You wake up and look at the clock. In a panic you realize that your alarm didn’t go off! You’ll be late for work. Your boss will yell at you again right in front of that coworker who’s always looking at you like she can’t believe you were hired. You’ll inevitably spill coffee on your white pants and be forced to glance at it all afternoon while you type away at your computer pretending to be productive. You’re already mentally counting down the hours until you can get home and tackle the million things you’re behind on for your side hustle. And then you remember… you don’t have to go to work. In fact, your alarm didn’t go off because you didn’t set it. You’re finally an entrepreneur and master of your own time. You’re free!
And boy does that freedom feel good. You slowly meander around the house. You use the pour over you got for Christmas. You stay in your yoga pants. You read the mail.
Better get used to that feeling of freedom, because it’s about to seep into every area of your life. And with freedom comes responsibility. Not obligation – no, that’s when you lose your ability to choose. I mean responsibility – deciding what to make of your newfound freedom. And most importantly, figuring out how to keep it.
Your first instinct is going to be to save. To be frugal with your money and hold onto it tightly, lest it sneaks away and pushes you back into that horrible cubicle. I’ve definitely been there. I’ve overcommitted and held onto every precious penny to create some semblance of stability. Even at the cost of my health and the lifestyle I desired when I first started my creative business. So many people will tell you to have months and months of backup cash. And yeah, I don’t disagree – that’s definitely the goal and makes for amazing peace of mind. But I wouldn’t say save at all costs. Save diligently and slowly. And consider how investing may make you better able to scale where you are most profitable.
The second temptation is going to be to spend where everyone else is spending. This is also not a great path to go down, because every entrepreneur has different needs and a different style of learning. The point of investing in your business is either to learn or to grow. And you need to be really clear on how you learn best and also how you want to grow. Investments without purpose breed frustration and stress.
I’ve compiled a list of 25 ideas for you to use as you consider how to invest in your business. Many of these I’ve tried for myself and strongly recommend! And below I’m going to share how these investments have added to the growth and profitability of my studio – and how they might benefit yours.
But first, I want you to take a second to do some self-reflecting. How do you enjoy learning? Independently or among your peers? Through experience or curriculum? What do you want to learn more about – which topics are you struggling to master? What kind of people do you need more of – industry friends, mentors, customers? Where do you want to go? What kind of setting do you want to be in?
Five Reasons to Invest in Your Business
For starters, investing as much as you can back into your business is the absolute best way to avoid the heavy tax fees that take most entrepreneurs by surprise. You’ll be able to legally report a lower profit and see more rewards for your hard-earned cash.
This mindset prioritizes growth over high profits. It’s my belief that by keeping your lifestyle as frugal and simple as possible, and investing heavily back into your business, you’ll see a longer growth track and experience more joy and freedom in having a solid business foundation.
But being a frugal person and heavy business spender does not mean that you have to miss out on some of the fun opportunities that are available – consider being just as creative and imaginative with your investments as you are in your business!!
Always wanted to visit a particular city and stay in that lovely boutique hotel? See if there’s a networking conference or workshop you can participate in and turn it into a business trip!
Whether it’s getting a financial planner, going to a retreat, hiring a coach or consultant, or enhancing your digital presence – investing in your business has some big tax-saving benefits.
Another amazing perk is the opportunity to extend your network and build powerful industry relationships. Some of my best friends have been a result of a working relationship or someone sitting next to me at a fun conference.
When considering networking opportunities, choose events that naturally attract like-minded people. Pay close attention to the messaging and take a look through photos from past gatherings. Are these the kind of people you’d want to call friends? Do you share common interests and passions? You may just find a new mastermind opportunity, a business partner, or a fun collaboration!
When participating in an online program, conference, workshop, or mastermind, I highly encourage you to take advantage of the opportunity to engage in the community. Even though I can personally admit to often finding the curriculum more inspiring than the comments, I have built ongoing relationships that have provided more value to my business through the community of these outlets rather than the keynote topic.
Another great way to get the most out of a community is to offer chances to interact outside of the confines of the event. If it’s online – start following each other on social media and engaging with each other’s content! If it’s a conference, consider asking a few people to go out for dinner or drinks afterwards to continue the conversation and compare notes. If you click with a small group at a workshop, think about meeting up to practice your new skill and offer pointers!
