Confidence in Business

ConfidenceInsta

 

How can you be confident in your pricing? Confident in your offerings? Confident in your niche or confident in even your TALENTS?

Is it about faking it? NO.

I believe that we are all WORTH it and so we don’t have to fake it.

Since this is such a deep topic, we decided to do our monthly premium webinar on gaining Confidence in Your Business.

I would be so thrilled if you would join Whitney English and I TOMORROW, October 15th, live at 12pm PST/ 3pm EST.

 

Can’t make it live? Missed it and still want to watch? You can purchase the recorded version instead (Go Inspire Love members – no need to register).

 

Plate overflowing? Overwhelmed? Burned out? Let’s fix it.

BalanceWebinar-news

  • Ever feel like work and life is just a juggling act?
  • Never feeling very present wherever you happen to be?
  • Do you feel so overwhelmed that you don’t even know WHERE to start to fix it?

I have been there friends. I had gotten myself into the overflow too many times and I finally decided it needed to STOP. I needed to find a way out of the cycle and a way through. I want to share it with you.

As business owners, we all are feeling the pressure of “too much to do and not enough time.” When you’re with family and friends, you feel like you should be working. When you’re working, you feel like you’re missing out on family and friends.

(Do you ALWAYS feel like there are not enough hours in a day?)

We all need to not feel guilt and be more present when spending time with our family and friends. We are always seeking balance, and it almost seems impossible some days.

 

Do you ever wonder if this is just what life is supposed to feel like, or is there some way to adjust and make life seem more fulfilling instead of fast?

 

THIS TUESDAY I will be presenting Finally… Balancing Work and Life, a 1 hour webinar with Stationery Academy, to help you start balancing RIGHT away with simple strategies and roll with it when crazy strikes.

Please join me so that we can clear out overwhelm, and find balance, so that you can live your life. You will learn how to really balance life and work and friends and family once and for all.

(Sound like a plan?)

 

WHAT YOU WILL LEARN:

My developed plan for implementing boundaries and systems that will help clear up your overwhelm immediately, so we can get the MOST of our time and stay productive.

When you’re balanced, you are happier, your clients or customers are happier, and YOU are doing your BEST work.

 

Reserve your seat for Tuesday Sept 30th. 
Only 50 seats available before this Masterclass is full.

 

Don’t waste any more time being overwhelmed.

It’s yucky and it does no one any good. Start clearing it now, and be able to look forward to a fresh 2015 free of guilt, over-scheduling, and overwhelm!

Excited to see you there! xo!

Grow your audience

GrowInsta

 

Who’s wanting to grow your audience, but doesn’t want to compromise yourself and what you put out there to get it?

:: Raises Hand ::

We’d love for you to join Whitney and I next Wednesday for our Grow Your Audience webinar. If you can’t make it, you can purchase the recorded version instead. AND this webinar is totally FREE for Go Inspire Love members! Register: GoInspireLove.com/grow

what does it mean to love on your clients?

LoveOnClients-blog

Recently in the Facebook group for the Design Life Project alumni, Alicia Sturdy wrote,

“Thinking about what it means to help & love our clients. Helping I get. But loving? How do you love a client well?”

I was kind of stumped by her question. We are told to love on our clients, but yes, what DOES that mean, when you are thinking of it in step-by-step terms? I’m finally just now formulating an answer to this question. I think loving on clients looks different on everyone, perhaps it is semantics, on how we as individuals show our love to others. So then, I can only say how I strive to love on clients. When thinking about it, I found 3 major ways that I try to love on my clients:

Come from a place of love

This means to always be on the positive. Brighten their day. Always give clients the best of you. Come from a place of pure intentions and come to them with a full heart. Serve them and their needs with joy in your heart. I hear you – this can be tough sometimes. I get that people have junk going on behind the scenes. I have my fair share of junk going on, but I try my best not to dump my baggage on my clients. I come to them from a place of love, of wanting to help. I check my ego and my problems at the door and I clear my head, if I need to. They deserve the best of me, I’m grateful for every one of my clients and if I’m having a bad day, I cast my cares on Him and pray about it, effectively dumping the garbage, so that I can approach them with a clear slate. Come from a place of love.

