Starting a business is a truly exciting endeavor. I never thought by the age of 24 I’d be running 3 of them. Let’s be real, I’m still winging it a lot of the time but, I’m my own boss and I get to wear all of the hats. Oh, there are so many hats. After juggling those hats for a couple of years I’ve come to learn this; there are 3 overarching ideas that you should definitely invest in when starting a business. These ideas will drive your business forward and lead you on the path to reaching your goals.
I’m going to start this post by mentioning something you should keep in mind. I’m writing this for folks who are on a similar journey as I am…
If you are currently working somewhere full time or even part time, and are seriously considering leaving that job to pursue a creative endeavor – hooray! This post is totally for you.
If you are already pursuing a creative endeavor full time – hooray! This post is totally for you.
By creative endeavor I simply mean something in the realm of: freelance designing or developing, running a small retail shop that specializes in something handmade (think Etsy), lifestyle blogging, photography, etc. You know, all that creative jazz.
Now, let’s talk about investing! See how I tried to make that word less intimidating with the exclamation point? The word invest makes me feel like I should be wearing a business suit and carrying a briefcase full of money into a meeting when in reality I’m wearing patterned yoga pants and watching the groundhogs play in my yard.
Here’s how our friends at Google define invest: expend money with the expectation of achieving a profit or material result by putting it into financial schemes, shares, or property, or by using it to develop a commercial venture.
Okay, that’s fairly easy to understand. Basically, you’re spending money up front and expecting to achieve some sort of end profit or physical result! Annnd, how about we just ignore the final part of that definition. That’s the intimidating invest I’m talking about. These aren’t 3 simple financial schemes, shares, or properties you need to invest in when starting a business – if that’s what you’re looking for you can probably stop reading now.
Here are 3 ideas you should invest in when starting a business. And by ideas I mean mindsets you need to take on in order to be successful! ✨
1. You ARE going to need a little outside help.
Friends, you can not do this all alone! And if you currently are, please share with the rest of us how exactly you are making it work. Like really! I want full details. Your itinerary, your sleep schedule, how many cups of coffee you consume a day… Oh, and where you learned how to be an accountant and what law school you attended. ;)
I am a nerd. I find the logistical detailed work that builds the foundation for the dream to be just as enthralling as the creative work. You know, the nonstop logistical party of tracking expenses + income, contract proposals, project + time management, and so on and so on and so on. However, I am not an accountant and as soon as you put an estimated tax worksheet in front of me, I’m out!
One of the best investments I’ve made so far is having an accountant. I can go see her every quarter with my expense and income numbers in hand. She types on her magic calculator and just like that I have the number I need to (unfortunately) give back to the government. For just $30, all my tax issues are taken care of and all of the headaches are avoided.
If you work for yourself you need to pay quarterly taxes – read this post to understand what that means.
I’m speaking vaguely on this because I haven’t worked with a lawyer yet. *Gasps* I know it’s important as your business continues to grow to invest in one. Often times investing in a lawyer is important to consider even before your brand exists. Use your best judgement, do some research and figure out exactly what you need.
So far, I have filed the paperwork necessary to start my business (mine are all set up as DBA’s at this moment) and I continue to create client contracts and any service terms using online resources + tutorials.
If you have worked with lawyers during your creative endeavor please leave a comment and share your experience!
As much as I don’t want to admit it, there are times when I wish I had more help. If you have enough extra cashflow to hire someone to work on the tasks you either don’t have time to do, or simply aren’t good at, do it!
2. Having the proper tools makes all the difference.
A professional photographer isn’t using an iPhone to capture portraits. A professional carpenter isn’t using their son’s toy hammer to build a house. You have to invest in the proper tools – so you are actually able to be good at your job.
Here are just a couple examples of the tools I invested in and why I did so.
27 Inch Apple iMac Computer
My husband and I joke that this is our first child. It’s big, beautiful and I treat it with the utmost respect and care. If your investing a large chunk of your hard earned money on something, you better believe you’ll want to take care of it – and make it last!
