Today I’m talking about some of the best investments I’ve made in my business. This is a question I get asked all the time, so I’m happy to share.
I’ve broken it down into three stages of business – when I was starting out, when I started gaining momentum, and when my business had a lot of growth.
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Firstly, a disclaimer: what I spend money on in my business is not necessarily what you should spend money on in your business. So I’m not saying you have to invest in exactly the same things as I do.
But I do want to share, because a lot of people ask me the question because they’re curious or they want similar business growth. It took me about five years to get to a million dollars in revenue, but I don’t have all the answers for your particular business or goals.
Often people ask me what’s the ONE thing you invested in to grow the business?
Well – I don’t think there’s one answer that covers every stage of business. I think the best investments you can make in your business change over time.
My other philosophy is that there are “appropriate” investments that change over time in your business.
“Expensive” is relative
I remember seeing this question recently in one of our business forums: “Should I invest $15,000 to spend the day with a high-level entrepreneur?”
The answer totally depends on where you’re at in your business.
This person was quite new in business, and she didn’t have a really good sense of who she was serving or what her products and services were yet.
Now, I’m actually going to invest money to go and spend a day or two with a high-level entrepreneur mentor soon. It will be totally worth it because I have my products and services in place, so the return on investment is going to be much easier for me.
I don’t think there are any investments that are wrong or too “expensive” by themselves, but sometimes there are more appropriate things you can spend your money on at different times in your entrepreneurial journey.
So here’s the scoop on which investments were great for me at different stages of my business:
The early stages…
One of these might surprise you!
In the very early stages of my business, I was like anyone else and a bit clueless – serving everyone and not having a really good understanding of what I was doing, but that was cool – we all go through that.
Here are three things that were great investments for me at that stage.
A business coach
Working with a business coach is an obvious one, but it was invaluable for me at the start of my business, mostly for accountability and support reasons.
I procrastinated doing income producing activities in my business because I was scared all the time. Everything felt super scary, from doing my first workshop, to having discovery calls with potential clients, to having boundary conversations with clients.
All of that stuff was so scary for me that I needed a lot of support to take action in my business. I also needed to hear from someone who was more experienced and could tell me what to do because I simply didn’t know.
What you spend on a business coach is completely up to you. There’s no right or wrong.
At the start, go for someone who is a little bit ahead of you in business, but you don’t necessarily need to work with a big guru coach who is really expensive. Stretching yourself to work with a mega expensive coach puts a lot of pressure on a new business.
A guru coach might not be the best coach for you right now. They might have a long-term view of where you can go in your business, but they might not remember what it was like at the beginning.
It’s totally okay to work with someone who is affordable for where you’re at right now. You don’t have to always stretch to huge heights just because you think it would be good for you from a manifesting point of view.
Not at all
You simply need someone who can help you take action, who can help you figure out what to do and troubleshoot as you go.
For me, the right business coach was a genius investment because I needed to take action to make some money.
Now, my next investment might surprise you because you might think it’s got nothing to do with business, but that’s not true.
Invest in a house cleaner
Hiring a cleaner at the start of my business was such a good investment because my house was always really messy and I would spend every weekend fighting with my hubby about who was going to clean the bathroom.
I didn’t want to do it. I was crap at it and he was bad at it, too!
The thing is, even at the start of your business when you’re not earning a lot of money, I think something like hiring a cleaner is an inexpensive way to declutter some of that crap in your life and create a nice environment for you to be creative and take action.
But it’s also highly symbolic because it means that you go into your business with that mindset of, “It’s too expensive for me to clean my own house. I need to focus on income-producing activities.”
If you’re doing things like cleaning your own toilet, no one is paying you for that. You need to be out there getting your first client.
You need to be out there making money.
You might think, “I’m not making any money right now, so I should do the cleaning and the money-making stuff.” I don’t agree with that.
Getting a cleaner is a very simple (and honestly cost effective) way to take some clutter off your plate and help you focus your time to make MONEY.
This is especially important if you work from home, which I do. Your home is your work space. You shouldn’t be procrastinating during the day by cleaning your own toilet (even if you think it’s cathartic or meditative – seriously, there is better therapy than cleaning your toilet).
If your partner is saying, “Well, you’re at home all day. You can do the laundry,”
That’s not how it works. Working from home doesn’t automatically mean that you’re the housekeeper. You are WORKING. Even if you’re just starting out, you need to have dedicated time and space to grow your business. It’s an investment in the future for your family.
Mark, my hubby, tried to do that. He’d say, “Oh, can you pick up my dry cleaning? Can you go to the post office for me? Can you throw on some laundry?”
I’d be like, “I’m at work, sorry. I’m at work, just like you are. Why can’t you clean the toilet? Oh, that’s right. You’re in an office. Guess what? So am I.”
Trust me – saying no, even at the start of my business when I wasn’t earning much money, meant that now our family is HUGELY abundant.
BTW – if that’s a recurring problem for you where family (or even friends) don’t respect that you work from home, just keep repeating “I’m at work.” “Sorry, I can’t, I have a client meeting.”