Respect their decisions

A lot of times clients come to me having had a less-than-stellar experience with another designer or coder. Sometimes I hear from them is that the last designer did not AGREE with their vision. While I think it is amazing to have a personal style, I still believe that the ‘customer is always right’ in this scenario. What separates designers from a traditional artist (painter, etc.) is that we are solving a problem FOR a client. It’s NOT about us. You have to let go of your Diva and respect your clients decisions, visions and wishes. You lovingly give your input and your feedback, but you need to respect when they don’t agree with you, or if they want something else. I also find a lot of clients apologizing when they don’t like or agree with a design that I’ve chosen. I tell them, hey – do not apologize for your thoughts – it’s NOT about me. YOU need to love it. What YOU think is the most important thing of all. MY version of success comes from a client feeling WELL REPRESENTED and authentic. I’m not painting the next Mona Lisa. I solve a visual design problem. Period. Respect their decisions, and listen to them. Which leads me to my next point….

Listen to them (and hear what they aren’t saying)

Of course I mean this in the literal sense, but I sort of mean it in the hypothetical sense too. Hear not only what they say, but what they aren’t saying. Hear their needs, but also think about what they really need – those things that they are NOT asking for. Going through a re-design is NOT an easy process, and we as professionals OWE it to them to fully utilize our experiences. We know things that they will need, that they have not yet thought of. Listen to what they are asking for, and calculate what else they may need. Pretend it’s your loved one that you are proving this service for – you would make sure they knew all the tips, tricks and helpful hints so that they would be truly successful. THAT’S how you go the extra mile to love on them. You are truly helping them to the best of your ability and hearing their needs whether they state them or not. Invest in them.

Bottom line, if you are genuinely caring for your clients and you are coming from a positive place, they will feel the love. We won’t always be perfect at it, we are human and inherently will make mistakes. But we get back up and try again. It’s loving on others that makes our job fun.

Have a lovely weekend friends!

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REGISTRATION FOR CPP IS CLOSING SOON!

Tired of trading time for money? Need to develop a system of passive profit that doesn’t depend on you? Have no clue what to offer or how to start? This is exactly why I developed the e-course, Create Passive Profits. This course will help you to develop the idea and hit the ground running with it. I’ve also added a coaching portion this time, so I’ll help you one-on-one to help you get started.

Class starts on Monday! Grab your spot now!

register now for free webinar from cathy + whitney!

GIL-Blog

I am thrilled to announce that the lovely and super talented Whitney English and I are collaborating on a fun project together for faith & love based women entrepreneurs, called Go Inspire Love. Mark your calendars – we are hosting a FREE insider Webinar on August 21st, at 12pm PST / 3pm EST, for those who’d like to learn more. We’ll be talking about the vision for Go Inspire Love and how we think this will be a game changer.

We hope you can join us!

Hop over to http://goinspirelove.com to register for the free Webinar. We’ll be sending out a reminder the day before, and the details and link the morning of, via email, on where to go to participate.

Till then, Go Inspire Love!

 

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from idea to launch

FromIdeaToLaunch-blog

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what it means to follow-through, and what separates those of us who JUST dream, and those of us who dream AND DO.

I’ve fortunate to meet some big dreamers, and some big doers. I do think this is a part of a bigger conversation about human personalities and such, but I do think being able to execute ideas is something we can learn, if, we aren’t automatically blessed with that ability. I’ve had success with bringing dreams to fruition and it’s not necessarily one of my strong suits – I used to be a total procrastinator and horrible with follow-through. So, I’d like to share some helpful tips that I use bring a dream to life.

1. Get past your fear

This does not mean be absent of fear, but to not let fear stop you. I wrote a post on conquering fear, in which I broke down a verse in the Bible, that calls us to instead have a spirit of courage and power in the face of fear. Once the fear is named, examined and conquered, we can truly get our idea rolling.

2. Research and Learn

Knowledge truly is power. If you have an idea, take the time to educate yourself about all things relating to your idea. I’m a business book junkie, but I’m also a learning junkie when it comes to something I don’t know. I know what I know, and I know enough to know I don’t know much. When I have a new idea, I hit up Google and books to figure it out. It empowers you to get going.

3. Help and love others

I’ve said this probably 100 times here on DLP and in my classes, but the key to really succeeding in any new endeavor is to clarify HOW you are helping others. When you have your goals in mind and you can SEE how they are helping, your motivation does not wane. If you have the right frame of mind and strength of mission, nothing can stop you.

