Small Business, Small Steps: Pinching Pennies

Money on Tree

Last weekend I bought Megan Auman of Craft MBA's Business Growth Planner, a pdf workbook to help you create a concrete financial plan for your business. Apart from my 2 go to small business books, Craft Inc. and The Boss of You, I have not spent any other money on actually learning how to go about setting up a profitable small business.

Does this seem odd to anyone else?

I've spent years working on, learning and forever trying to improve in my chosen field, however I have virtually no business experience and those are exactly the skill that I am relying on to make my craft/art my living. Hmmmm, this sounds fishy.

I've thought about hiring a consultant or taking some online workshops but have yet to pull the trigger. The only reason I was brave enough to invest (ok, it was only $10) in Megan's guide was because I was already a big fan of her work and was confident I wouldn't be let down. As it turns out her Business Growth Planner is exactly what I need at the moment.

I am an expert soul-searcher, a professional goal-maker, and tireless product developer, however the one thing that I always manage to put-off tackling is the money. I really wrestle with the risk of investing a substantial sum of money into products and not having them succeed. This is where it all comes full circle though. After reading the Business Growth Planner I realized that part of my fear is that since I have yet to tackle English Muffin's finances they are still a big unknown to me. However, if I can project the revenue I stand to make because of the money I invest up front, and have a very clear plan about how I am going to make that happen, then the thought of money flying out of my bank account and into English Muffin is somewhat less daunting.

I personally don't think I'll ever get over my fear of spending money, be it on me or on my business. Except for my recent iPhone purchase (!!), I rarely spend money on anything besides rent, food and the occasional dinner out. What I do need to work on is understanding that taking my business to the next level is going to involve a financial stimulus package courtesy of yours truly.

So, my question for you is:

How did you muster up enough courage to make that initial investment in your small business?

Pinching Pennies

(image: Elin Ivemo)


  1. I took a deep breath and smiled:)

  2. I feel the same way. I can make myself spend money on supplies as long as it is coming out of my pay from my current full time job. I think it would be hard to risk the rent money knowing that there is a chance that nothing will come in to replace it...

  3. I initially spent "found" money - i.e. some of my tax refund. Because I was not relying on business income to survive, I could reinvest almost all of the money from the business back into supplies with little guilt. Of course it helps that I work in a medium in which scrap is valuable, so even failed experiments aren't a complete loss :)

  4. I'm like you! I didn't want to spend hardly any money in the beginning because I mistakenly doubted my idea. I didn't think anyone else would think these soaps are as awesome as I did (dumb of me!!).

    I think my initial plunge was around $40... which is a TON of money when you are in college (and graduate/pharmacy school at that!)... and given I could have eaten for an entire week on that $40...

    I love all your small business tips... I'll definitely have to check out the business growth planner as well.

  5. So far, I'm able to keep things afloat using a bit of found money (ebay-ed all my wedding china that had been sitting around unused), and the money from my own Etsy sales. But having a long-term plan seems the next step. I'm also a fan of Megan, so perhaps it's time to take the plunge.

    Thanks, Bess, for all your thoughtful posts. I always look forward to hearing from you.

  6. Personally, I also don't have much money to spend, but I've decided to give my small business a try in 2010, and that means I need to invest into what it needs...
    How did you like the books you mentioned, by the way? I also read Craft Inc., and even though it was interesting (and very well designed), I didn't find it soo helpful. It was very much restricted to starting a business in the US, and I had the impression it was directed more towards aspiring "big" entrepreneurs than towards small personal crafting businesses.
    A book I found very helpful, on the other hand, was "The savvy crafter's guide to success" by Sandra McCall. I can definitely recommend that one (even though I like the design less; but it's content that counts, right?).
    In the end it's just as you write: our fears are the biggest obstacle. I just started a small crafting business myself, and I find that my biggest problem/challenge are the negative patterns, fears, doubts, "stucknesses" that arise from stepping into the unknown. Do you know Havi Brooks from "The Fluent Self"? She writes excellent articles around that topic; I love reading her blog.
    Maybe this is a bit helpful :-) In any case, all the best with your project! And thanks a lot for sharing your thoughts & struggles.

  7. Thanks for sharing this! Very helpful. I'm not at this stage yet (don't have my own business), but I know my mother could use the help planning.

  8. You said it!

    Yup, I don't spend alot of money. I am definitely penny pinching because I don't have a boring 9-5 job with a boring (but useful) pay anymore.

    That being said, what stops me from buying alot of the "business growth planners" out there is because there are so many "gurus" out there. Don't know who to choose. My parents started businesses and learned while there were at it. Their education is junior high school dropout (because they were poor). This fact tells me if I am serious enough, smart enough, resourceful enough, I can do it with as little money spent as possible.

    At this stage, I am directing my resources into getting better supplies and making better products.


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