In the short term, leaving or outsourcing some of these household tasks will pay dividends in the future. Plus you’re creating a job for another family too.
Hiring a cleaner is hugely important and symbolic, so if you haven’t done it yet, maybe you need to get to it. It was such a symbolic investment in the success of my business.
Invest in good photos
The third investment, which was brilliant for my business and actually didn’t cost me a lot at the start, was getting someone to take great photos for my website.
Now, you might not have a swish website – that’s okay. You might not have great branding – don’t worry, neither did I. I didn’t even have a proper logo for the first four years of my business (even when I was making multiple six figures). But I always had pretty good photos.
Great photos can definitely make a difference to how people perceive you and your brand. I mean, I don’t wake up looking as polished as my website photos, right? I don’t work on the beach on my laptop with my surfboard next to me, with perfectly styled beach hair. I don’t drive around town in a beautiful blue Kombi.
But they add to the overall vibe of my business – chilled, easy going, down to earth, friendly. If I only posted pictures of my “real life”, it would be nonstop pictures of me looking tired, with baby spew on my shirt, or eating fast food in my mom-car! Not very inspiring.
Great photos can definitely elevate your brand.
And it’s a great investment to make at the start of your business. I actually think great photos are a much better investment than fancy graphic design or a complicated website. Plus, when you have good, professional photos, a graphic designer actually has something to work with.
You’ll be able to use them on your blog, in your articles, in your marketing materials, for speaking proposals and interviews.
In my first year of business, I worked with a local photographer who was very affordable. I got my hair and makeup done pretty cheap, and we went down to the local beach.
It wasn’t as pro and organized as my latest shoot (where I had a set designer, stylist, props etc) but instantly having nice photos made my brand feel more professional and I felt like I was “in business”.
Plus remember, you can upgrade those photos as you become more successful in business but don’t procrastinate or think you need to be perfect before you start. Oh, and if you’re waiting to “lose a bit of weight” before you book a photographer, GET OVER THAT. You can get some done now and then another photoshoot later if you want, but stop procrastinating.
To recap, the best investments I made in the early stages of my business:
- An appropriate business coach for my stage of business
- A house cleaner,
- Professional photos
Take action on at least one of these this week!
Now, let’s talk about when I started to make a little bit more money in my business.
The next stage – when money starts flowing in
When I started to have some regular clients, and started to actually make a bit of money, here’s what I invested in that made a huge difference in my business:
Invest in a bookkeeper
Honestly I was so scared about investing in a bookkeeper. I looked at the money it was going to cost me every single month and I thought, “How am I ever going to make that money back?”
What a negative self-belief right?
But I realized that:
- doing my own books (or procrastinating it) was stressing me out
- no one was paying me for it
- it was mental clutter that was a distraction
Let’s look at the symbolic mindset stuff around NOT hiring a bookkeeper.
If you think you’re never going to make the money back from any hire, you’re just telling the Universe that you don’t have a lot of faith that you’re going to make any more money.
When I first upgraded and invested in a bookkeeper, I suddenly felt like I had a Real Business. Having someone see my financials every month was actually really motivating because suddenly someone else could “see” my success. I couldn’t hide from the fact that I wasn’t making the money I wanted to.
Funnily enough, near the end of the month I was motivated to get more sales because I wanted to impress her. Weird right, but it was an extra layer of accountability.
My first bookkeeper was with me from when I wasn’t earning much money to my first six-figure year and she was my cheerleader throughout that process. She helped me put together simple systems for managing my money.
Getting monthly reports was motivating too! Money loves clarity and keeping an eye on the bottom line inspires you to make more.
YES YOU COULD DO IT YOURSELF but I don’t think you should. (Even if you love it and again, find it therapeutic). It’s not an income producing activity and it’s not a hobby.
Plus it will make it easier at tax time too.
Even some bookkeepers I know hire it out. Because yeah, it could save them some money to do it themselves but it’s not income producing! That time is better spent finding new clients.
And because I suddenly had those extra overhead expenses, it motivated me to have a new income comfort level each month. I had a bigger goal, and it inspired me to increase my income.
So, if you’re starting to make some money – NOW IS THE TIME to invest in a bookkeeper.
Invest in an assistant
The next thing I invested in when I started making money was an assistant. GAME CHANGER.
Hiring someone to help me, felt like I was really in business. I had a “team”.
I started to outsource some of those tasks that I wasn’t good at, or things that stressed me out (like my email). And yeah, I had to learn how to be a good manager, which takes time but you don’t need to hire a full timer straight away. I started with 5 hours a week.
It actually helped me take more action in my business, because I had someone to be accountable to, plus (like the bookkeeper), it added to my overheads which made me even more focused on income producing activities.
I remember my friend, James Wedmore, said to me at the start of my business,
“You can’t get to six figures doing everything yourself.”
I was like, “Maybe I can be the first person to have a successful business doing everything myself.” Like WATCH ME BURN MYSELF OUT JUST TO PROVE YOU WRONG!!
He said, “No. That’s not how it works. Just start outsourcing”
You’ll know when it’s time for you to hire an assistant to get some things off your plate. Just do it.