I went with the biggest iMac possible because I knew that would allow me to be the most productive. Oh, and my laptop crapped out on me. It survived 4 years of hard labor in college – need I say more.
Anyway, having 27 inches of screen space allows me to easily do my job. When I’m developing, I have Sublime text with code open on half of the screen and the physical website open on the other half. When I’m doing product inventory, I have like six different spreadsheets open all at once and spread across the screen. I love spreadsheets. I really do. 💕
And did I mention how fast the processor is? It’s amazing. Apple claims it to be “lightning-fast”.
Nikon D7100 Camera + 50mm Lens
I decided to invest in a real nice camera when a potential customer noted that the product photography for The Simple Cup didn’t look good. Yes, they said it needed help. They even offered to redo it for me which was super kind but… I like to wear all the hats, remember?
My previous camera was 5+ years old with a scratched lens. I clenched my teeth and spent the money on an amazing camera and lens. I will say, my images look a lot better. I’m not a professional photographer – but my business needed me to be one. I took the steps necessary to do so, and now rather than investing in an outside party who doesn’t know my brand as well as I do, I can just take the photos in-house myself.
In order to purchase the tools that will help your business thrive, you have to be savvy with your money. Start saving and be smart with your purchases!
Don’t put yourself into debt because you want that fancy desk or super cool Eames chair. Go to Lowes, buy a piece of $10 wood and build your own desk! Sit on a normal chair, like normal people. Start small and invest in the things that are going to matter.
Stop spending money on things that don’t matter and start spending money on the things that will help you succeed.
And treat yourself to a bottle of wine every now and then, because you’re awesome for being so savvy.
3. The most important investment you will ever make is in yourself.
You need to spend a little money to make a little money. Whether that’s on outside help, good tools, or yourself. It’s all the same. You’re taking the steps to build your future and your future starts with you. See what I did there?
Health + Happiness
Take care of yourself. Shocking as this may sound, you need sleep and you don’t need to “hustle” 24/7, 365. Slow down and take a deep breath. You will never succeed if you are constantly stressed, sleep deprived or depressed. You need to focus on you because you are your business. Without me, none of my businesses would exist. Without me, the amazing plans I have for this life won’t happen.
I’ve been there, I get it. I need to work 12 hour days to feel like I accomplish anything… I need to get up early and stay up late in order to “hustle” like everyone else is… I need to avoid friends and family because I’m just too busy… What?
That’s not the life I want to live. And living that way sent me straight to crying day after day on my couch because the anxiety was literally crippling. It killed my motivation. It killed my passionate spirit.
I wasn’t investing in myself. I was letting fear drive me away from what I loved.
Investing in yourself means letting those feelings go. Investing in yourself means taking the steps to both mentally and physically get well.
Not only is health and happiness an important “you” investment, but so is education. I’m not talking education as in, go spend $80,000 to get a master’s degree in business. I don’t even know if that’s how much it would cost, but all I’m saying is college = major debt, regardless.
Buy some businessy-like books! There are so many people out there – super successful industry leaders – that are sharing their knowledge through books. And you can pick them up for like twenty bucks at your local Barnes & Noble! A world of endless knowledge is out there and all you have to do is make the time to find it. Invest the time to find it.
Take online courses from other professionals in your industry! There are so many resources out there. Talented people are constantly collaborating and creating easy to follow courses for learning. Whether it’s signing up for an email newsletter course that offers tips + tricks for successfully using social media, or investing the money to take a handlettering course that your favorite artist is teaching; just do it.
And lastly, listen to business oriented podcasts. Not only do the podcasters share insights that will help your business grow, but they can be super motivational. Hearing from others who are going through the same things as you can help with your happiness.
I’ll be sharing some of my favorite books, courses and podcasts in a later post!
Just thinking about starting a business is a major investment. Expenses are unavoidable. You simply need to learn what’s worth spending your hard earned money on and what’s not. I’m still learning and growing and I’m so excited I can share these insights with you.
Feel free to join in on the conversation by leaving a comment. I’d absolutely love to hear from you!
Happy Monday friends, let’s make this week awesome!