When it come to investing in your blog and business, finding the extra income can be a little tricky. Often when we're just starting out we are students, new parents, twenty-somethings, taking a risk, or leaving a job. We don't usually have a ton of cash on hand ready to invest in our shiny new blog or creative business.
Now, I'm not saying that you do need a ton of money to start— you don't. I didn't. I grew my list to over 1300 subscribers and my monthly views to over 65,000 without spending a cent on advertising or costly lead-generating systems like Lead Pages. But it can be useful to have a little extra income to pay for some tools and systems that are really useful for building a successful blog and creative business.
Am I about to give you a magical solution to making $3000 a day while working at home? Definitely not. I'm going to show you how you can reallocate funds you already have to better serve you.
The Daily Coffee
Raise your hand if you're guilty. I know you're out there. You grab a coffee on the way to work, or at lunch. Maybe it's a habit you got into during the winter, maybe your coworkers encouraged it. Let me tell you right now that this is the easiest way you can cover all the important things you need to get your blog or creative business going. Seriously.
Lets assume you're spending $3 a day on coffee. For some of you, this may be a little high (hello, Canadian Tim Horton's drinkers). For others, a little low— I'm looking at you, $5 latte.
$3 x 30 = $90/monthly = $1080/yearly
Get a sweet tumbler from Starbucks or DavidsTea (be warned. The DavidsTea ones keep your tea hot forever) and make the best tea and coffee from home before you head out. Even buying $20/lb gorgeous fair trade beans, grinding them yourself and making coffee is still cheaper than buying out. A lot cheaper. When you do go out for coffee every now and then, it becomes an extraordinary treat— something you look forward to for days, rather than something that has just become a part of your everyday routine.
What you can do with $90/monthly:
- Hire a virtual assistant for a few hours (6hrs x $15)
- Pay for a Teachable subscription to host your online courses
- Pay to send mail to your list with Mailchimp ($30-$90)
- Set up Tailwind to rock Pinterest ($10)
- Pay for a stock photography subscription like Death to Stock to fill your blog with gorgeous images ($15)
The Lunch Run
This is another bad habit that folks working in offices or typical work places tend to fall into. Your mornings are rushed and groggy, and you totally hate making sandwiches for lunch anyway. You promise yourself you're actually going to do it this time, and then somehow you're at Subway or Wholefoods forking out a ridiculous sum of money to get you by. This is a much easier habit to avoid when you work from home, but if you're working a day job and hustling your passion-project on the side, you might find yourself falling into this trap. I'm going to low-ball it here, although you could be spending anywhere from $4 to $12 to buy yourself lunch depending on where you are. Assuming you buy lunch only twice a week...
$6 x 8 = $48/monthly = $576/yearly
To be completely honest, fellow bosses, I hate making my lunch too. Luckily working from home I can actually make a meal like pasta or a panini. However, making your lunch doesn't have to mean making a boring ass ham sandwich. Get on Pinterest, and get serious about your business. There are so many wonderful ideas out there.
What you can do with $48/monthly:
Am I totally sucking the fun out of everything yet? Remember that you don't have to cut all of these things out of your life. Minimizing your expenses in any area will give you a little extra income to boost your business. Now, you're probably not this person, but I know people who go out for dinner or buy take out almost every single day of the week. If they're not doing that, they're eating frozen meals out of a box. Let's assume you're buying a drink with your meal, and you're going out twice a month. This puts you at probably $30.
$30 x 2 = $60/monthly = $720/yearly
If this is you, think about how you could be transforming your business, and get out the cutting board. Making a nutritious meal that costs you as little as a dollar is a great way to save money, get healthy and give yourself a little break from your blog and business. It's important to slow down every now and then, and this is a really fantastic way to do it— bonus points if you use meal-making as bonding time with your partner. Rather than head out for dinner, make it really special. Get out those candles, put on your favourite music. You can make every meal your favourite meal.
If you live in a city with somewhat decent public transportation, chances are you can get by pretty well with public transportation— and even better, a bike. Two birds, one stone; fitness and transportation. Of course, there are some situations when you simply need a car, but if you're rocking on for convenience, really consider what you're giving up here. You could be spending at least $50 a month on gas, $300 a month on a car payment, $150 a month on insurance, never mind the cost of maintaining a car. Let's call it $500 a month.
$500 x 12 = $6000/yearly
If you're really serious about growing your business, this is the biggest untapped potential you might have. Think of what you could do with $6000 or more each year to invest in growing your business. Not to mention adding to your health and happiness, and decreasing the load on the planet. It's a pretty epic choice.
What you can do with $500/monthly:
- Get serious about creative coaching, or web design
- Take a course you've been coveting which you are sure will help your business (Don't get swindled folks. You don't need to pay thousands of dollars to join exclusive clubs).
- What can't you do with $500 monthly?
Going out for a drink every now and then is not the worst idea— especially for us folks who spend a lot of time working from home and might not see other living creatures besides our cat for long period of time. It's a good way to meet like-minded people who may also be creative entrepreneurs. But when it becomes a habit, it's an expensive habit. Whether you're going out or having a few drinks at home, let's look at how you can use this to take your business to the next level. Let's assume we have two drinks when we go out.
$14 x 4 = $56/monthly $672/yearly
You can save a lot of money by hosting friends over at your house rather than heading out— and to be honest, for a lot of us introverts, it can be a lot more fun, too.
What you can do with $56/monthly:
- buy books to continue your education (never stop learning!)
- Pay for a great looking theme for your blog if you're going the DIY route, such as Headway ($60, when on sale)
This also applies to vices of other types— cigarettes, The Legal Green, whathaveyou. If you find yourself mired in a sticky habit, think hard about what you really want.
Here I'm including everything from going out to see movies, buying clothes, expensive TV packages, and overprice cellphones. I guarantee there is somewhere here you can cut your expenses— even if it might seem a little crazy. Call your internet/phone/TV service provider and try to renegotiate a better deal— or better yet, cancel one of them. Get simple.
At the beginning of last Fall, I ditched my phone completely, and the experience has been wonderful. Try getting rid of yours for just a couple of days and see how you do— you may be totally shocked by how transformative the experience is, and how much more mindfully you live your day to day life.
A FEW tips
Challenge yourself to making $100. Go through the bulging closet and put up nice items that you no longer wear on Ebay or Kijiji. If it's summer-time, host a garage sale (they're kind of fun, to be honest). Go through your kitchen and get rid of the niche kitchen-accessory you got for your wedding shower and never touched ever. I guarantee there are a few things in your house which you could swap for some cash. Old DVDs? Books? To a used book store with them!
I also suggest unsubscribing from the mailing lists of the likes of Anthropologie, Groupon, etc, especially if you have a bit of a shopping habit you're trying to curb. Removing the temptation is incredibly helpful, and allows you to reallocate that money to something that will generate lasting happiness, rather than the temporary endorphin rush that comes with spending.
Are you ready to stop wasting time and take your blog to the next level?