It can be a bit overwhelming to balance what you need in order to set yourself up for success with what you can actually afford. It would be amazing to have all the tools and resources you need right from the start of your business, but sometimes you have to make do with what you have available to you. The challenge is sorting through what is absolutely essential versus what’s a luxury — and then find some really great alternatives to those luxuries for the same or similar results.
There is so much you can do to grow your business with very little. Just to prove it to you, here’s a list of 10 micro investments you can make in your business today that will save you time, boost your productivity, and/or generate new business:
- ShowIt: If you’re just starting out and the thought of creating your own website makes you break down into tears, ShowIt is a lifesaver. Designed for creative entrepreneurs, ShowIt has so many gorgeous templates to choose from (my template is from The Palm Shop) that you can then customize without any coding knowledge. If you can click and drag, you can build a beautiful, professional website with ShowIt. The monthly subscription includes edits, hosting and customer support.
- Books: Resist the temptation to buy online courses and pick up a new book to freshen up your skills and expand your horizons. There are so many great options out there that are just as helpful (if not more so) than an online course, and they’re a fraction of the price. You can even check the library and skip the cost altogether. (Want a few suggestions? Check out 7 Must-Read Books BEFORE You Buy an Online Course.)
- Virtual Assistant: If you’re bogged down by administrative tasks that are taking you away from business (like sending your contracts or managing your inbox), hiring a VA is usually an affordable solution. Data entry, paperwork, research, posting to social media — all of these are examples of the little things you could be delegating to a VA that would free you up for more important, business-generating tasks that would be a better use of your time.
- Canva: If you can’t afford a VA or graphic designer, you can get the premium version of Canva. It’s user-friendly, affordable ($12/month), and will save you tons of time with your blog and social graphics. Spend a few hours setting up a template for social media images in advance, and all you’ll have to do is pop in the image and type in your text. They also have so many pretty, predesigned templates that you can customize.
- Buffer: Buffer is your social media sanity. You can schedule most of your social media using the free version of Buffer (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Google+, and LinkedIn), but the Premium version ($10/month) will allow you to schedule 100 posts (versus 10) per platform as well as schedule your pins on Pinterest. The web browser button makes it super quick and easy to pull relevant content to share and schedule as you’re browsing the internet.
- BoardBooster: Pinterest can be one of the more time-consuming social media platforms, and BoardBooster makes managing your boards so much easier. Not only can you use BoardBooster to schedule your pins, but you can also create campaigns with group boards, test for broken links or duplicate pins, split boards, delete multiple pins in one click, and analyze your performance.
- Plann: Does your Instagram feed lack harmony? Plann allows your to visually plan your posts. Just upload your photos and drag them around till your feed looks flawless. You can schedule your posts and their captions in advance, and you can create sets of relevant hashtags for every occasion so they’re always on hand when you post. (If you’re looking for a hands-off solution that posts for you, we’re big fans of Schedugram here.)
- Stock photography: If photography is not your forté or your focus, you can elevate your brand AND save yourself time by investing in some quality stock photography. Haute Chocolate and KateMaxStock are favorites for gorgeous, modern, and feminine photos for entrepreneurs and creatives.
- CoSchedule: If you’re a blogger, you’ll love CoSchedule. It allows you to create an editorial calendar, schedule your posts, and schedule social media right from your post drafts. It makes it super easy to make sure your best performing posts are consistently being shared on social media. It syncs with WordPress, Evernote, Google Docs, and Google Analytics, and it lets you curate content directly from your web browser on Google Chrome.
- Time: When was the last time you actually looked into your business and thought about what’s going well and what’s not? It’s really easy to get lost in day-to-day tasks, so it’s a great investment to schedule and set aside time to get strategic about growing your business.
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What are some of your favorite inexpensive tools or money-saving tricks for running your business? Share it in the comments!