“Busy-ness” does not equal business, yet I still see you guys who are launching your first (or second, or third) gig mixing the two up. At the beginning, it’s easy to lose focus on your priorities and what you should actually be doing with your time. You pile up the tasks because you always want to be doing something. Plus, it’s easy to hide behind a mountain of to-dos. (So when people ask how your new business is going, you can tell them that you’re “so busy!” and that feels awesome in the moment.)
If you’re an offender (my past self is totally included, so please, don’t be shy to hold your hand up) there’s something you need to know. Keeping yourself busy, but not productive, is nothing more than an old, dirty security blanket. One that shields you from taking a real look at your business and how it’s actually progressing (or not).
What you need to be doing are the things that lead to RESULTS.
If you’ve been in business for less than six months and you’re reaching for your wallet to build a custom website, buy a “last minute, this deal is ending soon” course, or join a tropical business conference… reel yourself in!
I’m not saying all early investments in your business are bad — not at all! But I’m pretty sure every single entrepreneur has a “Yeah, I dropped $500 on that thing when I first launched, and it was such a stupid idea!” story. It makes total sense why so many new business owners fall into this rabbit hole. Starting a business is SCARY. You want to believe all the promises out there. You want to sell as well as you’ve been sold to.
You’re in (one of) the most vulnerable positions you’ll probably ever be in. You’re putting yourself out there, and you may even FAIL at it (side note: everything is a learning opportunity for your next stepping stone). OF COURSE, you’d eye those shiny secret formulas from people who look like they have their act together.
So you grab your credit card, because “you have to spend money to make money”, right? This magic bean will help you jump from “total newbie” to “seasoned business owner”. Mistake. And one you’ll probably regret. (Hopefully it doesn’t set you too far back.)
Once you realize it’s FEAR pushing you toward your purchasing habits, it’s surprisingly simple to know if you should actually take the leap and invest. Here’s my tips:
Sleep on it! Don’t get taken in by the latest flash sale for a product or service you’ve never even thought about before. Your time, effort, and money are all precious at this early stage, so be very intentional about spreading any of your resources too thin. If it’s meant to be it will still be there for you when you wake up.
Get clear on your goals. Make sure you know your long term and short term goals. Will this investment you’re considering move you closer to either one?
Is there a clear ROI (return on investment)? For every investment you make in your business, you should always be thinking about what kind of return you’ll see on that investment. If you’re investing in a new website design, you know that it will add to your credibility as a professional and help you in booking clients. If you’re investing in a course, you might be learning a new skill which means you could add to your list of services or charge a premium.
For certain things, like investing in a coach, the monetary return may not be immediately obvious. But if you really think about what you’re gaining by working with a coach (and this could be anything from a mindset coach to a sales coach) you’re learning skills that will make you a better business owner, and being a great business owner is sure to help you bring in that return!
When you want to start your business off on the right foot, it makes total sense to do your research and invest where you need to. Just make sure you don’t fall victim to “shiny object syndrome.”
There will always be something new to buy that seems like the one thing that’s standing between you and your first taste of success as an online business owner. But, the only thing standing in the way of your businesses being hugely successful, is you and your fears.