Are you ready to start up your own business? Did you just launch your own company? You must be mad! Out of your tree! Make a sharp exit before it’s too late!
You need to be really dedicated to succeed with your own business and it’s going to take some seriously thick skin and a tough personality to weather the battles that lie ahead. So are you absolutely sure that you’re ready to take the challenge on?
Of course you can take it on! I’m only joking – you can easily handle the challenge.
But there is a bit of truth in this intro…
The good news is that you stand out from the crowd. You’re not afraid to go against the grain and you aren’t satisfied with being just mediocre. You might be a little mad, but you definitely aren’t scared of being the brightest light in the room. So now you’re ready to take on the biggest, but definitely the most rewarding, challenge of your life?
Well, welcome to the 1% of us that swim against the tide!
You are about to embark upon a terrifying, traumatic, anxiety-creating, stressful experience that only a handful of people ever dare to face. The word challenging is a definite understatement and the meaning of tough will be taken to new and inconceivable heights!
It’s certainly going to be a wild ride, but rest assured, it’s going to be worth it.
I’ve been on the battlefield for 11 years now, so I can speak from experience. I’m going to share the knowledge that I’ve gained along the way so that you can learn from my pitfalls and be ultimately successful in business, and indeed, in life itself.
If only someone had taken the time to share this information with me all those years ago! After all, forewarned is fore-armed, especially when money is part of the equation and believe me, I’ve wasted plenty of money over the years. It’s nothing to be proud of. I’ve thrown away thousands on printers, desks, software, computers, leases… you name it. Yes, I’ve been reckless and stupid. But it’s all part of learning lessons the hard way. And that’s what I did – I taught myself my own way. However if I can help you to avoid making the same mistakes I did, I will. So pick up a pen and take notes, because here we go…
1. Buy Second Hand
Don’t waste money on buying anything brand new, second-hand shops are your best friend. Buy used everything! I’m talking office furniture, IT equipment, electricals, vehicles… literally everything that you need. And remember, if you invest in a used coffee maker you won’t be throwing away money on over-priced Starbucks coffee while increasing your productivity from not having to leave the office!
Gumtree, eBay, Craigslist – they’re all brilliant for finding bargains, and you might even find your local Swap, Buy & Sell Facebook page helpful too.
Buying items second hand is going to save you a fortune over time and just think of all the fun you’ll have finding recycled cool things! For example, I made the mistake of investing $8,000 on a brand new A3 printer a few years back, but recently I managed to net two used government A3 printers and it only cost me $1,600 for the pair.
So buy second-hand and you’ll be quids in.
2. Keep Your Overheads Down
You’ve got some choices here. Work from home as much as physically possible, or stay mobile working from your laptop as much as you can. I stayed at my parents home working for six months before I finally gave in and found a communal workspace with low rent. Shared office facilities are the best – you can to meet other people while the shared infrastructures helps you save a packet.
It was only when I started up my canvas art business that things got out of control very quickly – because it grew so fast I had to rent a huge warehouse space and that increased my rent enormously, but something like 500%. That was one of the stupidest ideas I ever had.
Don’t make the same mistake as me – don’t be afraid to dream big, but never spend more than you can afford and avoid expanding too quickly or you’ll find the increase in overheads will stretch your finances too far.
3. Only Contract When You Have To
Don’t hire people because you feel you should. When you need some specialist help, for example a copywriter, adviser or specialist, get them to work on an hourly basis – that’s good business for you.
Hiring my first employee was nerve-wracking, so I gave him a guaranteed 20 hour a week contract. Although that was a decade ago, the principle stands – so follow my example.
4. Harness Global Talent
Today, we live in a smaller world than ever and outsourcing projects is a breeze. When I was young, although we had email, it was much harder to harness global talent than it is today. Now, we outsource a lot of our work to our team in the Philippines and they handle things like social media, writing, SEO and website content – it’s brilliant. I’ve also outsourced other projects such as logo designs to skilled designers around the world – remember to stay creative. And as for Virtual Assistants – my advice would be to hire one as soon as possible, even if you don’t feel ready. Your time is precious and they can help your business to function more efficiently.
5. Time And Expenses
From the very start of your business, make sure you stay on top of tracking your expenses. And I mean everything. Not just purchasing equipment and supplies but also marketing and advertising, and any other services you use like lawyers or designers. Even if it seems too small to note down, track it anyway.
Saving every receipt might be a pain, but it’s going to save you time and effort in the long run when it comes to doing your tax returns or if you end up in a legal situation.
The good news is that cloud technology has made keeping track of your expenses a breeze. Subscribe to one of the online inventory management applications which is able to integrate with the accounting software package you use and you’ll be able to easily track everything from payroll to orders and shipping in one convenient place.
Your time is important too!
Forget face to face meetings – I realized that they were taking up way too much of my time and remember, time is money. By cutting out the face to face element, I’ve managed to save $3,200 every single week! Invest in a quality time-tracking software package like Harvest and it’ll even handle your billing too. You should spend your time working on high value jobs that are going to generate a higher income so don’t run around like a headless chicken trying to get everything done.
6. Use Open Source Software
I’ve wasted a fortune on software in the past – once I even borrowed $12,000 just to buy the Adobe suite. That was pretty stupid. Cloud versions are available now for a fraction of the cost, so do that instead. You’ll save a fortune!
Another product I wasted money on was Streamtime. I spent about $10,000 on that, but today there’s a Saas model which I wish I’d known about before forking out. Instead of paying for things upfront, consider the benefits of low monthly payments – that way, if you change your mind or outgrow your platform, you haven’t wasted a load of money.
As for Outlook and Microsoft Office – forget it. Gmail and Google Apps are virtually free and do the same job. Set up a business Gmail account and you’re only going to spend about $5 per month. Free open source software rocks!
7. Be Aware Of Business Tax Deductions In Your First Year
Save money by taking advantage of all of the first year’s business tax deductions. If you spend less than $50,000 on your startup costs, you can deduct a sum of up to $5,000, and if you’ve spent over $50,000 in startup costs or organizational expenditure, you can deduct up to $10,000. There’s lots of other potential deductions too, from marketing, utilities and advertising. I’d advise you to hire a skilled accountant or begin researching it yourself straight away.
Remember that the IRS permit business owners to deduct their travel expenses too, so you can deduct lodging and transportation costs even if you’re abroad for a while.
8. Use Cheap Or Free Advertising
All advertising is good advertising, so remember it doesn’t have to be flashy to help bring the money in. Billboards aren’t essential for bringing in local customers and if your company is successful you probably won’t need commercials either. Put your advertising on Craigslist in the first instance and check out all other free advertising avenues, both on and offline. Your local newspaper is a great source of local advertising.
9. Forget Long Term Commitments
Avoid entering into long contracts. Instead, use short term or monthly services and this will help you to avoid committing to an expensive agreement you can’t afford. Control your expenses as much as possible.
10. Limit Your Legal Expenditure
A new business often requires legal services and unexpectedly large bills often follow. There are, however, several attorneys which are prepared to offer a flat rate which enables you to budget more effectively. If you can’t find one that will give you a flat fee, see if they will cap the price of the project so you won’t have an unpleasant surprise at the end of the day.
How did you save money when starting your business? Share your thoughts in the comments