If you can cut thousands of dollars in spending at ANY time, you probably should. Due to the uncertainty in the economy, now is an even better time to look at your costs. So this post is going to walk-through some of the best business money saving ideas to cut thousands of dollars from your business.
Note: NOT everyone can / should cut these expenses. If it’s something that you love or that makes a measurable impact in your business, by all means keep it! These are just ideas. Some areas (like bringing in new leads) it’s my opinion you should actually look to SPEND MORE in. Also if you’re looking to start a business, check out this article for how to start a business with no money or experience.
Most freelancers don’t need a complex email marketing app. Yet, I’m willing to bet you’re paying for one. Let’s face it, they’re very expensive. I pay almost $200 a month for mine. That’s $12,000 every 5 years.The truth is even I don’t need all of the features it offers me. You can get 99% of the results with a simple email tool like Sendy. It has lists, tags, autoresponders and broadcasts. That’s pretty much all a freelancer needs from an email tool… yet instead of paying hundreds each month it’s a $59 one-time fee. Then you pay AWS to send the emails (often for about $1 per 10,000 emails).This is particularly interesting for freelancers because most ESPs aren’t designed for freelancers who only need a handful of clients to make money. Those fancy features you’re paying for aren’t for you. Sidenote: If you’re not emailing your email list NOW is the time to change that. Put at least 2 hours of writing in your calendar every week with the goal of sending the most valuable thing you can to that list of people. It’s worth it.
If you spend one hour on social media per weekday, that’s 240 hours per year. Multiply that by your hourly rate. Are you getting that much value from your time on Twitter and Facebook? If not, where could you spend that time instead to get more value? The potential here is pretty amazing if you think about it. Imagine how much value you could create for someone’s business if they booked 240 of your work hours. That’s how much value you can create for yourself by simply purging social media consumption. Bonus: you’ll probably feel better too!
Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop, and XD cost $39 / month or $2,340 for 5 years. But if you do primarily vector design work you can get away with just using Sketch ($99 / year) or Figma (free up to 3 projects then $12 / month). This won’t be right for everybody but worth considering in some situations.
Clients are skittish right now. Protecting yourself with a contract is super important. You don’t want to have to pay back money to a client who freaks out and asks for a refund because you don’t have a contract. Getting a custom contract written by a local small business lawyer is your best option. This typically costs a couple hundred dollars, however, you can also use a boilerplate contract you find online. For these, I recommend Docsketch’s contract templates (free), Bonsai’s contract templates (free), and also the Creative Class Contract ($274).
If you’re currently sending invoices through a special app like Freshbooks or Harvest you might be able to switch to Stripe and cut that bill entirely. I found invoicing in Stripe to be pretty great. The invoice happens over email and allows clients to pay via a custom payment page with a credit card or ACH or wire transfer. You can also customize each invoice, including your logo, footer, memo, due dates, and setup things like automatic check-in emails that remind clients to pay.
Whether it’s a logo, business cards, your website, freelancers (particularly designers) tend to spend a lot of time, money, and energy on their personal brand. Rarely does this pay off. The truth is clients don’t care about a freelancer’s personal brand. Save that effort and time and spend it in an area like reaching out to more clients and building your network.
If you rent out office space, now might be a good time to cut that big expense. You’ve probably been working from home for the last few weeks. Could you continue this? If not, could you work from the library or Starbucks once things got back to normal? I’ve always hated commutes, so for me working from home is a great way to save money. Think about how you can invest some of that money to make your WFH situation even more enjoyable.
Right now most credit card companies and other lends are willing to go out of their way to help you out if you mention COVID-19. Call them up and ask. I did it and I lowered my APR by a couple percent. It took 5 minutes, and it will save me a ton of money. Simply ask them what they can do to help due to COVID-19, that’s it.
5 years of website hosting can run you anywhere from $3,000 with something like WPEngine to $10,000 if you’re using something like Heroku. That’s a lot of money for a freelance website. The truth is there are cheap or even free options out there that you can switch to. A ServerPilot + DigitalOcean WordPress setup only costs about $100 a year. Github has free hosting which might make sense too.
One free app that I’ve been loving lately is Google Forms. In fact, I’m currently in the process of moving all my forms off of Typeform and onto Google forms. That alone will save me $3,000 over 5 years. There are some features I’m giving up (like redirect on completion) however, there are numerous WordPress form plugins that can replicate this if I really need it. Happy Forms for example is a one-time $49 fee. Form software is something that I think is underused by most people, but you don’t need a fancy setup.
I did this recently. I made the switch from Verizon, where I was paying $3,600 for 5 years of cell service to Ting, who I now pay $300 for the same timespan. I have great WIFI at home and send text via iMessage so I only pay for emergency phone calls when I’m out and I honestly haven’t noticed a big difference. Even kept my iPhone.
Before we get to the 11 ways you can save thousands of dollars today, here’s a few tips on how to *think* about finding these expenses:
“Spend extravagantly on the things you love, and cut costs mercilessly on the things you don’t.” – Ramit Sethi
I love this quote and think it applies just as much to your business as your personal life. Running a mercilessly streamlined business with a few key tools you really love, is not only less expensive – it feels great.
If you decide to cut anything from your business today, please email me and let me know.
I read every response and I’d love to see not just what you’ve decided isn’t truly essential, but what you’re going to invest MORE in instead.
Bonus points if you answer these questions:
The truth is failing to answer these questions is often the #1 cost in your business.
Proven Potential Client Email Samples you can use: 1. Introduction Email, 2. Follow up Email, 3. Meeting Email, and 4. Fully Booked Email.
The 5 easiest ways to start earning recurring income, including: monthly retainers, affiliate products, buying cheap businesses and more.
Lessons from Seth Godin's books on how to get better clients, create great marketing, and find the work you love to do.
A guide to sending the perfect portfolio sample by email. Including what to include, a freelancer about me template, and more.
What's the best Upwork alternative for freelancers in 2020? I reviewed hundreds of freelancing platforms to give you my recommendation.