This post is in partnership with Intuit Quickbooks. This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting brands who support TCM. As always, all thoughts, opinions, experience, and advice is my own.
When I first started my company back in 2014 I was terrified to invest in my business. I had bills to pay and a strong desire to never go back to my 9-5 grind. Seriously, I was willing to go back to waitressing before desk life! That first year in business, my expenses were beyond bootstrapped – I'm talking a website, business cards and gas were the only things I spent money on. Which worked out great initially. I matched my take home pay from my previous career that first year all while working a third of the amount of time!
Queue end of year reflection and panic settling in! I realized my business wasn't set to scale. At the time, I facilitated groups and worked one-on-one with clients in developing life skills and did some consulting on the side. In other words, I had to travel a lot to be “on location” and my income was directly tied to me being physically present. I didn't want to take on more hours since while I worked less than in my 9-5, I was only getting paid when I was “on” and I was growing exhausted.
I realized then I needed to make some changes and start investing into my business if I wanted to stay my own boss. Over these last few years I've invested in my company in a lot of ways – and my company has changed a lot. Here are my top tips for investing in your business:
Drop the scarcity mindset
If you approach your business with a scarcity mindset – in other words thinking there is never enough – you might as well quit now. Instead, invest in yourself by shifting your mindset to one of abundance. When you can get to a place where you recognize there is enough money and customers for your business you'll start to see major shifts. You'll no longer worry or obsess over the competition, but instead come up with creative way to stand out from the crowd or build strategic partnerships to increase your reach (and in turn, your revenue)!
Hire a coach or consultant
You simply don't know what you don't know when you're starting or growing a company (especially if it's your first time or a new industry). It can help to reach out to a coach or consultant to get a clearer view on where the holes are in your current business, ways to revamp and re-strategize for growth, and to stay motivated through it all. Being an entrepreneur – especially a solopreneur – can feel lonely at times. This gives you an opportunity to work with a partner so to speak while navigating this new territory or when you hit a plateau.
Get your finances in order
Finances are often one of, if not the, biggest pain points for entrepreneurs. First, you never know how much you'll make from month to month. Second, you may not know all the ins and outs of book keeping, tax write-offs, and accounting which can lead to financial chaos and feelings of overwhelm. Lastly, those feelings can put you in straight avoidance which may leave you with a company in debt or totally afraid to actually invest in the future of your company. Either way, it's not a fun place to be.
So get your finances in order! Set yourself up on Quickbooks to keep track of the daily and big picture financial position of your company. Quickbooks makes it easy to manage your bills and invoices so you can stress less about due dates and focus your efforts on growing your business.
Set aside time
Schedule your business development time on your calendar just like you'd schedule a client meeting or content creation time or any other customer focused task. Personally, every week on Friday I set aside some time to sit down and review my transactions for the week and categorize all my receipts and transactions. By using a Quickbooks to manage my income and expenses, I can see tons of categories that are potential write-offs I may have overlooked otherwise. In other words, if you're using a DIY excel sheet to track these things, you may be missing out on important categories and write off opportunities!
Aside from spending the time balancing your books, you'll also want to spend time reading and learning. Read the Quickbooks blog and learn more about tax deductions and write offs. See if you can learn where the holes are in your finances or time to increase overall productivity and earnings.
Set up your space
I spent the first year of business running all over town working out of the locations contracting me in. Once I moved my business on-line I spent most of the time working from the couch. However once I actually bought a desk and set it up in the corner of my tiny apartments living room I started to see big changes in my mood and productivity. Today I have a full blown home office that I can meet with in-person or digital clients from with pride. I spend tons of time in it simply creating and can whole-heartedly say it's made such a difference in my ability to get things done. So whether it's a tiny corner of your apartment or a full blow office space, make sure you set up an actual work space somewhere that inspires you.
Improve your systems
LBH, there are certain tasks we all hate doing as entrepreneurs. Spend some time finding solutions to automate the systems you don't enjoy in your business. For instance, if you hate going back and forth with people via email when scheduling a call, consider using a scheduling calendar. If you hate tracking employee payroll or managing contractors using Quickbooks can make your life easier with their free 24-hour direct deposit. Quickbooks also makes it easy to track federal and state tax requirements right from their system. If you hate tracking mileage for your tax write-off, Quickbooks Self-Employed also uses GPS to automatically track your mileage and their customers have logged over $7,000 on average in mileage deductions each year! This could be an area you're massively missing out on without the proper system in place!
Make sure to recharge & rest
One of the easiest ways to invest in your business is by investing in your overall well being. No one likes to work with a business owner who is short tempered and near sighted! To traits that can definitely rear their ugly heads when you're feeling depleted. Make sure you're getting enough sleep, working out regularly, and have some sort of mindfulness routine to take care of yourself physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Running and growing a business isn't always freedom and fun, but it isn't always hustle either. Once I started to slow down and restructure my business using the above tips, I saw my income begin to double year after year. Remember, hustling is great, but you can only run on fumes for so long before you need to start working smarter instead of harder!