4. Plan your attack and START

Write down the steps, small as possible, and get started. Baby step your way there if you have to, but just start somewhere – start anywhere. It sounds so simple, but once you get past the fear, have equipped yourself with knowledge, and have the right goals in mind, all that’s left is to just do it. Nothing is standing in your way at that point. Go get it EntreHustlers!

 


TODAY IS THE LAST DAY FOR EARLY-BIRD REGISTRATION
(use code EARLYBIRD to save $50 off)

Tired of trading time for money? Need to develop a system of passive profit that doesn’t depend on you? Have no clue what to offer or how to start? This is exactly why I developed the e-course, Create Passive Profits. This course will help you to develop the idea and hit the ground running with it. I’ve also added a coaching portion this time, so I’ll help you one-on-one to help you get started.

Don’t forget to use your promo code if you have one! Early-bird promo code is: EARLYBIRD

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behind the screens interview: starting my business

StartingMyBiz-blog

Recently I was interviewed by Australian web developer Em Winch from Morris Bear on work and life balance, as part of her new Behind the Screens series. See the original post here, and below for the interview!

 

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your business:

Oh goodness, it’s so hard to talk about yourself right? My business is Love-Inspired, a graphic and web design studio. I blog and teach about the life/work balance and business at Design Life Project.

So about me? Here’s the highlight reel: I was artsy from a young age, found my calling as a graphic designer pretty young. I went to school for design, moved to San Diego out of college, got a job right away as a senior graphic and web designer, met my husband, started my stationery business, quit my job, started my graphic + web design business and closed my stationery business, had a daughter, had a crazy tumor that almost killed me, changed my entire outlook on life/business/family, starting teaching the Design Life Project, had another daughter, became an S corp and hired employees, and just bought a house. Phew!

Why did you decide to work for yourself?

Let me just tell you, I was NEVER the entrepreneurial type. I distinctly remember telling my husband, “I would NEVER want to have my own business.” I liked working for others, without all the responsibility or the risk. Becoming an entrepreneur just sort of happened, it really was God’s plan for my life. I wanted to make some extra cash on the side to help pay for our wedding, so I started a small stationery business and I met with clients at home in the evening. It ended up being surprisingly successful, and once I tasted the entrepreneurial waters, I was never the same. I was working crazy hours and I needed to make a choice between day job and my business. I quit my job at the height of the recession, and if I’m being honest, everyone thought I was a bit crazy for doing so. Here I was… a salaried, senior graphic designer at a cool design firm, while a lot of highly educated, skilled people were jobless. But… I knew something had to give, and I couldn’t bear the thought of quitting my business. My coworker (senior to me) ended up getting laid off only 4 months later after I quit. I left at the perfect time (God’s perfect timing), when *I* was ready. I realized then, that we all have a false view of stability in a day job/working for someone else. The only real stable business is the one that YOU run. I’ve redefined my definition of success. It’s not in a big ad agency making $$$$$$$ – it’s working from home in my small business. It’s having my family just a few steps away, in case we need an impromptu dance party in the middle of the day. It’s being able to employ others who also work from home. It’s being respected and paid what my creativity and experience are worth. It’s being me, and being okay with the fact that I’m not the right fit for everyone. It’s developing beautiful design, using my gifts to glorify the beauty and creativity of my creator. It’s sustaining my creative soul. It’s helping other businesses succeed in bringing their gifts to LIFE. It’s making enough to provide for my family. It’s being THERE when they need me. It’s living a life that has purpose. That’s my version of success.

What was your biggest fear (if any) that you had when starting your business?

I deal with fear on a daily basis – because I’m constantly making big, bold, scary decisions. If you aren’t afraid – what you’re doing isn’t big enough. Truly. The most amazing things I’ve done in life have come after I’ve pushed through the fear. I was afraid of no sales, of rejection, of my clients being unhappy, of not being GOOD ENOUGH. Even after 6 years in business on my own, those fears still sit in my head. But… they are not paralyzing fears – they are empowering fears. You cannot let fear stop you. I see fear as healthy – it keeps my on my toes and keeps me from getting complacent. I’m always combating those voices in my head and I use them as fuel to grow. They will always be there. There is no “other side” or end to a rainbow – we are constantly growing, learning, adapting. It’s a beautiful part of life. Fear has it’s purpose. Use it!

What does a typical day in your life/business look like?

