Nobody likes talking about money. As a solopreneur, you’re most likely self funded and paying for everything out of pocket, and you probably have expectations of a Ferrari with the budget of a second hand bicycle. Getting hit with sticker shock is a common occurrence.
A lot of the solopreneurs get timid when discussing budgets. Most dive into their business head first without having the financial aspect fleshed out yet. I did the same thing when I left my full time job, but I’ve learned that budgeting is a necessary evil of running a successful business.
If you’re not aware of your budget, you run the risk of putting money towards expenses that don’t ultimately serve your goals. I can’t speak to the overall financial aspect of your business, but I can tell you that this will have an impact on your marketing. If you know you need a website now, and you put all of your available funds towards that, what’s left over for advertising? Now you’re stuck and unable to move forward because of budget constraints.
The act of budgeting means you have the ability to think ahead. When you know what you have to work with, you know what you can prioritize now and what can be built in later. You don’t need the Ferrari right away, but you can build up to it as your budget allows.
You may be thinking “but how much does a website COST?” How do you know what to budget if you don’t know what it’s going to cost? Honestly, there’s no answer for that. My only response is “it should cost what you can afford”. There are a lot of options out there at a lot of different price points. It depends on what features you want and if you’re hiring someone or you’re going to DIY, so you need to focus on budget first and then find an option that fits within that guideline (that can also accommodate your feature list now and in the future).
When I work on a website, before any of the design starts, I take my clients through everything we discussed in the first four parts of this series. My job is to help them get the best outcome possible with the budget they have. We do a lot of strategy and I do a lot of research. That’s when my creative juices get flowing. Many times I’ll find a feature or plugin that will spark some inspiration and give me ideas for a client’s website.
I know that research and testing free trials isn’t the most fun thing in the world for most of you, but if you want to make the best decisions for your business, it’s a step that you cannot breeze past. Putting a week or two into this is going to save you loads of money in the long run. And it can be fun if you let your imagination run wild with the possibilities available to you.
When you know your budget and the options available to you at the price you’re comfortable with, it removes the feelings of being lost and unsure. If you put a few weeks into your budget you’re going to feel more confident with where you are and know that you’re moving in the right direction.
Before we tie up this section, I need to give some tough love from the point of view of a designer. Don’t expect a Ferrari on a second-hand bike budget. If you know you can’t afford a designer, please don’t waste their time by taking a meeting. And certainly don’t agree to start a project knowing you can’t pay them. There are designers out there who are open to trading services or doing discounts to bolster their portfolio, but you must be respectful of their time and effort. Don’t abuse their generosity. And always remember, you get what you pay for.
Read the next post in this series – Facing your website fears part 6: pick a platform