I don’t know about you, but when I first started my business I was SO stingy with my money! I didn’t want to pay for anything! Part of that was because I didn’t really have much money to spend. But I was also just nervous about investing in things for my business. I had this idea that if I could keep my expenses as low as possible, that was the best way to build a profitable business.
But over the years, I’ve learned that sometimes in order to make more money, you have to spend more money. You just need to be smart about it! So I wanted to give you a glimpse at where I spend my money for my business – from my favorite tools, to basic expenses and outsourcing.
I use this platform for scheduling pins. There’s a free version available, but as I’ve gotten more serious about marketing for my digital products, I knew that the paid plan would be worth it for me. (Click here to get a free month of Tailwind)
This is the newsletter platform that I use. I used to use the free version of Mailchimp, but I didn’t love the platform and as I started to grow by subscriber list, I realized that I would have to pay more and more the bigger my list got. So I switched to Flodesk because it’s more user-friendly, has beautifully designed templates AND they don’t penalize you for growing your newsletter! Not matter how many subscribers you have, you will always pay the same monthly fee and I love that! (Click here to get 50% off your Flodesk subscription)
Passive Income Setup
I use this platform for my online course for designers. There are definitely cheaper ways to have an online course, but personally I’m more than willing to pay for Teachable every month because it has lots of special features and takes care of some of the annoying customer service stuff for me. It also just feels more secure to have my course on a platform like this rather than a password-protected page on my website.
This is the platform that I use to sell all of my digital products, course and 1:1 coaching sessions. It’s honestly one of my favorite investments that I’ve made because rather than having to pay a monthly fee to have an online shop (like I would on Shopify), Thrivecart has a special offer so you can only pay once and have access to it forever! That’s a HUGE money saver if you plan on making passive income a big part of your business. Plus it’s really easy to embed your products pretty much anywhere AND they make it really easy to set up sales funnels and upsells.
I just started using this tool this year and it’s a crucial part of my passive income now! Basically this tool is what makes automates my course sales funnel – meaning I can market my course and enroll new students in my sleep. If you have a course or digital product and are wanting to make it evergreen and automate your sales, definitely look into this!
I’m THE WORST at keeping track of my money. I just don’t enjoy it, so an online accounting software was actually one of the very first things that I spent money on as a business owner! I started with Quickbooks Self-Employed first because it had all of the functionality that I needed. But this year, I hired a monthly bookkeeper and they recommended that I upgrade to Quickbooks Online because it has some more features. So that’s what I’m using now and I love the fact that it automatically keeps track of my business income and expenses!
Like I said, I’m not super organized with my money! So when it comes to putting money away for important things like taxes, savings, emergency funds, etc, I really wanted a tool that could just do all of that for me. I started using Catch this year and I LOVE LOVE LOVE it! It’s super simple and perfect for freelancers! All you have to do is set up a plan for something that you want to save money for, then decide what percentage of your income you want to go to that thing. Then Catch syncs with your business bank account and will automatically set aside that amount from every paycheck that you receive. So easy!
Bookkeeping + Accounting
Can you tell I don’t like dealing with money? I’ve paid an accountant to do my taxes from the very beginning, but this year I was eager to hire a bookkeeper to help me get even more organized and handle my books every single month.
I’ve grown my passive income a lot over the past year by only marketing them on Instagram, so this year I felt like it was time to invest more of my time in Pinterest. I knew that I could work on this by myself, but I really wanted to see results quickly so I decided to hire a Pinterest marketer to help me get things set up really well. Since I’m specifically looking to use Pinterest as a funnel to my digital products, I knew that this investment would be worth it for me because better Pinterest engagement will lead to more sales.
This year I also started working with a jr. designer to take some things off of my plate. I only work with her on a project-by-project basis, but I love to bring her on when I’m a little busy and need extra help.
I’ll occasionally outsource web development for custom web projects with clients. This can be a pretty expensive thing to outsource, but I always appreciate handing this part of the project over to someone else. I used to do all web development on my own and it was just taking up way too much of my time (not to mention, stressful). So it’s worth it to me to outsource it from now on!
This is the website hosting platform that I use. There are plenty out there to choose from, but this one is my favorite because their customer service has always been amazing whenever I or my clients have needed help.
Adobe Creative Cloud
Being a designer, this is basically the #1 tool that I rely on to do my work. So I pay for my Adobe subscription every month.
Whenever I wrap up a client project, I always like to send them a little gift through Greetabl. It’s a great, easy way to elevate your client experience and their gifts aren’t too expensive.
I’m a designer, so sometimes I need to buy fonts for projects or just for my own use. I don’t spend a crazy amount of money on Fonts because I usually try to use ones that are free or available to me through Adobe Typekit, but sometimes I find one that I just have to buy.
Mockups / Stock Photos
High-quality mockups and photos are a pretty common purchase for me! I’m always using them in client presentations, but I also need them for my portfolio. A great mockup can really elevate your work, so it’s an important expense for my business. My favorite resource for these are Moyo Studio – they have so many great collections of mockups and photography for creatives!
Education / Coaching
This isn’t a monthly expense, but I’ve invested a lot of money in courses and coaching over the past 2 years. As a business owner, you can learn a lot of things on your own. But if you want to see results faster, it’s always helpful to learn from someone else who’s already been through it! My first really big investment in my business was a mastermind for designers called Design Biz Mastery with Morgan Rapp and it was by far THE BEST money I’ve ever spent for my business! I learned so much through that program and it completely changed the trajectory of my business. So after that, I’ll always value investing in education to move my business forward.
Last year when I was redesigning my website, I also hired a copywriter to help with my website copy and establishing my brand voice. It was SO helpful to have someone do this for me and definitely changed the tone on my website to attract the type of client that I want to work with.
As a business, it’s always important to have up-to-date photos for your website and social media! I’ve invested in brand photography a few times over the years and it’s always been worth it! Having just 1 professional photoshoot for your business a year can really have an impact on the overall perception of your brand.
When I first started, I assumed that I wouldn’t really have many expenses because I was an online business. But obviously, there’s still plenty of stuff that I spend money on to make my business run more smoothly and market myself! I think that the important thing to think about when deciding where to spend your money is focus on the things that will:
- Save you time
- Save you stress
- Streamline something + make your biz more efficient
If you focus on putting your money towards things that accomplish those goals, you’ll be in good shape!