How much did you spend on starting up your online business?
Imagine opening a physical shop in your local town. You get the keys to the space, you are dead excited. But there is nothing in it. What do you need? Shelving, display units, and a counter, if you are running a retail business. Kitchen facilities and furniture, if it’s a cafe. And you need to decorate it of course. Bits and pieces, artwork on the wall, paint, wallpaper, maybe some bespoke joinery. And someone to fix the lighting. Add it all up, how much would you need to invest before the grand opening day? Thousands, probably even tens of thousands, if you include everything.
Today I want to talk to you about investing in your online business, and yourself. I know it all too well, I’ve been there myself, and I didn’t invest much in either my businesses or myself, for years. I did everything on a shoestring budget, all my startups, and I was pretty proud of it too. But was it a very wise decision? I managed to get the projects off the ground, for sure, but I also wasted a lot of time and energy on figuring stuff out myself, stuff someone with more expertise would have done way quicker, and better.
If you are serious about growing your online business, then investing is something that will pay off, no doubt about it. If you would open a physical shop, you’d probably even get a loan from the bank. Why do we regard the startup needs for online businesses so differently, just because we work on a laptop?
Investing in your business means growing faster
Small business owners who operate online often have this idea that they don’t need to spend much to get started. And it is true in many ways. You can build a simple website yourself for very little, social media is free (costing just your time), and perhaps you have a few Pro subscriptions on Canva, Zoom and a few other apps. So basically, you run your business on very little money each month, and you are trying to get clients that way. What else do you need, right?
Yes, what else could you invest in, as an online business?
Outsourcing. Number one mistake most solo entrepreneurs and creatives make, is trying do do EVERYTHING themselves. From social media marketing to accounts, and from blogging to project admin. Are you good at all of those things? Really? Where do your strengths lie? What could you establish in a week, if you didn’t have to do the bookkeeping, for example? Or the Instagram posting?
Outsourcing as soon as you can, can help you grow much faster than you would on your own. Hiring a VA for a few hours each week to help you with admin or social media, already makes a difference. And outsourcing the headache that is your accounts and tax returns is a no-brainer.
So what else? Investing in yourself and your personal development is another thing that is well worth it. Signing up for extra training, online courses, buying books, hiring a business mentor. But also working on mindset and doing the inner work. Diving into entrepreneurship comes with a lot of mindset issues, which can really put the brakes on your growth as a small business. It is very common for new business owners to feel quite wobbly and insecure when they first start an you feel all eyes are on you.
You have your ideas and your first few clients, perhaps, but without guidance and accountability, it can quickly become very overwhelming and chaotic in your head. And then we haven’t even mentioned the loneliness that comes with being a solo entrepreneur or freelancer.
You spend a lot of time by yourself, and any self-limiting beliefs, every week. How will you overcome these startup struggles, without anyone to support you? It is very hard to get your business where you want it to be, without any help. Investing in a mentor or coach, or joining a business support group, is a smart investment.
Now, I would say that, wouldn’t I, being a coach for small businesses? But I would not say this to you, if I did not believe in it, or if I hadn’t put the money where my mouth is. Whereas I failed to invest enough in my physical shop in the past, to have it really take off and earn me a good income, I invested thousands in my current business, and it is now paying off. How? Because not only did I learn a whole heap of new skills through the training, memberships and courses I invested in, I grew as a person. I have loved every minute of this entrepreneurial journey since becoming a business mentor and coach.
Investing in yourself is a gift that lasts a lifetime
By investing in myself, I have not only been able to grow my business and learn how to attract clients, I have grown as a person. And that, for me, has been the biggest return on investment. When you start working with a mentor or coach, you feel supported, inspired, and pushed out of your comfort zone at times. It has helped me gain valuable insights about myself as a person, and as a business owner; and to really tune in to what is important to me. My values, my niche, my message, my offer.
I mean, you can invest in the fanciest laptop or iPhone for your business… but nothing gives you the mental boost like having someone by your side who helps you to believe in yourself. That beats any gadget.
Who are you, and what brings you joy? What do you find hard, and why do you struggle with these things? Those things are very difficult to fully understand when just working on your own. And the more I learn, the more I am able to integrate the teachings into my own practice as a coach, but also as a friend, a mother and a partner. It is a holistic investment, really, and it’s been the best thing I have done for myself.
If you are thinking of working with a coach or mentor who is specialised in helping small businesses and creatives to attract more clients, book a free call with me to see if we are a good fit.