And on another note, you’ll begin to enjoy the benefits of delegation. That difficult project that’s holding you back? Handled. That website that’s been driving you nuts? Also handled. And all by experts who eagerly dive into your business and make it shine!
I cannot tell you how much I love and value the people who have stepped in to help me grow my business. I met Alli at a workshop and she helped me transition DesignbyKadie to Drop Cap Design. Meg, who I met through her online membership platform Square Design Guild, has now worked with our studio to produce dozens of Squarespace websites.
That is just a small testament to the way that relationships can flourish into business opportunities. If I’m going to invest money into the growth of my business, I would much rather hire friends than strangers and see their own businesses grow as a result. And all of these relationships were built out of a community experience and learning alongside and from each other as peers.
You’ll experience more freedom in your day, get to interact with friends, and see your business grow all at the same time!
Another great way to think about event experiences is to see the opportunity to meet potential customers. Whether it’s in person or online, talking passionately about your business, product, or service will naturally create new customers and clients. People love seeing someone passionate about what they do and investing in that inspiration and excitement.
Often when I’m considering a new online course, conference, or event – I think about what may come as a result of it. If I pay a few hundred dollars for a ticket and end up with even one client as a result? Totally worth my time.
And finally, your business will grow. I’m sorry. It won’t just grow. Your business will SOAR with each investment you make in its growth. Your audience will begin to see how you’re taking your business seriously. As you invest in other entrepreneurs, they too will send referrals your way. You will increase your network, decrease your stress, and multiply your revenue.
There are so many benefits to investing in your creative business, and by default investing in yourself.
25 Ways I’ve Invested in Drop Cap Design
- Trademarking my business and signature products
- An invoicing software that automatically takes out taxes from client payments (GAME CHANGER!)
- Many business coaches throughout the years, this is my most current one
- A trip to Seattle with a friend to check out Create + Cultivate
- A systems expert to help me navigate Dubsado + ClickUp
- A copywriter to help me refine my brand voice (which has made content creation so much easier since!)
- An online program that took me step-by-step through the course creation process
- Many virtual assistants to help me with different aspects of my business, from email management to course launches and everything in between
- Help with my most recent website redesign from the best in the biz
- Many masterminds and group programs, from copywriting to business mindset and more!
- An iPad for my studio that allowed me to start doing digital illustrations like the one above (and then led to children’s books and more)
- A 2-day retreat with Rocky Garza to unpack my strengths and set a vision for the studio
- Beautiful brand photography that has allowed me to uplevel my content creation.
- Camera equipment to start taking on my traveling adventures and better document my experiences
- A studio space downtown so that I can “go to work” and create more consistency and routine in my life
- A desktop computer that makes it easier to create websites and design on a larger scale
- Endless online courses, which have become my favorite way to learn, uplevel, and add to my entrepreneurial skillset
- Other industry design peers during really busy seasons so I didn’t experience burnout, which ended up being a really fun collaborative experience
- Templates and resources to help me learn how to create assets in my business like proposals, contracts, media kits, and more.
- An accountant and a CPA, because money is so not my thing.
- A financial advisor to help me make a plan for the future
- A really amazing course platform that would give my students the kind of experience I always dreamed of.
- A community platform to create networking opportunities for our students
- An Adobe Creative Cloud membership that gives me access to all of the most premium design tools on the market to best serve my clients
- A premium email marketing software that has made The Sunday Edition our highest performing weekly content
But there is a smart way to do it, and you don’t want to spend money on just ANYTHING. By all means, do your homework. Make a smart investment. Talk to their previous clients or customers. Read the reviews. And all of these investments were over the course of nearly 10 years, so don’t feel the need to jump on each one right from the beginning.
Write down all the additional costs that may be associated with it – plane tickets, lodging, time, new business cards, or even preparation. Is it a monthly subscription? Is the timing right? Will it feel forced or natural? Are you ready to get the absolute most from the experience? Will you have time to take it seriously?
And then when you’re ready – DO IT already. Make the purchase and mark your calendar. Get excited. Share your experience with your audience and become an advocate for both the event and the people you meet there. Be an excited, enthusiastic participant. Take the creatives you hire seriously. Give them your time and creative energy. Do your homework and show up.
If it hasn’t convinced you yet – 95% of Warren Buffet’s wealth comes from 10 strategic investments. I think we can all learn a thing or two from one of the wealthiest men in the world!