Kristin Pruis • April 13, 2020
This year marks K Design Co.’s sixth year in business. Managing to scale my business while being pregnant twice and going back to school for my MBA, picking up a side hustle, and so many other things along the way, has been no easy feat to say the least.
Each year has brought its own new set of challenges to deal with and the ugly truth is that not all of those years have been easy or fun. But with my eye on the prize, I have been able to work through all the hard stuff and focus on building my business to what I envision and know it could be– a profitable way to live out my passion for design (and writing).
What I have learned along the way are some things I only wish I had known in year one or even two of my business so I’m here to share with you some of the things that have been total game-changers for me.
01. Know where your gaps are.
I’m not gonna lie: I eat, sleep, and breathe my business. It is always on my mind and when I am constantly working in my business it can be hard to take a step back to work on my business. But over the past 6 months, I’ve done some serious self-reflection and have been able to see ways that I can improve and adjust my strategy to have a major impact on my business.
I can’t possibly do everything that my business requires to keep it running on my own. Not just because there’s not enough time in my schedule but because I’m not an expert at all the things. Things like design, marketing and writing, I’m really good at. But things like numbers and processes, I struggle with. Even with an MBA, the finances side of business has always been a little challenging for me. Lucky for me that my husband is an absolute pro at those things. That’s why this year, I’ve officially put him in charge of my finances and all things numbers related to my business. I also invested in a business finance course for him so that we can have a little more education on our side.
Whether you hire a designer, developer, a VA or a CFO, there is going to come a time in your business when you can no longer carry all the weight, and you need to grow your team! Don’t be afraid to make an investment in the right person to help you. This has been one of the key moves that has made all the difference in my business’s growth.
02. Keep your expenses in check.
As you’re busy running and grow your business, it’s inevitable that the number of your business expenses is going to increase. Some expenses are necessary investments that will actually help you grow while others are going to drain your bank account with little to no return. So how can you tell what’s important and what’s not? There are a few things you can do to distinguish between what expenses are helping and what expenses are hurting your business.
Firstly, isolate all the expenses that directly equate to more revenue for you. These are usually things that are attributed and billable directly to a client. In my business, this usually includes things like contractors, fonts, stock photos, or website hosting. I bill these things (including markup) to my client with their approval so it saves them the hassle of having to find resources on their own. These are good expenses you can put in your “Keep” pile.
Next, let’s look at those other expenses. You know the ones that look like a daily stop at your favorite coffee shop, monthly subscriptions to software you aren’t even using, and all the personal expenses that you accidentally used your business debit card for. Yea, I’m looking at you. This is where you can start to cut things and downsize your unnecessary costs. Do a thorough review of each and everything you are spending money on. You will be surprised at how much trivial costs here and there can add up. Just to clarify, I’m not telling you to not buy coffee or have a lunch meeting and expense it to your business, but what I am saying is to be aware of those expenses and make each purchase thoughtfully.
03. Maximize your revenue streams.
When I was at Rise Business conference last year, one of the speakers talked about The Bus Test. That is, if you were hit by a bus tomorrow, would your business survive? Could your business run and grow without you at the center of it? If I’m being honest, I’d have to say that’s a big fat NO for me. Especially if you are a service-based business like me, it probably feels difficult to take yourself out of the equation and still anticipate earning revenue. Even though this realization felt a little depressing at the time, it gave me the push I needed to really go hard at expanding my offerings into digital products, namely website templates.
So, at the end of January this year, I launched my template shop and am continuing to add more products to it. Let me tell you my first few sales, have given me all the confidence and reassurance I need that this is the right move for my business. But even if you aren’t creative and can’t design templates or graphics, there are still plenty of ways you can monetize the skills that can earn you passive revenue. That is revenue that doesn’t require a one-to-one exchange of your time for performing a service. I believe this is one of the critical elements of scaling any business. Whether you’re selling e-courses, retail merchandise, digital summits, ebooks, or something else, learning to package your skills and expertise in a way that can be mass-produced, is a game-changer.
Once you’ve created your product, you can sell it over and over again which means, while it will require an investment of your time upfront, your potential to multiply your profit is massive. You aren’t at the mercy of a limited number of hours in the day but rather your creativity and commitment to getting the word out about it. With my own business, I’m still in the beginning stages of really building out my digital offerings, but I am excited to continue to implement this strategy and see how it impacts my end-of-year revenue numbers.
Which of these tips are you most excited to implement into your business this year? Which do you think will have the most impact on your profit margin? Let me know in the comments or shoot me a message here and let me know how I can help you meet your goals this year!