FRUGAL VS. SUCCESSFUL BUSINESS OWNERS
The problem happens when entrepreneurs start applying their frugal personal spending approach to their BUSINESS, then wonder why it isn’t growing.
Frugal business owners find themselves, years down the road, still getting bogged down by the same day-to-day headaches that they experienced on Day 1.
They continue to fight their own fires, so they can’t pull themselves away from their business, OR ELSE the money stops coming in – It’s a vicious cycle that leads to burnout!
Successful entrepreneurs actually take a completely different approach to personal spending vs. business spending.
They’re often “frugal” on themselves, but they treat their businesses like an investment, so no expense is spared… as long as it provides a return in the form of profits or time.
FYI, I DON’T CONSIDER MYSELF “RICH” (YET)
I haven’t reached the elusive “financially independent” status by any means.
I don’t have a large inheritance or cash injection coming in to fund my business anytime soon.
In fact, I live a modest life in a mortgaged home with my family of 3 + a dog.
My husband and I are both full-time entrepreneurs. Over the past year, our living has been entirely funded by personal savings from our previous corporate jobs while we are in the startup phase of a new venture (yes this feels scary, but more on our rationale for this in a future article).
Is this sustainable? HELL NO.
That’s why I fully intend to get out of this limbo state as quickly as I can.
Being an accountant, and having read my fair share of finance + business books, I’m no newbie towards money.
However, I can honestly say that my own money mindset has changed SIGNIFICANTLY since becoming an entrepreneur and building my first six-figure business.
Now that I’m in the process of starting my 3rd business (hoping it’ll be the biggest one yet), I’ve learned a thing or two along the way.
FRUGALITY IS BASED ON A FINANCIAL NEED, OR A SCARCITY OF MONEY
There are many words that can be used to describe the idea of being “frugal”, like “bootstrapping”, being “cash-conscious”, or “cheap”.
All these terms give the word “frugal” a bad rep, although its meaning is rooted in good intentions.
On Dictionary.com, frugal (adj.) is defined as, “entailing little expenses; requiring few resources; meager; scanty:”
The choice to live frugally is usually based on one of these rationales:
- Your income is limited, so you try to maximize the value of every dollar
- You’re paying down debt, so that you can start keeping the money you earn in your pocket.
- You have savings goals: a big purchase on the horizon like a house, car or vacation. Establishing a family emergency fund, or saving up for your children’s education.
- You generally get a kick out of being FRUGAL in every sense of the word, even if it’s not by necessity. You refuse to spend as much as the average consumer does. You never buy things at full price, because you can’t stand knowing that you paid more for something than you had to. If you were on a reality TV show, it would be Extreme Couponing or Extreme Cheapskates.
I’m convinced that only a small portion of us truly fall into the last bucket – People wouldn’t REALLY be frugal if there wasn’t a NEED to.
Imagine you’re making a million dollars every month, and you NEVER AGAIN had to worry about bringing in money for yourself (or your future generations). You probably wouldn’t feel the need to subsist on a diet of canned food or shop at the thrift store.
You’d probably indulge a little, enjoy your life, splurge on a few luxuries, or maybe contribute to charitable causes to use your money for good.
The point is you wouldn’t be keeping your money under your mattress, or saving for a rainy day if you had a constant supply of it.
As such, frugal behavior is based on a need to bridge the “money gap” between your current financial situation, and the ultimate goal of “financial freedom”.
BUSINESS OWNERS NEED TO THINK DIFFERENTLY ABOUT FRUGALITY
As a business owner, your business = your money source.
Therefore, it’s in your best interest to GROW YOUR BUSINESS as quickly, yet sustainably as possible.
It’s a totally different scenario than being an employee with a steady paycheck you can keep saving towards retirement.
Entrepreneurs are in a constant limbo state — It’s especially challenging managing your cash flows because you need to keep spending money in order to keep your business afloat.
The ultimate “Holy Grail” in ANY business is the ability to generate consistent income and profits without having to trade time for money.
This means even if YOU aren’t actively working on your business, you’re able to keep making money – yes, even while you sleep.
THERE ARE ONLY A FEW WAYS YOU CAN DO THIS:
- Hire employees or freelancers to fill in the functions necessary to keep the business going during those times you aren’t present – This is the approach for service and product-based businesses with a customer-facing presence.
- Automate certain business functions using technology in order to free up your time to do other things – Online entrepreneurs, and those selling digital products usually go this route.
- Take your business profits and put them in investments that generate more passive income over time – All wealthy people invest in some form to continue compounding their wealth!
Your BIGGEST financial hurdles happen early on in your business when you don’t yet have enough cash coming in to hire or automate, let alone invest for yourself.
Sadly, many failed business owners don’t make it past this stage before giving up.
But rest assured, that won’t be you!
Before you’re able to turn your business into a consistent money-generating machine that runs WITHOUT your involvement, your most precious resource is TIME.
Everyone only has 24 hours in a day, and yet some are able to achieve so much more than others.
You need to break free from the delusion that you can do it all (moms are especially guilty of this!) and get ruthless in thinking about what you’re spending your time on every day – Do those things really matter? Are they things that can be easily outsourced to someone else, or automated?
