Is it the right time to invest in your business?

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Raise your hand if you relate to any of the following right now:

  • You feel like you’ve hit a plateau with sales, your skills, your creativity, etc.
  • You’re stuck. You can’t get around this GIANT wall.
  • You’re on the cusp of something great, but you’re too bogged down by the daily crap to make it happen.
  • You feel isolated and need a fresh perspective.  

Whenever I’ve felt this way, it’s because I needed to make some changes... usually around how I’m (not) spending my money.

Why is it so hard to spend money on your business?

Investing in your business is a really difficult, stressful decision, especially if you have other people depending on your income. After all, you could be putting that money toward student loans, child care, or a vacation, right? But if one of your goals in the next quarter is to scale up or bring in more consistent income, you need to be making smart purchases for your business.

Business investments are a long-term strategy, they keep you ahead of the curve, make your operations more efficient, and reinforce your expert status. Big companies invest in better equipment all the time, so why wouldn't you?

One of my favorite mantras is “do what you can with what you have”, so I strongly advocate that it’s never too soon to put money back into your business.

Small business investments can be just as important as larger ones.

Reinvest as much as you’re able to right now, even if it’s “only” $50 on better stock images for your social media. Try to think outside the box, too: Can you cut out some Netflix time to read more books or connect with other entrepreneurs? Investing your time in new ways can be just as powerful as spending your money.

Another thing to keep in mind is to not discredit small investments as too insignificant to make a difference. Dozens of micro changes can have BIG impacts down the line. You may not see an overnight leap in your business, but, if you’re committed to investing in it regularly, you’ll look back in two years and easily see how far you’ve come.

Are you on the look out for any Black Friday sales for your business? Leave a comment and let us know what's on your business wishlist!

How do you know if it's the right time to #invest in your #business?

11 Ways to Rock Your Business This Fall

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Pumpkin Spice Lattes. Cute boots. A scarf (or ten) too many. The seasons are changing, and with the cooler air comes the need for some simple tasks that will make running your business during the holidays SO much easier. If you want want a better business before the barista has time to ask you, “hot or iced?”, let’s check out a few things you can do this week to rock it all winter, complete with your estimated spend.

11 Quick Tasks to Add to Your Business To-Do List

1. Review your client contracts.

When was the last time you looked at the contracts you're sending out? If it's been a while, then it's time to block off an hour to thoroughly read through it to be sure it all still applies to your business. As entrepreneurs, our businesses change often throughout the year, so our contracts should reflect it.

(And, if you're one of those people who re-reads the contract every single time you send it out, stop wasting your time! Set up a system to review it quarterly and stick to it.) 

If you're not sure what to review, we have a checklist for you. You can get it here.

Estimated cost: 1 hour of your time.

2. Have a contract ready for new hires.

There’s nothing like hiring a team if you want to get more accomplished (and stay accountable). Getting clear on what you expect from your team members, and when, helps to keep everyone in line—including yourself!

Estimated cost: $355 for a template or 10+ hours if you DIY.

3. Make sure you have a contract for collaborations at the ready.

A contract protects both parties and their businesses. It also specifies who is responsible for what, and how each party gets paid. When you're collaborating with someone else, these details are pretty important. So, basically a nonessential if you’re fine with working for free.

Estimated cost: $355 for a template or 7-12 hours if you DIY.

4. Register your trademark...

Hey, how about before you spend $5k+ on a new brand, you find out if you’re even allowed to use it legally. This is an essential in any business if you can’t afford a surprise rebrand.

Estimated cost: A few thousand up-front and $400 maintenance every 10 years.

5. A copyright protects your creativity and your work in your business from copycats.

If you’re getting noticed, it’s only a matter of time before someone rips you off. And if you’re not getting ripped off yet, you will. Having a registration isn’t just nice to have, it actually entitles you to special financial rewards if someone does steal your stuff.

Estimated cost: $55 per blog post or client.

6. Set up your LLC.

Are you a real business? If you haven’t gotten your paperwork in order to surrender the metaphorical business diapers and put your big boy pants on, it’s time. An LLC helps to protect your personal assets in the event of a legal dispute. Without an LLC, your personal finances, your home, your kids (okay, not really) are at risk. If you want to know what the steps are to do this in your state, check out this free book I’ve created for you.

Estimated cost:  Varies by state but usually $50-200 per year.

7. Get your bookkeeping under control.

You need to know where your business stands financially so you can make smart, informed decisions. And keep the IRS off your back.

Estimated cost: Starting at $99/month with Bookly—varies by bookkeeping company and software.

