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How To Scale-Up Your Creative Business and Sell More — Using Ecommerce

How To Scale-Up Your Creative Business and Sell More — Using Ecommerce

Let me guess:

You’re looking to grow your business in leaps and bounds so you never have to work another day in your life, right?

That’s the case with many entrepreneurs. Whether you run a solo business or you work with a team, it’s always the dream to one day have the business make money without much personal effort from your part.

But you’ve probably realized that it’s not as easy as it seems.

Selling your creative service can be hard work, especially when you’re still trading time for money. You want to have more clients but you only have 24 hours in the day…so how do you build that business? You want to start creating your own products so you can tone down client work, but you don’t even have the time for product creation because of the clients you have now.

You’ve probably thought of quitting client work so you can start working on your business, but how will you pay the bills?

Too many questions, not enough answers.

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Well, if you’re looking to scale your present creative business and use ecommerce to really grow that dream, I’ll show you six ways to do it.

But first, why would you want to scale and grow in the first place?

3 Reasons Why You Should Scale

1. You’ll be able to focus on core objectives.

You started that creative business because you had passion and there were things you wanted to achieve. There was a vision you saw that you decided to run with. If not, you wouldn’t have started.

When you have everything in place and revenue starts to come in without your full participation, you’ll be able to “sit your business down” and focus on those core objectives. As Sam Carpenter, author of Work The System said:

“If solid goals are established and the majority of time is spent manipulating systems toward those goals, great results will materialize naturally.”

2. You’ll save time.

Being able to generate revenue for your business without directly trading your time has benefits. If you previously spent most of your day on client work, you’ll be able to tone that down and replace those hours with other important activities.

3. Your quality of service will improve.

This won’t be because you’re investing more personal time in delivering those services. Instead, it’ll be due to the fact that you’ve been able to acquire specialized talent. After all, as the advertising legend, David Ogilvy advised:

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“If you ever find a man who is better than you are — hire him. If necessary, pay him more than you pay yourself.”

That way, everyone stays happy.

How to Scale

So are you ready to scale? Here are the 6 steps you don’t want to ignore:

1. Think big, take action

Sounds cliché right? You’ve probably heard that phrase since you were 10. But guess what? It’s still important.

At this stage, most people daydream for a really long time. Yes, it’s cool to imagine yourself as the next Steve Jobs, but if you don’t do the “take action” part, you’ll only be Jobs in your head.

While thinking, it’s important for you to avoid unrealistic imaginations. Anything is possible, but be careful. You have to think in steps. If your present monthly revenue is barely $20,000, your thought process should be something along the lines of, “How can I make that 10X and what do I have to do to get there in the next 3-6 months?” Not, “In the next 3 months, I’ll work very hard, make $50M and get myself a condo”.

Really? Business growth is not magic.

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2. Determine your value

If you sell services, what’s the way forward? Is it getting more clients or increasing your rates? And if you’re increasing your rates, how can you also increase the value so your clients are encouraged to pay higher?

Note that when you increase your rates, your inflow of clients will reduce and that’s completely okay. You don’t want to work with everyone — only those ideal clients that’ll help you achieve your business goals. As you start to increase the perceived value of your offering by boosting the price, remember to also increase the corresponding intrinsic value.

3. Cut costs down

Since you’re scaling up, aren’t you supposed to be incurring more costs? On the contrary, what you have to do at this step is to get rid of unnecessary costs. You’re probably spending money on unnecessary software and services that you don’t need.

For example, if you use email marketing software like Aweber to communicate with your email list, perhaps paying the yearly plan (instead of monthly) would serve you better. That’ll save you a few dollars.

Using this example, look at other areas of your business where you have expenses and critically answer these two questions:

  • Can my business do without this and still work?
  • How can I spend less on this and still get the same result?

4. Determine your budget and capital

Without a budget, you’ll either spend more than you should or less than required. While cutting down on costs ensures that you don’t keep creating unnecessary expenses as you grow, having a growth budget ensures you increase expenses on the right things.

Your capital depends on how much you need to grow at this point. Will you be building a team? How many people do you need and how much will you pay them? Laying these figures out would give you a financial goal to work towards, especially when you’re not generating much revenue yet.

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You’ll also want to incorporate a “Peace of Mind Policy” into your growth budget. This policy provides security for your life and business by ensuring you make stable and consistent investments that’ll prevent you from unnecessary expenses in future.

