When I left my teaching job in May 2013 to grow Write Solutions, I did so with a handful of clients—most of whom I found via a low-paying online job board. I loved what I was doing, but I was working for peanuts.
Fast-forward about a year and I had made little headway in the pay department. I was still enjoying what I was doing but money was tight and I was working 60+ hours a week. I was frustrated and burning out, quickly.
Up to that point, I was doing it all myself. I worked out of my home office and attended occasional in-person networking events, but made very few real connections. I was quickly spiraling down the path of going back to a day job, and in fact did start a nearly full time job again simply because I panicked about income.
I had heard of business coaching, but didn’t know much about it. And the only real contact I’d had with a business coach was one who told me if I didn’t hire her (to the tune of thousands of dollars), my business would fail. I was having trouble just keeping my household afloat, so there was no way I was investing thousands into her.
But I knew I needed help.
About the same time I Googled “Phoenix business coach,” I also discovered Facebook groups—a great alternative to in-person networking (which, as an introvert, I have a hard time with anyway). I found a local business coach and spent about 90 minutes driving to her home office to meet with her. Because, rush hour.
Since then, I’ve made a number of other investments in my business, all of which have helped move me forward in ways I never knew possible. Here’s where I’ve spent the bulk of my investments, and why.
- 1:1 Business Coaching. This was my first big investment, and something I continue to invest in. Working one-to-one with a coach allows you to truly focus on you and your own goals. That same local business coach I found a few years ago? I’m still working with her, but we meet virtually now.
- The Savvy Experience. This investment was a tough one for me because of the price tag, and because the conference was during the week. I find it hard to get away on “school days” because of my mom responsibilities. Luckily, my mom came over to stay with my daughter (and dogs) so I could take advantage of this conference that was right in my own backyard.
- Mastermind Groups. I’ve been in both paid and unpaid mastermind groups, all for different end games. The paid groups have focused on one clear goal that I was working toward, while the unpaid groups are investments in my time as the group members work together to support one another in business.
- Technology. I must have a magnetic personality because I’ve been through more computers than I care to admit. But the busier I got in my business, the more my laptop couldn’t keep up. I guess having eight programs open at a time, plus 42 browser tabs really slows down tech. Go figure. So I invested in a new desktop computer with a second (huge!) screen. Of course, there’s so much more to technology than just computers. I also pay for Canva, social scheduling, Acuity scheduling, an email service, etc. Going for free alternatives has been nice, but eventually I’ve outgrown free versions and moved toward paid services.
- Contractors. We weren’t meant to do it all alone—in life or in business. Hiring help in my business has been both frustrating and totally necessary. I built my first website myself, but then eventually knew I needed someone else to make it more professional. So I hired a graphic designer and a developer to help. I’ve also worked with a virtual assistant on a project-only basis and a long-term VA. All have been pivotal in freeing up my time so I can dive deeper into the work in my business.
- Copy School. This year, I decided I wanted to learn more about my craft from big players in the industry. So I invested in a high-end copywriting training course through Copy Hackers. The course is still in progress, but I’m learning about creating copy that converts, writing killer sales pages and crafting email sequences. I’m loving learning something new about what I love, something that will allow me to bring more value to my clients.
- My Time. Everything we do is an investment in time, and I try to find meaningful ways to support my business. One thing that’s done wonders for my mindset and my business growth is investing time in connecting with others through virtual coffee chats. These allow me to get to know other business owners and exchange ideas and tips. And the fact that I can network in this way virtually is a huge bonus!
Making that first investment in your business is tough, especially when finances are tight. If I hadn’t taken the leap and hired my first business coach, I am certain that I would have continued to flounder around. I’m so thankful I made the investment and hope that I keep making the right investments for my small business to grow.