I struggled with overwhelm for a LONG time – going back and forth between a totally free, organic schedule and a tightly organized + scheduled one. Neither worked, but then I found a balance there – a mix of schedule and freedom. So, part of my day consists of a schedule (things I need to get done that day) and then part of my day allows for freedom (the ability to do something when it comes up). I also have schedule and freedom on a weekly and monthly basis. Therefore, it’s always different, but what I developed for myself, is the basis of what I teach in the Design Life Project. I designed my life/work to fit me, my rhythm of creativity, to allow time for all the things I love, and to let go of the things/commitment/clients that I don’t love. For me, that looks like early breakfast with my daughters, emails and business planning in the late mornings, creativity and movement in the afternoons, nights and weekends for rest and family ONLY. I have clear office hours and I stick to them. My clients respect them always. I make time for what matters the most.

Do you have a five year plan for you business? If yes would you like to share?

I actually don’t. I find long-term plans restrictive and almost always they are wrong anyway. If there’s anything I’ve learned in business – it’s that you have to be adaptable. Actually, I do have a plan for me/us in 5 years. I will be grateful and thriving, I will be serving others and I will be putting my family first. That’s all that matters. Whether I’m still running Love-Inspired, or if I’m a CEO of another company, or if I’m a stay at home mom – I will be true to myself, my needs & wishes for the future Cathy. You’ve got to listen to your heart and stop listening to your head sometimes. I never could have planned this for myself 5 years ago (impossible really) – I just followed what God had planned. I never thought I’d be public speaking, or teaching classes – but I enjoy sharing what I’ve learned in hopes that it helps others, so I went for it. And… it’s okay to stay small. Big isn’t the only picture of success. It’s okay to change your mind. It’s okay to switch gears and head down another path. There’s no point in wasting time heading in a direction you don’t love. Allow yourself to be flexible and to roll with the punches instead. It’s a LOT easier and you will be a lot more successful. :)

What are your top three tips for anyone wanting to start their own business?

  • First, I’ll repeat what I said above: Always be adapting.

If you find another hobby/passion/love – find a way to infuse it in to your business. Is something not working/selling? Get rid of it. You make the rules, and you can choose when to break them and when to make new ones. Grow. Always be learning and getting better and better. Thrive.

 

  • Second: Be in the business of Helping Others.

Love them. Help them succeed. If you are helping others with your business, you will be truly fulfilled and the clients will find you. Enjoy serving them, and give them the best of you.

 

  • Third: Respect yourself.

Charge what you are worth, create boundaries, let yourself rest and be authentic. Don’t apologize for who you are. Don’t be afraid to share your faith or beliefs with the world. Be open, but be grateful and full of grace. Work smarter and not harder. Create what YOU wish existed.

registration for create passive profits e-course is now open!

Create a revenue stream that’s not dependent on your time, and is tailored for the CREATIVE business entrepreneur.

Create Passive Profits is a 4-week, online course to help you develop a system to create passive income, so that you are no longer exchanging time for money. Create Passive Profits will help you identify profitable and passive revenue streams to add to your offerings, so that you can free up your time and energy for the things you love. Create Passive Profits will help you decide which information or products are perfect for creative entrepreneurs, how to develop them to their full potential, and start making profits RIGHT AWAY.

CPP-blog

Passive income is money that’s created without extensive effort, that can be re-used or resold for reoccurring income. Once it’s developed, and systems are automated, you are no longer limited by time and your sales can exponentially grow with little effort. Create Passive Profits gives you the tools to work less hours and still do what you love!

Are you a creative who:

  • Understands the value of passive profits, but has no idea how to implement them in a creative business?
  • Is afraid of relying too heavily on your current clients or getting new clients for income and stability?
  • Finds your revenue is limited because you only have so many hours in a day?
  • Feels like you have more information or skills to offer the world, but can’t find the time to figure it all out?
  • Would love a flexible schedule and more free time?
  • Wants to diversify your income in case you ever need time off?

Perhaps you are getting busier than ever before, and you are SERIOUSLY worried about sustainability. Maybe you’re feeling limited in how much income you can earn in your current role and with your current offerings. Possibly you’re like most of us, and feel like your true potential isn’t being utilized, but you’re stuck on how to start. This robust e-course will give you the ideas and tools to help you define the perfect passive income offerings FOR YOU, and walk you through the steps on how to start offering them, in just 4 weeks!


Would you like to:

  • Reduce your client dependency?
  • Build a healthy and more consistent cash flow?
  • Create endless revenue stream potential?
  • Use 100% of your creative potential and feel TOTALLY inspired?
  • Broaden your audience and cross-promotional opportunities?
  • Have FUN?

