Cutting Costs: A Guide to Your First Year as an Entrepreneur

Just to clarify, I’m not in the business of raising capital. I can’t say I never will be, but as of the moment of this post, I’m not. The business I started is not based on user acquisition, and I don’t have a 5 year exit strategy. I have a weird feeling that If you’re reading this, neither do you.

I started a service-based business, which is not exactly something that’s going to make me the next Zuckerberg, and definitely not the next Spiegel.

I’m not trying to be the next anything.

In the beginning it was a lot of fun saying I started a business, that I had huge plans for world domination, and bullshitting about the ‘biggest client’ we had. It was a lot of fun until I realized that — dude — I actually have to work.

A relatively crazy — and when I say crazy I actually mean irresponsible — lifestyle lead to some stupid debt that at the time I couldn’t cover, and some insanely awkward meetings with my business partner.

So here’s what I did to cut ‘costs’ while starting 7twelve Marketing.

I Stopped Picking Up Bar Tabs

For whatever reason, when I started telling people I was a business owner, they assumed that I was making a ton of money. I wasn’t. I’m not (yet). For whatever reason, when I started telling myself I was a business owner, I started thinking I was making a lot of money. I wasn’t. I’m not (yet).

Stop convincing yourself that every time you meet up with a buddy for drinks it’s for ‘work’. If you’re being real with yourself, you’ll probably realize that 99% of those ‘meetings’ are irrelevant to your actual business.

Stop pretending everything is a ‘business expense’.

Maybe it’s your second meeting or third meeting and the person you’re meeting with is actually having conversations about hiring you or purchasing your product. Now might be a good time to pick up the check. It’s the classy thing to do.

That’s right guys, we’re applying the three date rule to business.

(Check in soon for my article on 3 checks you should actually pick up)

I cut out iced venti sugar-free vanilla coffees.

Which means, I stopped purchasing coffees from Starbucks every single day. The above drink costs $3.25 last time I checked. Multiply that by twenty-eight, and that’s $91 you could have used toward Facebook Ads (you’re welcome Zucks).

Notice, I said I stopped purchasing coffees from Starbucks, I didn’t say I stopped drinking coffee. I would never do that. But here’s the thing: you can spend $10 at CVS to support your caffeine addiction, and it’ll last you through the month.

If you’re thinking $91 dollars doesn’t make a difference when you’re starting your business, let me be the first to tell you, it absolutely does.

Life Hack: Starbucks doesn’t charge, or make you purchase a coffee to sit there and use their wifi.

I do (a lot) of my own marketing.

When we started out, I spent countless hours learning how to use Photoshop, took a lot of my own pictures, wrote a lot of my own blogs (still doing it, obviously) to get the name out there. It’s how I learned how to use e-mail automation, how I learned what works on social media, and how I built the foundation of what’s now 7twelve Marketing.

It gets really tempting to start contracting out work or hiring someone when you get your first couple clients, but I promise you, you still have the time to do most, if not all of the work yourself.

I’m starting on year three, and I still treat it as year one.

Even though we’ve grown 7twelve by literally 10x over the last year, I still stay true to the formula. Well, I got a little crazy for a few months, and then I realized that I need to get back to the formula very quickly.

The money you save by doing a lot of the dirty work yourself can now go toward something that you actually can’t do (efficiently or effectively), like working a camera or programming. Now you’re expanding your scope and widening your market, baby.

I’m a big fan of ‘stay up a little later, wake up a little earlier’ and just get it done. I’m blessed enough now to outsource a ton of marketing items for both clients and myself, but that doesn’t stop me from creating my own infographics, setting up my own automation, or writing my own blogs daily.


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