Today I want to give you 12 tips to get scrappy and find more money to invest in your business by using what you’ve already got and asking for more so you can afford the changes that will propel your business.
I’m really passionate about entrepreneurship and want to see people succeed in their endeavors. I’m sharing this information because I’m in lots of social spaces with fellow entrepreneurs and keep seeing an “I cant afford it” theme.
The problem is I think that’s mostly untrue and today I want to share some ways that I’ve saved money, found money, and earned more money so I can make investments that help my business thrive.
I expect you to take these tips and find at least $100, though the potential is much greater.
Be sure to grab my free Starting a Biz Checklist that has 12 action steps to prevent you from making mistakes that can cripple your business.
Also, check out the following blogs that help you take fear out of the numbers side of your biz, save money and stay out of trouble:
There are two quotes I want you to consider before we start diving in.
Replace "I can't afford it" with "it's not a priority" and see how that feels.
If that feels fine, then it's okay. Not everything is a priority. But if this thing you say you can't afford IS a priority to you and saying it's not feels yucky or like you're cheating yourself, then you need to start making some changes to make it happen.
It's important to not cheap out on making the right investments in your business, things that will bring you closer to clients, make you more valuable, or take your business to the next level.
For me, the best investments I made were in a group coaching program, the software that houses my website and blog, and in becoming a CPA to begin with. They were all expensive, and to make those investments I first had to make some changes.
The less you spend the more you earn. So stop spending, start investing, and know the difference.
So the easiest way to find more money is to start spending less. Spending and investing both take dollars. The difference is that spending gives you an immediate benefit that is quickly used up, where investing allows your money to be paid back and then some. Paying for a coffee is spending, paying for a software that helps you connect with customers is an investment.
It's a little too easy these days to make purchases without being mindful of what we're spending or what our bank account looks like. When your payment methods are stored in apps like Amazon, Target, and so on, spending can add up way more than you think.
So while you're in the stages of your business where personal sacrifices make sense, now is a good time to delete those apps that tempt you, and delete your stored payment method so purchasing requires more thought.
None of this has to be permanent, but getting your biz off the ground without burying yourself in debt may take some lifestyle changes. A few ways to save money that might also have added health benefits could include:
Yes, actually open up or print the last 3 months of your bank accounts and credit cards (both personal and your business) and look at each transaction.
Give each item a category like phone, gas, meals, groceries, shopping, and see where your money is going. Make adjustments accordingly. Can you eat out less frequently? Can you put yourself on a temporary shopping freeze? Can you start buying groceries on sale and being more mindful of prices?
It's so easy to spend hundreds or even thousands of dollars a year on small monthly memberships that can add up, some you might not even be using or might not be receiving enough value from to justify.
Get realistic with yourself. Are you paying $45 a month for a gym membership you aren't using? Cancel it and hold yourself accountable to exercise at home or outside until your financial situation improves.
Switch to free versions of paid subscriptions for now. Examples I've done are switched to the free version of Canva, which saves me $120 a year, and switched back to Pandora with commercials to save another $60 a year. You can still use them, just with a smidge less convenience.
This is a biggie and relates to checking your subscriptions. I once realized I was paying $29.99 per month for a stock photo subscriptions I hadn't used at all. I canceled it and called the company, explaining that I had been paying for several months on a free trial turned paid that I had never used. At first they would not refund me the money, but I simply asked if I could speak to a manager and they issues the full refund for all months. This is 100% worth the phone call.
I've also done this with annual packages that I thought I would use and realized were not right. I've canceled during 30 day money back periods to receive a full refund, but other times I passed that window and still asked for a pro-rated discount, which almost everyone honors. So for example, you pay upfront $500 for a year and find you aren't happy with the product 2 months later. You call and cancel, then ask for 10 months worth back. Most big companies will honor this request even if it's not a part of their terms.
This also works for annual subscriptions that rebill but you aren't using. Immediately call, cancel, and request your money back and it is almost always granted, as these fees are paid upfront.
Late payments also work this way. When I first had my son and was a scattered mess of mom brain, I made my credit card payment a few days late. They hit me with a penalty and interest on the entire month. I called and explained I always pay on time, that I have a new child, and I just made payment in full. I requested they remove the penalty and even the interest. If this is a first time occurrence for you and you usually pay on time and in full, they will almost always grant this request as well.
