Every penny really does help
You see, I like shopping and better still, a good deal or bargain if you like and the internet is to me a complete godsend on that front. So in answer to that question, why would I if I don’t have to?! Applying this same principle to business resources has been especially useful as a small and young business. One of the beauties of an online business (dependent on the type of business) is being able to minimise overheads, why then would you want to spend all savings on software and the like.
Of course, the nature of the business will have a bearing on its requirements and there are some things that you just have to pay the going rate for and others it is prudent to do so and not pay peanuts, you get my drift. However, that being said, there are options out there to help you save. These are 3 things I have found to be cost efficient for me.
PDF Editor: You may well be familiar with the main major player in this arena and likewise you’re probably familiar with the price tag as well. I don’t have to do a lot of pdf editing, conversion etc so the cost of going with the biggest brand was not only costly but actually not an option as a very small start up with few clients. After some research, I came across Smallpdf and was amazed to find that I could do all the things I wanted and for a very pocket friendly $48 a year. I consider that win!
Virtual Landline: The original incarnation of JD Assist was as a virtual assistance business offering administrative support and I joined an association which required that the business had a landline contact number, not just a mobile. As it was, I didn’t really want to use my personal mobile number or home number for work and this lead me to finding out what other options there were other than having a second mobile number and carrying 2 phones around with me (not to mention being locked into another 2 year contract).
That is how I found out about virtual landlines, they can be local or national, divert to a mobile, have hunt groups if needed and no contract in my experience. After some trial and error, I have found one that works for me as I can have incoming and outgoing calls to landlines and mobiles for an all in price of just £9 (inc VAT) a month – another win.
Editing Software: I had very little prior experience of Photoshop and to be honest, my requirements were not so high level – I leave that to my brother, seeing as he’s the photographer (he very kindly took the pictures of me that are on the site, shameless plug but he’s family). Like the pdf software, you may be familiar with the price tag associated with Photoshop and once again it was somewhat out of reach. As you’ve no doubt worked out, I went searching and if you look hard enough you tend to find something, which is exactly what I found by way of PicMonkey. Not only is it pretty simple to use, it’s affordable too, £6.49 of your English pounds (billed annually) – kerching.
I made a list of what I required and then looked at the discounts previously on black Friday to gain an idea at the sort of savings I might be able to make and whether to wait. I haven’t forgotten that I said ‘even for good in some cases’, this is because some products are offered at a discounted lifetime rate too. Now surely, that is a winner?
How is your balance?
I’m referring to that well known and used phrase ‘work/life balance’. I recently had a Thai massage for the first time and it was amazing. The therapist, Katie happens to be someone I know and she happen to ask if I’d ever had one, which I hadn’t but as a lover of massages, especially the kind that make your muscles wake up and take notice, I was intrigued.
So, not long after, I found myself in a lovely, calming room having my 1st treatment – picture below. To say it was blissful would be an understatement and the fact that it is done fully clothed was a novel experience for me. Now during the 90 mins or so of the treatment, I found myself in states of pure relaxation but also thinking about work, in fact that’s when I thought about writing this blog post.
Here was the thing, I was supposed to be taking some time out and having time for myself to relax and recharge my batteries, yet here I was lying there thinking about my business. It reminded me of one of the main reasons I started working for myself in the first place and that was to get a better work/life balance.
Luckily for me, a few of my friends were on maternity leave when I first started my entrepreneurial life and have been during the course of it thus far. It meant that they would invite me for lunch, coffee or even just a stroll around the park, which forced me to think about something other than work and see daylight on a semi regular basis. With a new commute of a few steps and the combination of the great British weather, it would have been very easy for me to just stay home and work. Whilst the commute was now a joyful experience, having the ‘office’ within peripheral view when trying to watch TV is something that I’m working on resisting at certain times.
Although it has possibly become one of those overused phrases, it really is an important thing worth thinking about and working on, in my opinion. Which is why I will ‘endure’ more Thai massages to better improve my balance – oh, it’s a hard life. So, how’s your balance?
*If you want to find out more about Thai massage, you can do so on Katie’s website as she’ll do a better job than I will https://www.flowthaimassage.com/
To … or not to …, that is the question (fill in the blank)
It’s incredible how hard it is to get started on things that are seemingly simple to do.
Take this blog post (that is hopefully what it is intended to be, so if you are actually reading this on the interweb somewhere, then it actually made it) for example. I started my business in January 2016 and have never blogged, yes, NEVER. Whilst all around me extoled the virtues of blogging, especially in connecting with your clients and growing your business, I refused.
Did I hear you ask why? Well, to my mind, my business was all about saving other people time so they could grow their businesses or have a better work/life balance, it wasn’t so they could free up time to read my ramblings (I appreciate you reading this, honestly). Also, what would I write about? How to be more productive? Ways to save time? The benefits of outsourcing? All valuable and important subjects but I was seeing lots of other people do it, so surely my input wasn’t required.
So, on I went, until now. So, what changed? I decided to take my business in a new direction and I joined an online group, and took up a content challenge… much like this blog, I was like a deer in the headlights to begin with. However, I had an ah ha moment and grasped the concept of not only why I should blog for my business, but also what I could blog about – thank you to Maggie Giele and the Content Quest.
That lead to me spending the majority of 1 day, doing pretty much everything other than writing that first blog post (this), that I was meant to be writing. Now, you’re probably wondering, what on earth any of this has to do with you, lovely person, who just wants to know how and if I can help them, right?
Remember what I said previously about, the following:
• How hard it is to get started on seemingly simple things?
• The benefits of blogging to connect with your clients and grow your business?
• My input not being required because everyone else was doing it?
Well, here is the thing. You have started a business and want to reach your clients, you want to connect with them and you want your business to grow. All obvious, I know but you’re not sure if you need a website, what the benefits are and besides, everyone else is doing it, so why add to the enormous number of sites out there?
I’m sure you’ve probably worked out what I’m going to say next. You’re now reading MY blog post, something I had not thought would happen but yet, here we are. Also, it probably wouldn’t surprise you to hear that other people I knew in my field who were drinking at the blog fountain were getting better reach than me with my head down, not really talking to anyone (I do go to networking events and the like, please do not be alarmed that I do not leave the house). Additionally, by finally getting started and putting in my 2 cents worth, I am doing so in my voice, you are hearing from me, not from the other person who does the same or similar thing.
This is exactly the same as some of the reasoning for having a website, for presenting your baby as you would want, showing it off to people and having them coo all over it. Now that we’re better acquainted and you have read this, let’s carry on the conversation. Getting started with your website or maintaining it doesn’t have to be hard, there is help on hand. Like I found the group, you’ve found me and I’d love to help you. Just click on the buttons below and like me, you’ll be seeing that it can be done and there’s really nothing to worry about. Speak to you soon.