THE SECRET TO MORE PROFITS + EXPONENTIAL GROWTH
Let’s take a step back and think about this.
THERE ARE ONLY 2 WAYS TO INCREASE PROFITS IN YOUR BUSINESS:
- Cut down on expenses (a.k.a. save money) – but there’s a limit to how much you can save before you don’t have a biz to run anymore.
- Bring in more revenue (a.k.a. make more money) – This approach is the one with unlimited potential!
In the beginning, your focus will be on saving money because you’ll need to establish more sales, more clients, and build a steady stream of money coming in.
Once you grow, become more profitable, and are able to pay yourself, it’s crucial to shift your focus to making more money as soon as possible!
THIS MEANS YOU’LL NEED TO SPEND MONEY TO MAKE EVEN MORE IN RETURN.
The sooner you do this, the faster you’ll GROW EXPONENTIALLY.
It sounds simple enough, but ironically many entrepreneurs NEVER make the fundamental shift from “saving more” to “making more” money.
The frugal people who DIY everything in their business (and stay in the “saving money” mindset) are the ones who will be struggling for years, constantly hustling in fear that the moment they step away, the money will stop coming in.
Now, don’t get me wrong. It’s entirely possible to make a decent living while taking a frugal DIY approach to running your business.
But chances are, you’ll be tired and burnt out many times over without any real growth to show for it.
I actually experienced this first hand in my first six-figure business before I realized I had to switch to another business model because I couldn’t fully step away.
Non-stop hustling is NOT sustainable.
Your years are precious – Don’t let that be you.
FOCUS ON CAPTAINING YOUR SHIP
Yes, you’ve got 1001 decisions to make every day when running your biz.
Your business is only as successful as YOUR vision. Your focus should be on captaining the ship, not scrubbing the decks.
You’ll be scrubbing crazy hard in the beginning, but if you scrub for too long without getting help, you’ll forget how to navigate the ship. That’s when your business goes into the Bermuda Triangle, and gets lost in a vicious cycle.
When faced with an opportunity to spend more money on hiring, outsourcing, or automation, try to avoid the easy cop-out answer of:
“I can’t afford that right now”,
“That’s easy enough for me to do myself, why pay someone else to do it?”
The next time you catch yourself in the “frugal” mindset, take a step back and think: “Is this a solution that’ll buy me more time in my life?”
If the answer is “yes”, is it something you REALLY can’t afford right now, or are you just scared of growth because you’re stuck in your comfort zone of busyness?
Business expenses that buy you time or more profits are an investment in growth.
TIME IS AN ENTREPRENEUR’S MOST PRECIOUS RESOURCE
Imagine you had an extra 5 or 10 hours per week because you outsourced some administrative tasks to a virtual assistant — What could you do with that time?
How would it make you feel?
Remove yourself from the day-to-day grind and work on the things that will contribute to your growth and profitability like:
- Working on more creative projects to strengthen your portfolio and attract more high-quality clients
- Making improvements to your website copy to help boost sales conversion rates
- Getting in a quick workout so that you can get energized, boost focus, and stay sharp
- Relaxing, resting, or spending more time with your family… this is part of why you wanted to run your own biz in the first place, right?
The possibilities are endless!
RECOMMENDED TOOLS FOR QUICK BUSINESS WINS
While growing my own service, product and online businesses, I’ve invested in tools that I know will save me time down the road.
Here are some tools I’ve personally used and recommend:
➤ FIVERR – The ultimate outsourcing marketplace
- You can find help for just about anything related to running your business on Fiverr including: data entry, virtual assistant services, digital marketing, graphic design, logo creation, or even making a song or promotional video
- I’ve used Fiverr to outsource social media management, data entry, translation services, photo editing, and even for making a theme song for my upcoming YouTube channel!
➤ FRESHBOOKS – Cloud-based bookkeeping tool
- Freshbooks automates my bookkeeping by connecting with my online banking debit and credit accounts and downloading all my sales and expenses transactions. This saves me TONS of time not having to manually enter in receipts each month.
- Easy-to-use reports are also included, which allow me to quickly run P&L, income statement, balance sheet, and tax statements as needed without having to manipulate excel spreadsheets to run numbers.
- Invoicing and bill collection is also automated as email reminders are sent to clients if bills are past due, and payment is automatically received through my Paypal account, saving me trips to the bank.
- TRY FRESHBOOKS FREE for 30 days!
➤ TAILWIND – Automatic scheduling + posting tool for Pinterest and Instagram
- This is easily every blogger and eCommerce content creator’s favorite tool for generating a steady stream of traffic to your website! Tailwind is a Pinterest and Instagram approved partner, using automation to help you schedule posts and keep you regularly active on the platforms.
- It includes tools and analytics to calculate the ideal posting times to maximize engagement
- Planning has enabled me to sit down and plan social media posts once a week for an hour, and have the posting done automatically — a far cry from manual posting and pinning!
- GET A FREE TRIAL OF TAILWIND to schedule 100 Pinterest posts + Join 5 Tailwind Tribes!
How frugal have you been with your business spending ever since you launched your biz?
Are you thinking of outsourcing anytime soon?
I’d love to know your thoughts in the comments!