Similar to above just threatening to cancel services that you are not locked into a contract for often results in them offering you a deal. Examples of this are your cable or internet provider and even your cell phone.
If you say that you are going to cancel services and go to a competitor they will often times offer you a deal to stay. This has happened to me with my internet provider. I really did intend to cancel so I set a cancellation date two weeks in the future and during that two weeks I was called several times with offers.
This has also happened to me with online subscriptions of products that are paid annually. If I actually go through canceling then they offer me deals.
Of course, you want to do this with services that you are willing to live without. I would not do this with anything that you actually don't want to leave because there is no guarantee that you will be offered a deal.
But if you don't have a contract on your cable, and you threaten to leave, perhaps you are forced to live without cable for a few months. This might really help your business take off as you'll have more money to invest and also more time to focus!
You will find a lot of deals for paying up front for the year that will save you a lot of money over time if it's something that you know you're going to use and receive benefit for. I do this with not only software for my business but also with my car insurance. Every 6 months I save over $100 paying upfront. This is something to look into. If you can't afford it now, make it part of your long-term goal to save.
It's important to pay close attention to any bill that comes to you. You should make sure that it's valid and that the amount is right.
I was once billed $1,600 for blood work with my first pregnancy. There was no way that I was just going to pay an amount that high without checking into it. It turned out that it was genetic testing that I was not told about and that it was required for the provider to tell me about it and have my written consent before doing the testing. They never told me what they were testing for and I would not have opted for it had I known the cost. In this case, I actually looked up the rules and submitted a letter to my insurance carrier and eventually the bill was removed. $1,600 is a lot of money and was worth my time figuring that out.
Another example would be tax bills. If you receive a bill for non-filing, that is usually an estimated figure. Sometimes they may just have not received your return and there was a mix up in the mail. You should always call and figure out what the bill is for and if that is an estimated amount or a true amount to pay.
One other thing to be aware of is when you are getting mail for your company that there are some companies out there who will send you things that look like bills that are not really legit.
This happens a lot when companies set up LLCs or register a corporation. They'll get mail telling them that they have an amount due to get a copy of their filing or annual minutes. These are services that you do not need and that amount is not something that you need to pay it but it looks like it's coming from the government.
If it seems like a scam do a quick Google search and try to figure out if this is something that you're actually required to pay or not.
This one will give you a double benefit! You will not only declutter your life but you can also sell what you aren't using and don't need.
There are several apps that you can use to sell items and make it convenient. I usually prefer to sell on Facebook to people that I know first. If nobody you know wants to buy, then you can use something local like OfferUp or LetGo, or if it's something more valuable that you'd be willing to ship you can also use eBay.
I don't prefer to tell you to get another job just to fund your current job but there are ways to make money offering services for things you're already doing. There is an app called NextDoor that connects you to your neighbors. You could offer services like dog-walking if you are already in the neighborhood often and can do that people. You could also arrange your own little grocery delivery. When you're going shopping you could post and pick up items for people and charge a little bit of a fever. You could also do house sitting for your neighbors if you're going to be in town. During the holidays you could even do some gift wrapping.
If you have a bit more freedom in your life and are willing to work a few more hours you could pick up some side gigs on NextDoor like house cleaning or home organization or you could even drive for Uber or do some freelancing on Fiverr.
One great way to make more money in your business is to simply charge more money for your current products or services. Next week I'll be diving in to how to increase your prices without complaints so be on the lookout for a deep dive in to that!
When I was putting these tips together, I checked Florida Unclaimed property and found $40 for myself. I received a check a few weeks later!
Every state has a website, so just search your state and "unclaimed property" and it will pop up. You can enter your name and it will search for any money owed to you. This may be utility deposits, amounts leftover at banks, checks that you were sent that were returned, old paychecks, amounts left at banks, and more.
Be sure to stay in touch and check out my free resources. The best place to start is by getting your Free Starting a Biz Checklist to make sure your business is set up right and you haven't missed a step that could cost you a lot of money or potentially cripple your business.
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