When you first launch your business, there are so many shiny things you can invest in. However, there are things you can definitely skip until you are more established. One of the big mistakes I see when people first launch their business is wasting money on fancy tools and premium products that are totally unnecessary when you’re first starting out, so you can launch your business as debt-free as possible
1. A fancy custom website from a high-end designer before you even know what you want to do
I know, this sounds a little strange coming from a website designer, but hear me out. You do NOT need an expensive or fancy website with all the bells and whistles when you are first starting out. I have seen people spend $6,000 on a website before they even booked their first client! Consider investing in a site template or launching a free website first, then building from there. Unless your business is a web technology business, keep it small and simple at first. If you do want to hire someone right off the bat, make sure they aren’t charging you $6,000+ for a simple website.
I personally recommend starting with WordPress regardless, so you can expand as much as you want in the future. There are so many free themes (like the one pictured below) that WordPress has available that you can use until you feel ready to hire a website designer. If you have the extra cash flow, then by all means, hire a web developer. BUT, if you’re low on funds, don’t put yourself into debt hiring someone right off the bat.
2. An expensive email marketing provider
While I recommend starting to build your email list before you do anything, you don’t need to invest in an expensive platform or premium plan. There’s always time to upgrade later on. My personal favorite free email marketing provider is MailerLite. You only need to upgrade when you hit 1,000 subscribers, and even then if you decide you want to
Unless you are a business that requires employees to function, like a brick and mortar, you do not need to hire people right off the bat. I often see start-up businesses hire people way too soon, only to put themselves in debt without any actual payoff. I have actually been hired onto teams by business owners who weren’t ready to hire someone, and it wasn’t beneficial for anyone.
It’s often seen as a right of passage to hire someone onto your team, but don’t get sucked into that pressure. Hold off on hiring anyone until you feel like you are completely ready to make that investment and facilitate a team.
Do not, I repeat, do NOT spend hundreds or thousands of dollars on advertising when your business is barely off the ground. Chances are, you are still figuring things out with your business! So ramp up your social media and build authentic relationships before you spend a cent on advertising.
When you are ready to advertise your business, start small with Instagram and Facebook promoted posts, then Instagram and Facebook advertisements, and then Google Ads and other advertisement outlets. Why? You will be able to really hone in on your target market and establish your business voice and message before spending thousands of dollars.
5. CRMs or other elite softwares
If you are a service-based business, like myself, when you first start out you probably don’t have a huge list of clients to keep track of. Client/Customer Relationship Management softwares (CRMs) are fantastic resources, and something I think every small business owner should use, but you definitely don’t need to purchase one right off the bat.
CRMs like HoneyBook (my personal favorite) can run you from $300-$600 per year. It’s definitely not something you need when you first start out. Develop your own systems and templates, and then make the switch to a different CRM when you feel like you have outgrown your systems. Trust me, you’ll know when that is.