Registration for Create Passive Profits is NOW OPEN!

Don’t forget to use your promo code if you have one! Early-bird promo code is: EARLYBIRD

Class starts on Monday, August 18, 2014, and class size is limited, so make sure you grab your spot!


 

Each week, you’ll get:

 

  • Comprehensive training videos for each lesson (approximately 15 – 30 minutes long, Mondays and Wednesdays)
  • The video lesson in on Vimeo – Mobile-friendly
  • Worksheets and examples to help you apply the techniques to your business
  • Action steps so you can get actually develop your system as you go
  • Teacher feedback, and fellow student feedback

Week 1: Smart Passive Income and How it Will Work for YOU

In the first week, you will learn all about passive income and reoccurring revenue streams. You will learn about the different types, including the two major groups, and also some little known others. You will get a great overview of all the possibilities and EXACTLY what it will mean for your business (and for you). We will get you fired up to start this new path by hitting the ground running

Week 2: Identifying Your Direction and YOUR Unique Offerings

In the second week, you will learn how to discover the direction you’d like to take your profits, and exactly how you’re going to do it. I will help you identify what brings you JOY and what ignites your best work. You will learn how to identify market gaps, and what your ideal clients are looking for. You will discover the products or information THEY crave and you will fill the niche and in turn, be able to charge a premium for it.

Week 3: Focusing on Informational Offerings + Taking Action

In the third week, you will learn how all about the potential of informational offerings and how they can create massive revenue streams. I will show you how to use your expertise and smarts to leverage information that others will pay a large premium for. I will show you how to create these offerings, how to price them, and how they can be reused over and over and continually make profits. You will learn how to continue this path and keep creating amazing offerings that blow them out of the water, every time. You will learn how to effectively market your offerings for amazing results.

Week 4: Focusing on Product Offerings + Taking Action

In the fourth week, you will learn how to all about product offerings – both physical and digital. I will show you how to use your strengths and intuition to create products that people love and can’t stop raving about to their friends. You will learn about resources on where to sell your products for maximum profits. You will learn what’s involved in product selling and what will truly make your products stand out from all the others.


Create Passive Profits is taught by Graphic and Web Designer Cathy Olson, owner of the design studio Love-Inspired. She has over 14 years experience as a professional graphic designer, and has worked with a range of businesses – big ones like Disney, Costco, Best Buy and Walmart – to small ones like work-from-home moms, working from a desk and a laptop in the wee hours. Cathy started her own design business over 6 years ago, and in that time has helped hundreds of businesses find their authentic voice through exploration, social media, marketing, graphics, and web. She has dealt first-hand with the juggling a thriving business, being a mom to a growing family, and personal goals. She’s determined to work less and play more – all while cultivating her thirst for art, helping others and using God-given talents. She’s experienced in business, marketing and strategy and LOVES continually learning and teaching others to work less and make more. This class is perfect for designers, photographers, artists and creatives who want to have more free time, have a monetarily healthy and rewarding business, become independent in your business and truly help brighten others lives with your gifts.


Registration for Create Passive Profits is NOW OPEN!

Don’t forget to use your promo code if you have one! Early-bird promo code is: EARLYBIRD

Class starts on Monday, August 18, 2014, and class size is limited, so make sure you grab your spot!


Let’s FINALLY free up your time, and work smarter to make more money with LESS effort. There is a lot of corporate information out there on passive income, but it’s hard to figure out how to apply it to CREATIVE businesses. You will finally be able to identify a clear route towards developing a passive revenue stream JUST FOR YOU. You will learn how to develop the information and products that people WANT from you.


FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:

I’m so busy. Can I register, but start it later when I know things will have quietened down? The course spans over 4 weeks and is very robust. Each week we will have lessons and worksheets, and you can do them in your spare time. You will also have access to the private Facebook group to bounce your ideas off of. We are packing a lot of information into 4 weeks, so you can absolutely take longer at each step if you need to. You will be able to download all the content and access the course site for at least three months after the program finishes.

What kind of teaching can I expect in the course? What’s included? The Create Passive Profits e-course is content and resource rich. Enrolling in Create Passive Profits includes full access to the online classroom, video tutorials, Q&A and worksheets to identify your unique offerings, as well as access to a private Facebook group where you can connect and share with your classmates and get feedback directly from Cathy. After 4 weeks, you will have the potential to start developing your products right away.

