“ConvertKit* sounds really awesome, but it costs too much. I’ll use MailChimp for free instead.”
“What free options are there to edit video and podcasts?”
“Why should I bother spending money on an expensive social media scheduler like MeetEdgar when I can do it for much cheaper with other programs?”
“I’m not going to spend money on a book or course to learn how to do that service—I’ll figure it out on my own instead.”
I hear these types of things ALL THE TIME from other small business owners. I’ve even been guilty of saying them myself!
It’s tempting to go for the cheap or no-cost option, especially when you’re new to business and you aren’t bringing in much (if any) of an income yet.
While I’m not encouraging you to go into debt, I DO want to encourage you to make the right investments in your business! So today, we’re talking about money tips for freelancers.
When you make the right investments in your business, they will often save you time or headaches, and/or they’ll improve the quality of your business.
The problem with choosing a platform just because it happens to be inexpensive (or even free), is that you might be choosing something that doesn’t actually do what you NEED it to do.
It is extremely important not to base your choice of investment primarily on the cost. Cost should be considered, especially if you’re on a tighter budget, but it’s not the be-all end-all.
Here is a three-step process for identifying what investment is right for you:
First, consider what benefits you are going after (e.g. more time), and then consider what features you need (e.g. social media posts to be written and then repeated in a loop or a cycle so that it’s truly automated), and THEN look into your options and weigh the cost vs. benefits.
It’s that simple: one, two, three.
In that example, MeetEdgar would be totally worth the investment—it’s a pricey investment for a small business owner, to be sure, but if you have a lot of social media posts and you like the idea of automating them so that you can spend more of your time working on business projects, then it might just be worth it.
Spending a few dollars now to save you a few hours in the future could be a fantastic choice for you.
I recommend that you start by considering the benefits, because otherwise, it can be tempting to get something just because other business owners are raving over it.
(And yeah. I’ve made that mistake before!)
Take some time to look at what benefits are most important to you at this stage of your business.
After you’ve identified the key benefits you’re looking at, pay attention to the features within this thing you want (whether that’s in a social media scheduler, an email marketing platform, an online program, or something else altogether), and check to see how closely the features match up with the benefits you want.
Using this method, you might discover that some of the options you are looking at are automatically pushed out of the running. Suddenly choosing between different options isn’t quite such a daunting task!
What is your time worth to you?
If you spent money on something today, what would that empower you to do tomorrow?
Time is one of our most valuable commodities, and unfortunately we often don’t value it as much as we should.
Think about it: could you spend $100 on something today, that will save you 10—20 hours of time in the coming weeks?
To me, that would definitely be worth it!
You’ll also want to look at urgency options: how quickly do you need something to be done? Are you running out of time? The urgency is an important thing to take into consideration, or you might end up spending much more in the future.
Important to note: Low-cost or free options aren’t inherently a bad thing!
All of this OF COURSE isn’t to say that cheap or no-cost options are always the wrong choice.
On the contrary! If you aren’t a blogger or if you don’t want to have email sequences or multiple content upgrades on your website, then to be honest, ConvertKit* might not be the right choice for you, for example (but if you ARE a blogger, or you DO want email sequences or multiple content upgrades, then I can’t speak highly enough of ConvertKit!). And the free version of MailChimp is a great starter point for a lot of businesses who are just starting out with having an email list.
Similarly, if you don’t need your social media posts to be looped, then I would probably encourage you to choose a different social media scheduler than MeetEdgar (the free version of Hootsuite is something I enjoyed and used for many years—and I still use it to this day for one-time Tweets). And now that Edgar’s price is increasing to $79/month, it’s a much larger ongoing investment—so in that case, you’ll want to think very carefully about how much it’s worth it to you to, for example, have social media posts to be looped.
Maybe it’s not important to you at all.
…Or maybe it would change *everything* in your business.
The important thing is to carefully consider it BEFORE you automatically choose the cheap or free option.
There are plenty of awesome low-cost and free options out there. And perhaps they are EXACTLY what you need. But take the time to think critically and weigh your options, using that three-step process:
- Consider the benefits you’re after
- Consider the features that will enable you to access those benefits
- Compare your options and weigh the cost vs. benefits
So: what benefits are you in need of right now? Share in the comments section below!
Pssst… want to save time on your freelance business?
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The Set Yourself Up For Freelancing Success program will teach you exactly how to create a business plan, marketing strategy, pricing strategy, and more so that you can get paid what you’re worth and start working with your ideal client on projects you love.
If you want to save yourself hours of guesswork and frustration, and if you want to get the actionable steps you need to start your successful, profitable freelance business and take it to the next level, Set Yourself Up For Freelancing Success will empower you to do that!
*This blog post contains affiliate links.