As a small, home-based business my budget has always been pretty tight. That means that I do a lot of research and soul searching before purchasing anything. Although I firmly believe in reinvesting my money into my business, I also feel I need to do so wisely. Here are the top five things that turned out to be very wise investments for my home business.
Why it was a wise choice: Storing my files in the cloud rather than on a physical hard drive or flash drive makes it easy to access them from my desktop, laptop, iPad, and phone. It’s also super easy for me to share files with others. Dropbox also has extra features for subscribers like Paper, for online collaboration; the ability to share a file for a specific period of time or set a password for access, a Transfer feature for sharing large files, Passwords for keeping track of all your passwords, Capture for screenshots and screen recording, Shop for selling any digital products you may have and Hello Sign for getting needed signatures. I have 3 TB of storage space for just $20 a month and it’s worth every penny.
#2 A Business Phone
Why it was a wise choice: When I first started my out, I just used my cell phone as my business phone too. Although it worked, that meant that I was constantly getting business communication even on weekends and holidays. In 2015 when I upgraded my iPhone, I decided to bite the bullet and pay for a separate phone line for the new one and made it my personal phone. This allows me to leave my business phone behind when I’m not working. I was totally surprised at how much stress this took off my shoulders and how much more I enjoyed my weekends and holidays. It’s been crucial in learning how to unplug from work and give myself true down time.
#3 Business Coaching
Why it was a wise choice: In 2012 I found myself at a crossroads with my business. I was still providing virtual assistant services, but my WordPress website creation services were really becoming popular. I felt lost and didn’t know what direction I wanted to go. Should I rebrand my business? How could I market my services? And what services did I really want to provide? I knew it was time to get some help from someone who could help me wrap my head around it all. Investing in a business coach was perhaps the best investment I’ve made to date. It not only helped me in 2012, the skills and tools I learned continue to be useful to this day. It’s also great to know if I get to another one of those crossroads, I can always reach out to my coach and get the help I need.
#4 Office 365 & Adobe Creative Cloud
Why it was a wise choice: When I started in 2007, I owned a version of Microsoft Office which was installed on my computer. Soon after that a client gifted me with Adobe Acrobat because we used it so often together. That worked fine for a few years, but as anyone who has purchased software knows, software becomes outdated pretty quickly. As a virtual assistant it was important for me to be working with the latest versions of the software I used daily. Luckily Microsoft began offering Office 365(although it was called something else at first). It was a subscription that I paid $13 a month for, and it gave me the latest versions of all the Microsoft Office programs. Soon after that Adobe began offering Creative Cloud, which gave me access to Acrobat as well as Photoshop, which I’d been unable to afford up until then. I still subscribe to both, and they are both used every single day.
#5 MacBook Pro
Why it was a wise choice: In the early days I worked from an HP laptop, but day in day out use is hard on a computer so within 18 months it died on me, leaving me in a panic. I replaced it with another inexpensive HP, but it too died within 24 months. Thinking it was the laptop thing I bought an inexpensive Windows desktop, but it was no better. In fact, during the first 8 years of business, I went through 3 desktop computers and 3 laptop computers. In 2016 I made the decision to invest a bit more and buy a MacBook Pro. 7 years later, I’m sitting here writing this article on it. Did it cost more money than the others? Yes, but because I got it refurbished it was only about $300 dollars more than the previous Windows computer I had purchased. The longevity of my MacBook Pro has more than made up for the difference.
They say you must spend money to make money, and it’s true. But you also need to spend that money wisely. We often need to look at things more closely before we just write them off as more expensive. In the long run, many of them will end up saving you both time and money. So before you shrug your shoulders and pass on that next purchase, ask yourself if it might become a wise investment for your home business.
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