Struggling with the terminology for your title: freelancer, boutique agency, entrepreneur, solopreneur, web designer, web developer, girl just trying to put food in her fridge?
If you are reading this blog, I am going to assume you are earning money by providing web design / development for clients and regardless of the spin you put on it in the proverbial elevator speech – you are a Small Business Owner.
That sounds like a lot of responsibility doesn’t it? You are included in those stats on the news and legislation actually has an effect on you!
This week in the United States is National Small Business Week, sorry, I should have been ahead of the curve here, it ends on May 5th. Throughout the States you will find events geared toward the Small Business Owner. For a full list of events, bus tours, networking, please visit SmallBizTrends.com. On that list you will see Discounts on Dell Computers, Microsoft events, webinars by the IRS and Google, and loads more.
I know many of you enjoy attending webinars and the US Small Business Association has a great line up of virtual meetings, which you can read about here.
We have talked about this before, but it bears repeating, just because your kitchen table doubles as your business Headquarters, does not mean that you can’t look / act professional.
Here’s the upside to presenting yourself in a professional way: you garner greater respect from clients, you can charge more for your services, people actually pay your invoice!
To that end, I am going to share a few things that are worth the investment. Before I begin, I would like to acknowledge that I understand pulling money out of the coffers to pay for things other than your paycheck can be a mental hurdle.
You need to consider:
- Will X Y or Z save me enough time to justify the expense.
- Will X Y or Z help me make MORE money.
If the answer to either of those is yes, then go for it. And honestly, you may think, oh such and such task only takes me an hour, or 10 minutes, but does it really? If you can automate it, set and forget, think of the cumulative time savings.
Many small business owners say, you don’t own the business, the business owns you. Which is probably why so many small businesses don’t stay in business, it is EXHAUSTING.
Some tools I think are worth the investment and none of them will cost you more than $20 a month:
- Quickbooks Online – note that is a referral link which will give you a discount + a $50 gift card. Depending upon the level of the service you choose you can send invoices, manage finances, send proposals for new projects, and / or set up your account to receive credit card payments from clients. Super helpful, you can provide your accountant a login so at the end of the year she can access all the info needed to prepare your taxes. Cost begins at $5 a month and scale up to $25, choose a plan that is right for you.
- 17Hats – that link will give you a 10% off discount on the price. The Annual Plan rounds out to be under $17 a month. 17Hats is a workflow management system which allows you to send proposals, manage tasks, invoice and pretty much manage anything you do to run your small business (hence execute any of the tasks you put a hat on to manage as a small business owner, see more about 17Hats here).
- Moo Cards – this link will give you 20% off your first order. I used to think that business cards were superfluous, we are digital, who needs paper? Turns out I do. The reality is meeting people in real life is a perfect opportunity to make new business connections. Everyone needs a website! Maybe you meet a massage therapist at the park or perhaps a dentist at the gym, make it easy for them to remember you by handing them a Moo Card. Andrew and I had Mini Cards made when we went to WordCamp a while ago, and I customized the cards to have pictures of various products. I then said to people, “which card do you want”, it was a conversation piece. Note: The price for Mini Cards start at 100 for $20, seriously affordable.
- LastPass or some other way to save passwords. $2 a month, will save you a huge amount of time searching for passwords and resetting them!
Chance to WIN
Readers here know that Andrew and I really like to give away as much as we can (hence all the blog posts, the Facebook Group, the Free Child Theme Maker, etc). Today we want to give one of you a complimentary Layouts Cloud Plugin + an Annual Membership. Simply leave a comment and by Friday afternoon we will pick a Winnah Winnah Chicken Dinnah and post it in the Facebook Group.
Also, if you have a tool that you rely upon as a Small Business Owner, even if it is over $20 a month, will you share it in the comments?