One good example of this is getting insurance, in case of any catastrophes. You can shop around for the cheapest insurance rates that’ll give you some peace of mind.

5. Get the best tools, hire the best minds

It’s going to be harder to manage contingencies when you grow, especially if you don’t get the groundwork right. If managing an arrogant team member is hard work, how would managing four with the same attitude be?

If you’re looking to outsource business tasks, ensure you outsource the right ones. Depending on your business needs, you’d want to outsource some of those tasks to the best talent using sites like Upwork or Freelancer.

If you’re looking to equip your website to be able to sell your creative products, then perhaps you should consider hiring a developer to install some premium plugins, or use simple landing page solutions like Spaces or Big Cartel — which are specifically built for creative people like you.

6. Scale!

How? By bringing all your plans and actions from steps one to five together. Now that you’re clear on your figures, you’ve gotten the best tools and hired the best minds, it’s your duty to kick off the whole process. However, without the right systems and documentation in place, you’ll find yourself working more unproductive hours.

That’s it! You’ve successfully taken the first step by reading this article. Your next step is to start from Step 1 and start laying those concrete plans down on paper. It’s not enough for you to get revved up by this and do nothing. The benefits of scaling are endless. And even though the process may take several months, you won’t have a taste of those benefits unless you take action.

So go get started!

Featured photo credit: Giuseppe Milo via flickr.com

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Last Updated on January 2, 2019

How Personal Finance Software Helps You Get More Out of Your Money

How Personal Finance Software Helps You Get More Out of Your Money

Do you know what mental health experts point to as the biggest cause of stress in the United States today? If you said “money,” then ding, ding, we have a winner!

Three out of four adults today report feeling stressed out about money at least part of the time. People are either worried about not having enough money or whether they’re putting the money they do have to use in the best possible way.

Your money is either in charge of you or you’re in charge of it, there’s no middle ground. Using some type of personal finance software can help alleviate some of that money stress and better allow you to manage your money effectively. Without it, you may just be setting yourself up for constant financial worry. Life is already tough enough and there’s no need to make it more difficult by simply hoping your money issues will all work out in your favor. Hint: they won’t.

This guide will help you to understand how personal finance software can better assist with both accomplishing long term financial goals and managing day-to-day aspects of life.

Whether it’s tracking the savings plan for your child’s college fund or making sure you won’t be in the red with the month’s grocery budget, personal finance software keeps all this information in one convenient place.

What Exactly is Personal Finance Software?

Think of it like the dashboard in your car. You have a speedometer to tell you how fast you’re going, an odometer to tell you how far you’ve traveled, and then other gauges to tell you things like how much gas is in the tank and your engine temperature. Personal finance software is essentially the same thing for your money.

When you install this software on your computer, tablet, or smartphone, it helps to track your money — how much is going in, how much is going out, and its growth. Most personal finance software programs will display your budget, spending, investments, bills, savings accounts, and even retirement plans, levels of debt, and credit score.

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How It Leads to Financial Improvement

It shouldn’t come as a surprise, but people who regularly monitor their finances end up wealthier than those who don’t. When you were a kid, keeping track of all of your money in a porcelain piggy bank was pretty easy. As we get older, though, our money becomes spread out across things like car payments, mortgages, retirement funds, taxes, and other investments and debts. All of these things make keeping track of our money a lot more complicated.

Some types of personal finance software can help make things a little less complicated, setting you up to meet financial goals and taking away some of the stress associated with money.

Even if you already have a Certified Financial Planner (CFP) some type of personal finance software can be of great benefit. Whereas CFPs focus on the big picture of your money, they don’t handle the day-to-day aspects that determine your overall financial health.

It’s also not nearly as complicated as you might think and can take out a lot of the tedium that comes with doing everything on an Excel spreadsheet or with a pad and pencil.

Types of Personal Finance Software

When it comes to personal finance software, it generally fits into two categories: tax preparation and money management.

Tax preparation software such as Turbo Tax and H&R Block’s software can help with everything from filing income taxes to IRS rules and regulations and even estate plans. Plus, there’s the benefit of filing online and getting your refund check a lot faster than if you were to mail off your forms after waiting in line at the post office.