When does the class start? Registration opens February 24, 2014! Class begins Monday March 24, 2014. You’ll be able to download all content and access the course site for at least three months after the program finishes.

Does the course meet at a certain time? Does it matter what part of the world I’m in? Create Passive Profits is a virtual course, you can participate from anywhere at anytime! Lessons will be posted online throughout the week, and you can log into the course at any time to view them.

How much time can I expect to spend on the course? You’ll get new content on the course site throughout the week, M-F. We’ll start with a lesson, then a worksheet, some observation and testing, and then end the week with resources to explore on your own. You can expect to spend anywhere between 30 to 90 minutes reviewing the content and completing the exercises and work for the class each day, depending on the length of the lesson. Some people may work through the content more quickly, and others may want to spend more time. All the content will help you develop your personalized plan by the end of the Create Passive Profits e-course.

How are payments handled? Payment is securely processed via PayPal and can be made using your PayPal balance or credit card. Please note that all course correspondence will be sent to the email address associated with your PayPal account. To use a different email address, please forward your PayPal invoice to cathy@love-inspired.com.

Other questions? Email me at cathy@love-inspired.


Registration for Create Passive Profits is NOW OPEN!

Don’t forget to use your promo code if you have one! Early-bird promo code is: EARLYBIRD

Class starts on Monday, August 18, 2014, and class size is limited, so make sure you grab your spot!


 

Create Passive Profits UPDATES for the new class

CPP-blog

Tired of trading hours for dollars? Interested in learning how to build systems to develop passive revenue streams? I’ll be opening registration next Monday for the Create Passive Profits e-course. This session is going to have some updates and changes, and there will be 3 tiers this time around – including an option for past CPP takers!

There are 3 ways to take the next class of Create Passive Profits, and it’s really exciting!

Tier One – CPP + Coaching

Early-bird registration code will be $50 off
DLP alums code will be $100 off

This tier will include the 4 week CPP program, access to the CPP community, and will include 2 coaching calls/chats, 30 minutes each with me. The purpose of the calls will be to evaluate your finding halfway through, and then to help you get started on your plan after the 4 weeks. This is helpful for those who need help clarifying, choosing and starting.

Tier Two – CPP only

Early-bird registration code will be $50 off
DLP alums code will be $100 off
CPP alums code make this course free to re-take

This tier will include the 4 week CPP program, and will include access to the CPP community for feedback. You will have access to the course for at least 6 months after the course runs, in case you’d like to take it at your own pace.

Tier Three – Coaching only (For Create Passive Profit Alums Only)

CPP alums code make this course free to re-take, coaching add-on is $100

This tier is for those CPP alums who took the class the last session, would like to retake it (free) and would like the option to add on the coaching calls this time around. The cost of the course is free, and the upgrade to add on the (2) 30 minute coaching calls is just $100. This is helpful for those who took the course, perhaps didn’t have the time or clarity, and need a little help making their plan a reality.

 

Still deciding if passive income is right for you?

Check out all the posts in the series to help you:

Is ‘Create Passive Profits’ e-course right for me?

The Case for Passive Income

Create Passive Profits What to Expect Video

New idea fear busting #1: It’s been done

New idea fear busting #2: I’m not {blank} enough

New idea fear busting #3: Someone will steal my idea

New idea fear busting #4: I don’t have enough time

 

Have a Happy Friday and wonderful weekend! See you first thing on Monday when registration opens!
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running a debt-free business (#5 is a work in progress)

DebtFreeBiz-Blog

Around the time I started my business was right around the time I started getting serious about getting rid of debt.

I was getting married and was spending a lot of money on the wedding. I’d been in debt before, and it’s no fun to try to crawl out of, so instead of adding more debt, I basically decided I’d ‘get another job’ by starting my own business. Because I was short on cash, it was a necessity to start a business conservatively, and without creating debt. I started my business on these principles because I had to – but have kept those principles in place, because they WORK. I know all businesses can’t be started without big purchases upfront, but creative businesses usually can. There will always be things to buy, but they don’t always have to be purchased upfront. They can be paid for with earned revenue, if you have the option to start small, and slow. I’ve mentioned before, that there is a very low barrier of entry now on starting a business. In fact, there are countless books written about starting lean businesses. I’d love to share a few things with you that helped me start and maintain a lean business. Disclaimer – I’m NOT a professional financial adviser, this is just what worked for me.

