitability:
- You don't have to hire an employee outright - you can hire a contractor, a Virtual Assistant, a strategist, a coach, etc. to help with aspects of your business
- You can just do an initial project to see if it's a fit
- You can do a one-time project just for a bit of help
- You can screen record tutorials to delegate and teach them how to do things, in the case of a VA
- You can learn new skillsets and borrow insights from professionals with different expertise than you
- You can gain assets to your business (like a logo, wording, etc.) that are difficult for you to create yourself that will bring you more and better clients
There's so much the right person or company can do to help you get unstuck, take pressure off of you, and even free you up to work for more clients and customers than you would otherwise.
In the past two years, I've taken the leap and invested in:
- Professional brand photography
- Professional brand videos (watch one here)
- Sales / Business Coaching (VIP Intensive then ongoing monthly coaching)
- Having a workbook designed (could have done but needed the time for client work)
- Marketing strategy
- Hiring a Virtual Assistant and having her do the occasional admin task for me here and here, including setting up my client pages on my website
Has every investment been absolutely perfect? Nope.
Have I gotten something valuable from each one? Definitely.
I don't make business investments lightly, especially in people, and I'm always learning how to make those decisions with more intention so that they are profitable decisions for me.
Here are my tips for investing smartly in professionals for your business:
- If you're starting cold, interview several candidates to have a sense of who might be the best fit (as not everyone will be)
- Ask for personal referrals from people you trust
- Ask any professional you're considering for 2 references whom you can email and/or call
- Then actually check the references! You can learn a lot about fit from being able to ask about someone's process from his/her past client's perspective
- Make sure your understanding is in writing in the form of a contract
- Make sure your goals are clear to the person you're working with
- When considering price and overall investment, think about how much more business you might gain if you invest in their service or help
- Consider a smaller project first if you're unsure to see if you're a good match and getting the value you'd hoped for from the project
I'm back next week with a new series!
Hope you enjoyed this look at four ways to be more profitable in your small business.
REPLY and let me know if you have any questions coming out of this about your business, profitability, or even questions about investing in professional branding (words and graphics for your biz). I'll be happy to answer. And I'll see you next week when we'll tackle a new topic in the world of branding!
- "5 Investments Every Smart Small Business Owner Makes" US News & World Report
- "10 Ways You Should Invest Your Company's First Profits" Entrepreneur