I remember hearing this back when I was a kid. Or maybe I wasn’t a kid, but it was long enough in the past for my malleable little brain to completely buy into the idea that I needed to spend money to get filthy rich. To spare you the suspense, this turned out rather badly for me. Since I never had much money to spend and I didn’t know anyone who would lend me money there was little concern some gangster was coming after me to hold my feet to the fire or dunk my head in a toilet.
However, the bank was more than delighted to give me a business credit card with a high limit and I took full advantage of the opportunity. Seeing as I’m a creative person and not a numbers person I spent many years wrestling with credit card debt that was created entirely by an unexamined belief. It’s hard to pinpoint the moment of clarity when the angels started singing but around the time The 4-Hour Workweek came out there was a lot of buzz about low-investment startups. I added this new advice to my personal experience and had a revelation. You don’t need to spend money to make money.
Of course, there are plenty of people who fork over millions and rake in billions but alas, I am not one of them. That is a game I don’t have the buy-in to play so I needed to make up my own rules. In any business environment, whether you’re a start-up or a veteran, there are three assets you can leverage to make your venture a success. The even better news is: You only need two of them to get off the ground, so pick the assets you have available to you and put them into play.
The Business Success Trio:
- Skill (or Knowledge)
That’s it. That’s all you need. With two of the three you can acquire the other remaining asset. If you have money and time you can hire skilled people or train to learn the skill yourself. If you have time and skill you can generate revenue. If you have knowledge and money you can easily invest it generating more time for yourself.
Of the three, time is probably the biggest stumbling block for most people. It’s a murky asset that can be interpreted many different ways and is a huge sore spot for busy people. Despite your protests, you probably have more time than you think you do, it’s just that you likely spend some of your time poorly. We can all find ways to cut out low-value activities that suck the time we would need to invest in a business. If you’re really motivated to be successful, you’ll carve out every minute of time you can find.
Another area where I encourage you to spend less is on your design. You don’t have to spend a lot of money to make your business look professional, although you can if you really want to. Spending less is especially helpful for new ventures where testing the idea and verifying a solid client base is more important than looking pretty. It doesn’t matter how sexy your logo and website are if you have a product no one wants to buy.
Having learned the hard way, this website was created with a free WordPress theme and the site is hosted on a server my husband uses. The only thing I paid for was the domain name and a stock photo. Of course, I used my skill as a designer and what very little time I have as a full-time mom but I think I’ve spent about $20 so far. With my debt levels sitting at zero I can focus on the needs of my clients and not my desperate need to pay off debt. Nothing gets in the way of a sale like the stench of desperation. The less money you need, the less panic you’ll feel to get money coming in quickly and the more you can focus on actually being useful.
If you’re a frugal success story or just want to vent leave a comment below.