1. Bill wisely

Don’t do ANY work until it’s paid for.

To us, this means splitting up payments, and having each one due before the work is performed. When I started my business, I just wasn’t big enough to have ‘credit’ to cover my clients, and bill them later. I used their cash to order the materials, plain and simple. I watched my bosses bill clients, net 30 or 60, and then after non-payment, have to add on finance/late charges… and inevitably they had to hunt them down for payment. They never wanted to pursue it legally, so they just ended up losing the money. I knew that wasn’t even probable for me, so I made it my policy from day one to get paid before the work was done, and it’s served me well I think.

What if a prospective client is not okay with it? They are probably the ones who would find some excuse to not pay you in the end – so stand your ground. You deserve to get paid for your work no matter what. You are a professional, they are leaning on your expertise as a business and your contract should clearly state your terms.

I was talking to a home contractor the other day, who said he also takes payments before ordering materials and work is completed, stating he ran a “debt-free business” and I thought that idea was brilliant. It makes so much sense when you put it that way. Feel free to use that line to anyone who questions your policy. Repeat after me: “I run a debt-free business.”

2. Purchase wisely

I’m an Amazon Prime shop-a-holic in my personal life (anyone else?), but I don’t purchase things for my business on a whim. It has to withstand a few criteria in order to get me to buy. You can use some criteria of your own, to help you decide, but here’s what I ask myself:

First of course – is can I pay for it in cash/debit, or are there payment plans in place to make it so that I can pay in cash? Do I really NEED it? Do I need it NOW? Will it return the investment I put into it within a few months? If it’s a workshop – will it directly make way for me to make more money? Or, is it stress relieving to help with productivity, or will make connections that will open new doors?

I see a lot of people falling in to the trap of things being “tax deductible”. Tax deductible does not mean free. You are still paying for a majority of the object, only a tiny fraction of it is saved on taxes. With that said, if you need something anyway, a tax deduction can be a nice perk. Just remember you’re still paying for about 80% of it. You’d save 80% on that purchase by not making it.

3. Structure wisely

One money killer in business is having a structure or setup that requires too much overhead. Is it okay for you to just stay small? Is it necessary to have a brick and mortar studio? Could you share the office space with others?

Making sure you are the right official business structure can save you money. I recently incorporated and became an S-corp, which will save me money, and also gives me valuable protections that could save me a LOT of money. Consult with a lawyer or CPA to see which structure is right for your situation.

4. Hire wisely

Do you have employees or independent contractors? I have both, and I’m saving money and headaches by having them be the proper classification.

Do you have help at all? A lot of times it actually SAVES money to hire someone at a lower rate than you’d be charging to do the same task. Let me say that again, a lot of times it actually SAVES money to hire someone at a lower rate than you’d be charging to do the same task. Don’t assume it’s cheaper to do something yourself. You should be doing the highest paid items in your business, and giving the least paid (or totally unpaid tasks) to someone else.

Conversely, are you paying TOO many people? I’ve seen some business owners hire out too many people as well. Make sure everyone on your team is doing their job well and efficiently. Perhaps one of your amazing employees can do the job of another less-than-stellar one. You’re doing both them and your business a disservice. They should all be invested in the business success. When your business profits, your employees do too!

5. Choose clients wisely

The single most hefty killer of money and time could be a draining client… Someone who sucks up all your time, or positive energy and gives you nothing in return to fill your cup back up. Someone who does not appreciate you, your services or your talent will be a drain on you fiscally, emotionally and spiritually. It is also doing a disservice to the client if you aren’t in love with them or their project. If you are not a good fit, they won’t be getting the BEST of you. It’s a waste of precious time and energy on both sides.

  • To me, this is the hardest part of business. I naturally want to help everyone, always. I will always be a work in progress in this area because of that. I do try to remind myself that THEY deserve better. There is always a better fit for those type of clients, and to truly help them, sometimes I have to let go.

 

As always in business, it takes a lot of heart, AND a lot of brain to keep your heart in check. Are you running a lean, debt-free business? Could you do even better?

 


Tired of trading time for money? Need to develop a system of passive profit that doesn’t depend on you? Have no clue what to offer or how to start? This is exactly why I developed the e-course, Create Passive Profits. This course will help you to develop the idea and hit the ground running with it. Early-bird registration for Create Passive Profits opens VERY soon. Make sure you’re signed up to the DLP newsletter to be first to know when registration opens!

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