For the purpose of this article, however, will be focusing more on the personal finance software that aids with money management.

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Money management personal finance software will help you to see the health of your cash flow, pay down debt, forecast for expenses and savings, track investments, pay bills, and do a host of other things that 30 years ago would have practically required a team of accountants.

When to Use Personal Finance Software

So far we’ve gone over what exactly personal finance software is and how it can be a benefit to your money. The next logical step in this whole equation is determining when it should be used and how is the best way to go about getting started using it.

Below are four of the most common and practical ways to use personal finance software. If all or any of these apply to you and your money, then downloading some type of personal finance software is going to be a smart move.

1. You Have Multiple Accounts

There’s a good chance that when it comes to your money, it’s in more than one place. Sure, you probably have a checking account, but you may also have a savings account, money market account, and retirement accounts such as an IRA or 401k.

If you’re like the average American, you probably have two to three credit cards as well. Fifty percent of Americans also don’t have loyalty to just one bank and spread their money across multiple banks.

Rather than spending hours typing in every detail of every account you have into a spreadsheet, many programs allow you to easily import your account information. This will help to eliminate any mistakes and give you a bird’s eye view of everything at once.

2. You Want to Automate Some or All of Your Payments

Please don’t say that you’re still writing out paper checks and dropping each bill in the mailbox. While it’s noble that you’re doing your part to keep postal workers employed, we’re 18 years into the 21st century and you can literally pay every bill online now.

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There’s no need to log into every account you have and type in your routing number either.

With personal finance software you can schedule automatic payments and transfers between all of your imported accounts. Automatic transfers will help to make sure you have the necessary funds in the right account to ensure all bills are paid on the appropriate date. Late fees are annoying and do nothing but cost you money. It’s time that you said goodbye to them once and for all.

3. You Need to Streamline Your Budget

Perhaps the best feature of personal finance software is that it allows you track everything going in and out of your virtual wallet.

Nearly every brand of personal finance software out there has easy-to-read graphs and charts that allow you track every cent you spend or earn, should you choose. You might be pretty amazed when you see just how much you spent on eating out last month or if you splurged a little more than you should have on Christmas gifts last year.

Every successful business on the planet has a budget and using personal finance software can help you trim the fat on your spending in ways that affect your everyday life.

4. You Have Specific Goals to Meet

Maybe it’s paying off debt or saving for up something like a European vacation. Whatever your financial goal is, whether it’s long-term or short-term, personal finance software programs are one of the savviest ways to go about reaching those goals.

You can do everything from set spending alerts to notify you when you’re over budget to automating what percentage of your paycheck goes to things like retirement investments. The personal finance software that you choose should show you exactly how close you are to hitting those goals at any given time.

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How to Get Started

From AceMoney to Mint and Quicken, there ’s no shortage of personal finance software apps out there. Many of these programs are free to download and will allow you to pay bills, invest, monitor your net worth and credit profile, and even get a loan with the swipe of a finger.

Other programs may only offer you limited services and will require a one-time fee or subscription to unlock all that they offer. These fees can often vary from as little as two dollars to 50 bucks a month.

It’s best to start off with the free version and then gauge whether you’re able to accomplish everything you’d like or if it’s worth exploring one of the paid options. Often times the subscription programs come with assistance from financial planning and investment experts — so that can be a real benefit.

When deciding which personal finance software program to use, it’s also important to look at how many accounts you wish to monitor. Certain programs limit the number of accounts you can add. Be sure that if you have checking, credit card, and investment accounts to monitor, that you choose a service that can monitor them all.

Finally, when looking around for the right personal finance software that meets your needs, make sure that you’re comfortable with the program’s interface. It shouldn’t be expected that you recognize every single feature instantly, but if the features don’t seem readable and manageable to you, then you’re not as likely to use it and get the full benefits.

Final Thoughts

Personal finance software can go a long way in helping you to take control of your money and meeting your financial goals. It’s important to note, however, that some focus more on budgeting and expense tracking while others prioritize investing portfolios and income taxes. Explore several different programs and read reviews to find the one that’s right for you.

In this day and age, managing one’s personal finances in a secure manner that allows the user to have a real-time visual representation of their money is easier than ever before. With the numerous applications that are out there — both free and subscription-based — there’s no reason that every person can’t take control of their money and ensure they’re making smart money moves.

Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

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