There is an old saying that goes something like this: “you have to spend money to make money.” I talk to people nearly every day that are in the situation of trying to make some extra money or start/grow a business and in doing so, they believe they have to “invest” a lot of money in equipment, advertising, etc. to make it work. This is often a bad idea that leads to unnecessary stress, debt, higher risk of failure and possibly even bankruptcy. So before you go out and buy a new computer to build that website or a new camera to start your photography business, I want to give some thoughts on ways you can truly make something from nothing and how you can grow your income without risking so much. Since you’re here, I’ll use Humorous Homemaking for my examples. By the way, most of what I’ll write applies to small personal businesses, but if you’re thinking of trying to make a little money from any endeavor, these principles will apply.
- Start small, but dream big. If you have been with us since the beginning, you know we only started the site as a response to people who kept telling us we needed to share Stacy’s couponing and homemaking skills with the world. It cost me a weekend of website coding and a total of $10.99 to purchase a website domain. We already had a cheap hosting account through bluehost because of the other websites I manage, so if we’d bought that it would have been another $6.95 per month. In other words, to start Humorous Homemaking, we invested a weekend and the cost of a moderately-priced restaurant entree.
- Don’t forget simple math. Revenue – expenses = profit. That’s the simple formula for every business to remember. Just like in your personal budget, if you want to make more money, don’t just look at increasing revenue. “A penny saved is a penny earned” applies here. While you need revenue to make money, you must minimize expenses to maximize profit. Don’t forget the math for personal and business finance is really that simple.
- Don’t try to be fancy. When we started, Stacy was using an old laptop that I had been issued for grad school (cost $0; part of tuition). We were able to borrow a better laptop for a while (cost $0), then we bought a used netbook (cost $150, sold for $150), and now we’re using a nice laptop we saved up and bought refurbished for $450. So our total investment in equipment has been $450 over the course of the 2.5 years we’ve been doing this. Not bad. We could have gone out and bought the nicest thing we could find, financed it and even claimed it as a business expense. But why bother? Is the end result any better?
- Be realistic. Every business should set goals, dream big and expect to win. But being unrealistic in goal-setting is a killer. Most of the time this results in someone jumping the gun and spending money before it comes in, expecting there to be profits to enjoy. Just like the old saying goes, “don’t count your chickens before they hatch.” I’d like to add to that, “don’t expect eggs unless you’ve got hens.” You must set a reasonable set of goals and execute on them. Grow over time and allow the spikes to naturally occur. We’ve had days where traffic was huge and others where it was pathetic. We’ve had days where ads generated a ton of money and others where they made nothing. We smiled on the good days and smiled on the bad ones, knowing we are on a long-term path of realistic, steady growth.
- Be grateful. The story of Job and his attitude toward everything crappy that happened to him is a great example. There will be good days and bad days in everything. Don’t forget Job’s words when everything was stripped from him (literally). He said, “The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised” (Job 1:21 NIV). When profits are up and things look great, praise God. When people hate everything you do and call you bad names, praise God. As long as He is receiving honor for your efforts, you can always be grateful in whatever happens. Remember, we are called to “give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will…” (I Thessalonians 5:18).
Want more? Check out some previous posts on this very topic right here on Humorous Homemaking!
- 4 Ways to Creative Income
- How to Make Money Doing What You Know (series) – Part 1
- How to Make Money Doing What You Know (series) – Part 2
- How to Make Money Doing What You Know (series) – Part 3
- How to Make Money Doing What You Know (series) – Part 4
- Swagbucks – a Great (and easy) Way to Earn Some Extra Cash