Invest in a mastermind group
The third thing that I invested in at that stage was joining a mastermind of people at a similar level in business to me.
This, I think, was key, because suddenly I had peers. I had people who understood where I was in business, who could give me specific advice for my situation – and it was that next level up from being in free groups.
It was “curated”
Free masterminds are okay, but sometimes you need a curated group that has a really strong intention. You need a safe space for growth, and to push you to go to the next level. You need support and a good dose of healthy competition. And sometimes you really just have to pay for that.
Not only can you see other people creating success, but you can ask them how they did it! You can find valuable JV partners to work with, and potential business partners for the future.
You can start your own mastermind, for sure, or you could buy into somebody else’s, for example, my Lucky Bitch Money Bootcamp comes with an amazing community.
Find something for where you’re at, and where you’re going. For example, you might join a small business group for people who want to go to six figures together, or who want to go from six to seven figures.
I think it’s important to find a specific group that suits your personality (ie, fast or slow growth) and mindset. For me, joining a mastermind with people who were at my level in business was hugely valuable, and I can honestly say it was a huge contributor to my fast growth.
Okay, so to sum it up, when I started making more money, my best investments were:
- A bookkeeper
- An assistant
- Joining a paid mastermind of like-minded people
What to invest in post-six figures?
What did I invest in when my income started to soar past six figures?
Invest in brand experts
One thing that absolutely helped me to upscale past six figures was hiring brand experts to take my content to the next level. That, for me, meant investing in a proper logo, investing in a more premium look and feel for my website, and hiring a set designer to come and design our sets so everything looked really pro.
You might think, “Maybe I need to do that now in my business.”
Nope, not if you’re not making money or you’re way under six figures in your business. No need to invest a ton of money juuuuuuust yet on the fanciest brand or website.
At the start of my business – and at the start of your business – you need to focus on getting experience and getting clients. You don’t need the slickest, most professional brand out there.
For a lot of entrepreneurs, focusing on brand before you have enough customers is pure procrastination.
A great brand can attract new clients for sure, but it shouldn’t be your primary marketing strategy, especially when you’re new.
You’re like, “Wow. Once I have the perfect hex color for my website, the clients will come flocking in.”
Nope, it doesn’t work like that. You can upgrade that stuff as you go. Go for “good enough” right now and focus on clients instead.
But, if you’re at the level now where your income is starting to grow a lot more, maybe it is time to invest in your brand image and take it to the next level.
I know when I upgraded my website and Lucky Bitch Money Bootcamp branding, suddenly it felt like I was at the next level in business. But that was actually after I had hit a million dollars in yearly revenue!
But I wanted to grow even further, and I definitely had the funds to do it. This can attract the next level of clients that you’ll need to go to the next level of income.
So ask yourself if it’s time to upgrade, or you’re procrastinating unnecessarily right now. There are more upgrades I want to make now to my brand and website, but I know I need to focus on sales right now, it would be procrastination otherwise.
Invest in experts to solve problems
At this stage of business, you need to outsource everything you can to take you to the next level.
I found people to help me with more advanced website development, experts in Infusionsoft (my email newsletter software), Google Analytics experts – all the stuff I was bad at. Nothing that was “business crucial” exactly but this is the stage of business where you have time and resources for the “extra” stuff that can help you grow.
The key thing is to hire people in their zone of genius to come and help with a specific problem. Don’t mess around hiring generalists. I used to hire people who were like, “Oh, I don’t do that exactly, but I can give it a bash for you.”
Nope – go to the experts. It will be quicker and cost less in the long term as you get better results.
These are people who can work on a project basis, they don’t need to be long term employees.
For example, I wanted to put together some speaking proposals, so I hired an expert just to help me on that project. I didn’t have to go and research it myself, or go through trial and error.
Create a mentality of being the CEO. Richard Branson and Oprah aren’t doing everything in their business. They hire experts.
So be prepared to pay to get their knowledge and expertise quickly, with either VIP or done-for-you service.
You might not want to do DIY anymore, or go through a six-week course to learn something, you want to find the expert so they can tell you the top-line info – or better yet, they can do it for you and you can move on.
Obviously, at this stage, your time is worth more than it used to be.
At the start of biz:
- an appropriate business coach for my stage of business
- a house cleaner,
- professional photos
When you start making money:
- A bookkeeper
- An assistant
- Joining a paid mastermind of like-minded people
To go beyond 6-figures:
- Brand experts
- Contractors to solve specific problems
What should YOU upgrade next?
It’s really important to invest where it’s appropriate for you right now. Don’t jump ahead and stress about things you don’t need yet. Focus on the right things.
It can be confusing trying to figure out what you need to upgrade next in your business. Luckily, I’ve done a free workshop for you that takes you through four areas in your business – marketing, mindset, systems and money and exactly what you should upgrade.
To watch it (and it’s well worth your time), go to www.LuckyBitch.com/Upgrade
It’s your time and you’re ready for the next step.
Did you miss last week’s post? Check it out here: Bored With Your Business – What’s Next?