I’ve been in online business for more than a decade, and today I’m sharing a list of five investments that are worth spending money on. I hope you enjoy it.
Before we get to it, a reminder that Marketing Playbook: Scale Your Online Business to Outrageous Success is now available for instant download. For those of you who have purchased the book (and/or training), thank you for your business and thank you for saying things like this,
“I just want to thank you for putting this ebook together. I picked up my copy yesterday and haven’t put it down since. I am already looking at my business from a whole different perspective. I have been dabbling for a year now and just posting on social media at the very last minute before a launch without any strategy. I have to say that your ebook came at the very right time.”—Sofia
“I’m totally hooked. Thank you for another incredible tool!”—Chelsea
“Just read and worked through 80% of Lisa’s new Marketing Playbook. Thank you so much, it’s amazing!!! My head feels like it’s going to explode but it’s the most excited I have been this year!”—Sandra
1. The latest model: phone or computer
“I regret buying my top-of-the-line, brand new computer,” said no online entrepreneur ever. Technology moves fast, and in online business, you have to move with it or become as outdated as those pictures you’re taking with your trusty iPhone 4.
I always have the latest phone. I buy them unlocked direct from Apple, and then I buy a SIM card and data plan (from the pay-as-you-go section in Walmart and Target, such as Net10 or Smart Talk), and sign up for automatic withdrawals (usually 5% off the monthly fee).
Total cost per month after initial phone investment: $32.53
The same goes for my computer and equipment. In an industry that moves faster than the speed of light, I cannot wait around for a Mac’s beach ball to stop spinning. My husband’s in IT, and he constantly reaffirms this, “Personal computers are not meant to last more than a few years, and even less when they’re getting as much use as you’re putting in with your business.”
This is true for both desktop and laptop. Don’t upgrade one and settle for the other that’s five years old. Old technology will hold you back.
2. An accountant
This might not be necessary in start-up (when you’re at a loss or earning less than $30K), but it becomes critical as your income increases. I knew it was time for me to hire an accountant last year (late spring when my business earnings had already exceeded six figures), but I put it off because we were in the process of selling our house and relocating.
That turned out to be a $19,000 mistake.
A qualified CPA (with experience in small business accounting) costs anywhere from $350-600 for tax preparation and planning, and you should take time to find the right person for you. I met with four different accountants before meeting one I wanted to work with.
For me, not hiring an accountant was less about the expense of it and more about my being intimidated by other professionals (strange, but true). I’m working to demolish this insecurity in 2017; it bears a lesson the universe has taught me well.
Last year, an experienced accountant would have had me apply for S-Corp status (versus the standard sole proprietor status of independently owned small businesses in the U.S.). This option could have saved me the 15.3% self-employment tax (there went that $19,000).
3. Topic-specific training
I do not condone training for training’s sake, but I’m in love with online education and the resources being shared by those who have already been there, done that. What a breakthrough in public education! I mean, at what other time in history would you have been able to say, “I’d like to know how to make and sell stained glass because I’m obsessed with it”, and then just go out and buy the specific training to do so?
This world we live in is amazing.
The way I teach it, business is made up of a bunch of components that should fit together and compose an online sales machine. More often than not, creatives struggle in business and are overwhelmed by the feeling of total failure of it all, because they’re looking at the business as a whole (a failed engine) rather than looking for the non-working gears.
Nothing is more valuable to your business than specific training that will strengthen your non-working gears (aka weaknesses and oversights).
I started hiring support last year, and I haven’t stopped since. Contrary to a lot of advice, I suggest you first delegate the tasks that are easiest to give up, such as housecleaning. The hiring process for household help is simple—at most, it’s an interview, a reference check, and a brief discussion about what areas need covered. It gives you a chance to communicate and manage terms of employment. And from there, you let the pros do their thing.
No training necessary.
When I first hired my bi-weekly cleaning crew, I was a nervous wreck about the expense of it ($120/cleaning). In fact, I set this up as an income reward to ensure that I had the full year of cleaning saved in advance before I called the cleaners. It’s now become an ordinary household expense, and I absolutely love writing that check twice a month. It’s worth every penny.
If that’s too big a leap for you, price having your ironing pressed for you. I battled with a bottomless ironing basket for years. Cost to have it done for me: average $10/week.
I’m astounded when I drop a book on the market and people have “is it for me?” questions, such as, “I sell yellow canary feathers online, is it for me?”
I always imagine that person as stuck in a room with ten doors around them, but they open none because they don’t know what’s on the other side of any.
I’ve done pretty well for myself taking a different approach. I never ask: Is this book written specifically to my situation? But rather, is there material here that I can apply to my business? If the answer is yes, it’s in my cart. I buy an average two books per week (cost: anywhere from $5-26), and if I take even one good idea away from it, I consider that purchase well worth it.
Thousands of online entrepreneurs are already digging in and enjoying the goods, and I don’t want you to miss out! It’s time to make bold choices and demolish the foundation of your comfort zone. I want you to accomplish something that makes you unabashedly proud of yourself, and then go brag about it!
Here’s to your most profitable year xx