Being an entrepreneur means a lot of things - creative freedom, constant decision making, total responsibility, and of course, being our own bosses. But how do you cut company spending when YOU'RE the company!? Think frugal! Prepare for the hunt, and promise never to pay full price again. Here are seven money saving tips to keep your hard earned cash in the bank!
1) Coupons are your BEST friend
When shopping online for your custom thank you cards, or renewing your Adobe account, if there is a little box to insert a coupon code during checkout, USE IT! That's your golden ticket! Google the store name + “coupon code” and you’ll get 1,000 pages of discounts - look for sites like RetailMeNot and Coupons.com to find codes that work. Never pay shipping, my friends, and never settle for full price when purchasing online.
2) Pay attention to price patterns
I have learned that before almost every major holiday, Zazzle will mark down their products to 50-75% OFF - that is HUGE! So instead of getting 10 thank you cards for $25, you get them for $7 + free shipping. Sometimes, you have to restrain yourself from buying them at full price, but you know you will save lots of money. Take advantage of Black Friday and big retail days.
3) Comparison shop
Find the cheapest deal by price shopping between stores. Often one will be having a unique sale when others are not. The best places to buy are B&H, Amazon, KEH, and eBay - if you shop new on eBay for big ticket items such as lenses or bodies, you get 3% cash back every quarter, which pays for extra batteries and new memory cards. Don't forget to check the prices a week later, as you can get a price adjustment within 14 days from most retailers if the price drops.
4) Buy in bulk
Strike when a major sale is happening, but buy in bulk! There’s nothing worse than running out of ribbon while trying to package an order or buying batteries for your flash at - GASP - the drugstore! So the next time your favorite client gift goes on sale, buy two dozen of them and save.
5) Reallocate your advertising budget
Stop paying to boost your Facebook posts. Instead, go for organic reach. Tag your clients, post beneficial content, and rely on word of mouth advertising from your clients. Take what you would have spent on a traditional advertising budget and use that money to treat your clients with gifts, and they will be referring you to everyone. Don’t forget to show your love for past clients, not just future ones. Go above and beyond in service and you will never have to pay a dime in advertising.
6) Protect your gear
Be proactive and buy lens hoods ($10, not only to reduce sun flare, but to have a bumper if it gets knocked around), UV filters ($5, to protect the actual glass if dropped), memory card cases ($5 for 25 of them to avoid dust and prevent all around damage) and a durable bag (but not necessarily the cutest $400 leather one).
I would love to take every potential client to dinner, but that isn’t cost effective for a very small business (25 clients/year = ~$1,800). For meetings with clients that haven't been booked yet, opt for a coffee shop to keep costs down (but of course, always treat them). Save a more upscale dining experience for clients that have already booked you.