8. Put your privacy policy on your website.

It’s a federal law to have terms and conditions and a privacy policy on your site if you’re collecting any information from visitors at all. If you’re doing any advertising or asking for an email list sign-up, you need this.

Estimated cost: $255 or 8-10 hours to DIY research + piece it together and wonder if it's legit.

9. Grab your tax ID number.

You’ll need a Tax ID Number to get a business checking account, but it also helps you to keep your social security number private when working as a small business.

Estimated cost: Free!

10. Take care of your state’s additional registration requirements.

Each state has its own requirements for business registration. Find out what those requirements are by contacting your local Small Business Administration branch.

Estimated Cost: Endless hours of searching or click here for a step-by-step guide.

11. Buy business insurance.

Nope, an LLC isn’t insurance. It pays to protect yourself and your business because like fire insurance, you don’t want your house to burn down but you’re not devastated if it does (okay so maybe you’re emotionally wrecked, that’s fair). Find out more about what kind of business insurance you need over on a guest blog I wrote for HoneyBook.

Estimated cost: Varies by selection and industry.

If you deal with these things one day at a time, it’s definitely doable to have a legit, secure biz faster than you can switch from work to Facebook. The best part is once you’ve taken care of everything above, it’s literally a matter of minutes each year you’re spending on these things.

Do this stuff now, love yourself for it later. 

Which ones are you adding to your to-do list?

When Should You Hire Your First Employee?

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I used to try to do everything on my own… web design, bookkeeping, graphic design, etc. It was so overwhelming and completely exhausting. In my mind it was like I had to do everything myself and waited way too long to hire my first assistant because I kept psyching myself out.

Is it time to hire help for your small business? 

If any of these scenarios sound familiar, it’s time to strongly consider hiring an independent contractor or employee:

  • You need more time and space to create new products and grow your business.
  • Your work/life balance is constantly out of whack.
  • You’re overwhelmed + stressed because you’re spending so much time on tedious tasks.
  • You spend too much time doing things that aren’t bringing in $$$.

But wait! Knowing it’s time to hire someone and being ready for it are two totally different things, especially when it’s your first time outsourcing work. First there’s all the icky feelings that get in the way, “I can do it myself! Nobody’s going to do it like I do!” Then there’s the lies we tell ourselves, “It’s going to take so much time to train someone, I may as well do it myself.” And lastly, there’s the whole money-out-of-my-pocket thing, “I don’t have the budget for this yet!”

Well, I’m here to tell you that there’s NEVER going to be the perfect moment, and it'll be difficult to build a team if you keep that mindset. If you can part with a few hundred bucks (business expense!) for a training, conference, or workshop, then you can part with a few hundred bucks for an assistant. Getting things done is infinitely more valuable at a certain point than investing in education (again).

HOW TO GIVE YOURSELF THE INCENTIVE TO SUCCEED

You know what’s really motivating for getting your products launched and bringing in new clients? The need to pay someone other than yourself. You’re not going to miss a payment to your employee, right? How embarrassing! (Not to mention, they won’t stick around for long if you do that.) Being accountable for taking the financial hit is a pretty good incentive to get things done and generate more revenue.

HOW  TO CHARGE MORE FOR YOUR SERVICES

Some of us really struggle with raising our prices and asking for valuable compensation. Once you start increasing your overhead with a team, you’re going to need more revenue to cover those expenses. Much of that will come from new products and new business, but it’s also an opportunity for you to evaluate your current rates and increase them if they’re too low to be sustainable.

HOW TO REDUCE THE NUMBER OF HOURS YOU WORK

You can step away from your business and it will be OK! If you’re attending a conference, planning a vacation, or getting away for a long weekend, you’ll be able to enjoy yourself because someone else is taking care of the day-to-day.

If you feel “too small” to allow yourself this freedom, think of it this way… giving yourself permission to step away from the parts of your business that drag down your energy is good for your creativity.

HOW TO GROW YOUR AUDIENCE

Being a solopreneur is lonely. You’re the one coming up with all of the ideas (and probably validating them, too, within your very small bubble). Building a team pushes you out of your comfort zone… it suddenly opens your business up in a way that nobody else is likely to see. With that vulnerability comes the opportunity for great collaborations.

That eCourse you were designing on your own? Well your graphic designer can make it better, and your copywriter can make the headlines snazzier, and since they had their hand in creating it, they’ll gladly share it with their own audiences, growing your bubble *that* much more.

Ready to hire? Get an independent contractor agreement.

Something holding you back from hiring? Let’s talk about why in the comments.