==== Newsletter Archive ====

No where, right?!

You’re bootstrapping your business, and if you’re anything like me, you’re proud of how little you spend.

Okay, good, but it could be costing you a lot more than you think not spending anything.

I’m going to take this month off from giving strict technical instruction and talk where to spend money on your business for the biggest booms, and provide resources [below] that help you succeed.

Just because you can run your business on $15 a month, doesn’t always mean you should. This was a hard lesson for me to learn. I could never seem to break the barrier between hobby and salary until I spent money on things that truly helped.

I grew up frugal, I knew running an online business could be done for next to nothing, you need a website, and a way to take money, everything else you can find, create, and do through ingenuity right?

Well yes, but ignoring anything that cost over $50 can and usually does cost hundreds of hours in productivity, it’s like paddling upstream with a baseball bat. The difference between doing and quitting.

Spending money on the right things increases the rate at which you’ll succeed, or fail, both things you want to do as quickly as possible when you’re starting out.

*I’m cheap, none of these things are actually that expensive.

Spend Money On

  • Hosting: The availability of your app, or website, is like your storefront, and must be fast and always available. Downtime is not acceptable. WP Engine when it’s critical, Hostgator or Bluehost when starting and building.
  • Help: You know the drill here, if you’re wasting your time trying to make a logo or in contrast coding, hire someone to do this. In order to see how clear this choice really is, estimate how long it will take you to do something you’re horrible at, that someone will pay $200 for, then go on Craigslist and find a gig you can easily accomplish for roughly the same price, this flicks the knob in your brain.
  • Accountability / Focus: The bane of the entrepreneur is often focus. Do whatever you need to in order to focus on clear deliverable goals. Hold mastermind meetings with peers, create a community on Google+ or a private group on Facebook, or just start e-mailing. Use Stickk to put real money on the line, or bet me $100. Ramit Sethi’s brother, Maneesh hired someone to slap him when he procrastinates, literally.
  • Feedback: You want feedback often when starting. One of the best services I’ve paid for, and most eye opening was UserTesting.com and more recently Criticue (free!). You want people telling you what sucks or what doesn’t work ASAP.
  • Capability Enhancers: Tools that expand your capacity, and allow you to automate.
  • Your First Users: At first I wanted money from my users, now I just want them to be happy…because it makes more money. How do you make them happy? Give them stuff, make special video’s just for a user and say thank you. Noah Kagan of AppSumo personally e-mailed his first 1000 users to say thanks for putting food on his table. It makes a huge difference.

Don’t Spend Money On

  • Ads: Marketing, to get initial users and feedback can be useful, but general ad campaigns while you’re still validating your idea isn’t money well spent. Advertising should feel like a tactical action that will yield a return, not a shotgun in the dark.
  • The “industry standard” Tools: I understand you want to do it right, so it’s the Adobe Creative Suite, Wistia video hosting, Wishlist Member, and Apple everything all from the start right?”Fake it until you make it” doesn’t always apply, your outcome is more important.I purchased the Adobe Suite, only to let the shiny icons sit in my dock where I realized I don’t have years to learn them, and it costs $99 to get some great sales page graphics created.
  • Over-educating: Courses that will distract you from building your company are only slowing you down. I advocate always learning, but if you’re on Udemy for a couple hours a day learning about graphic design when you have a logo, or taking a certification course when you still don’t have customers, you’ve found a nice looking way to procrastinate.Obviously we’re not all the same, your skill-set, and business will indicate specialties, but I urge you to take an hour this week to think about what you could spend money on to catapult your business forward.

I truly hope this has been useful, and want to hear if it wasn’t.

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