137: 137 – Six Questions to Ask Before You Spend Money
Advice is rampant all over the interweb about where you should invest. Rather than giving you specific advice that may not work, I’m going to give you six questions to ask before you spend any money!
I’ve wasted a lot of money. I’ve bootstrapped. I’ve seen how investing early in the long-term can pay off…even if not right now. I want to share with you some of those specifics, but within the confines of six questions you can ask yourself before you invest. Where I spent money may not be where you should! My advice may not work for you!
These questions, however, should really help you with these decisions!
SIX QUESTIONS TO ASK BEFORE YOU SPEND MONEY
- What do I NEED right now?
- What will benefit me in the long run if I invest NOW?
- What can I wait for?
- What can I get now for less and upgrade later?
- What’s risky, but worth a try?
- What’s the shiny object I need to ignore?
Ready to break those down?? Let’s do it!
WHAT DO I NEED RIGHT NOW?
I sometimes hear people telling authors that before they launch a book, they need a website. Guess what? NOPE. If I didn’t have a website, I would have made JUST as much money this year as I would have with my website. I’m not selling books primarily there. What I NEEDED was a book I wrote, a great cover, editing, and a way to promote.
You need to really separate what other people say you need and what you actually NEED to meet your goals. It’s often way less than you think! If it helps to think about this backwards, consider what you don’t need to accomplish your immediate goals.
What I recommend always getting NOW: An email list. This has the best ROI for all the things. Whatever else you’re doing now, get an email list. Check out this post on which provider is best for you.
WHAT WILL BENEFIT ME IN THE LONG RUN IF I INVEST NOW?
I’m all about counting the ROI–return on investment. Sometimes that return doesn’t come for a while. But for certain things, you should invest anyway.
I mentioned email in #1 and fully believe you can invest there first. But you also may consider investing in growth there. NOT buying subscribers (gross!), but in giveaways or other surefire ways in your industry (that’s important) to really grow your list. I used a paid service called Booksweeps and got like 1000 new subscribers for $120. Um, ROI. Now, that didn’t pay off til I had books to sell, but it was a long-term investment.
WHAT CAN I WAIT FOR?
If you’re primarily a blogger, obviously you need a website. But you don’t have to have a killer one that has custom designs or a custom logo. If you are a writer, you may not need one at ALL for a good long while. Sure, it’s great to have and you’ll need one later, but again– the fact that I have a website has not in any way at any time impacted my fiction book sales. The end.
If you can wait and you’re on a tight budget, WAIT.
WHAT CAN I GET NOW FOR LESS AND UPGRADE LATER?
When it comes to waiting, some things are good to have now, but maybe they could be okay for now and then LATER you can have your dream. Perhaps you start on Squarespace and then LATER hire that designer. Create a simple logo for yourself or barter services or use fiverr. Later hire someone better and get things exactly the way you want them!
If you aren’t sure on this one, consider the ROI of whatever that thing is you are considering. When will it pay off? WILL it pay off? Is your audience actually going to notice or be impacted?
WHAT’S RISKY BUT WORTH A TRY?
There are some things that you have to go out on a limb for. Things like AMS ads or Facebook ads or even hiring a coach or taking a course. They may NOT give you surefire results. If you are considering something risky, here are a few follow-up questions:
- Do I personally know someone who can vouch for this thing/person/service?
- Have I researched the best practices?
- Are there other people in my niche who have found success with this?
WHAT’S THE SHINY OBJECT I NEED TO IGNORE?
Okay, y’all. Get real. We all have things that we want just…because. We like them. We think we need them. SQUIRREL! If you can’t be objective, ask a friend who’s honest about this. Don’t invest in things because they are pretty, cool, or because you really, really want them.
Links I mention in the episode:
- Free Facebook Group
- Quick Fix- my weekly email
- WPTech Cafe– website design
- Media Texan – website design
- Go On Write – cover design
- Booksweeps – email list growth, primarily fiction