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Lately, I have been thinking a lot about times where cheaping out has caught up to me, or how life would be better if I wasn’t being too cheap.
Places where frugal = frustrated.
One fantastic example is the computer that I am using to type this post on. I regret this purchase. It turns out that blogging takes more computer brain power than one would think. Ah well.
In related news, I am in the market for a new laptop.
I have always been reticent to spend money when a free version of something is available. There are a few interesting points to take away from this:
I Undervalue My Time
I would rather go chasing around, inefficiently, to find the piece of information that I need, or to find the free solution. In many cases, this is dumb.
I work a lot, between my day job and its commute, blogging and volunteering. I have way more money than time. Of course, saving that money is extremely important to me, but there are trade-offs.
When I am too cheap to pay for a good solution, not only does it undervalue my time, it also makes me less productive with the time that I do have because I am learning to do something the slow way. It’s a lose-lose situation.
A better solution would be to pay for information products that tell me everything that I need to know, in a logical, quick fashion. Then, I would quickly be able to take the knowledge and put it into practice, saving me learning time, and learning-by-doing time.
There is a lot of money in packaging things into an easy to digest format. Pat from Smart Passive Income learned this with his very first course. The market for eBooks and online courses is booming and showing no signs of slowing down.
I Think Everyone Thinks Like Me
This is a VERY common thing to think, and it can be rather limiting.
Do you ever watch “As Seen on TV” ads and wonder “who on earth buys this crap?”
Yeah, me too.
Well, someone does. Those commercials would be pulled lickety-split if they didn’t generate any revenue. The lesson is: Just because you wouldn’t buy it, doesn’t mean others people won’t.
How is this limiting? I mean, not buying crap is really good for the savings account, no?
In my case, it causes me to kibosh product ideas and online income ideas before they get off the ground. Instead, I should be testing the ideas out before I kick them to the curb. I don’t want to think about how many ideas I’ve glossed over in the past because I assume that the potential audience is just like me and wouldn’t jump on it.
I’ve Under Performed Because I Won’t Invest in Myself
A topic very much on my mind lately has been “where would my blogs be if I had put more money into learning to blog right away?”
This is a big regret of mine right now.
A book like On Your Mark, Get Set, Blog! would have propelled me forward by months. A course like the Pinterest Strategy course (currently accepting beta applications) would have done the same. There’s also Elite Blog Academy (which I hear a lot about and thus I am very curious).
Where would I be if I had opted to get a logo for my business, right away, instead of over a year later? Trust me, my skills in GIMP, the open source equivalent of Photoshop, are sub par.
If you are starting a business, online or offline, start it professionally from the beginning. It may seem hard to cough up the dough in the beginning, but getting your brand right from the very beginning makes a world of difference to how you are perceived by your clientele and even vendors. Don’t know where to find such a thing? Deluxe Business Services will even talk to you about your brand and logo needs for free on the phone, before working with you. They’ll also ensure you get 11 different file formats. Oh, and at the moment, you can get 10% off Any Logo Design Package.
I have been the person who needs to get something printed, but doesn’t have the right file format. A solid white background is very different than a translucent background, my friends.
Recognize where your skill set lies and optimize: spend on the things that you’re not good at, so that you can put even more into what you are good at. Let’s say that you are really good at designing jewelry to sell online, but not good at taking nice pictures to go with it. It is extremely tempting to still try to DIY it.
Your sales will suffer, though, and you know that to be true. Jewelry is very visual.
So what are your options? Spend hours online looking for tutorials, researching equipment, trying to edit your own pictures, being unsatisfied with the end result. Or, you could sign up to take a product photography class that teaches you everything you need to know, in order. Alternatively, you can hire someone to take the pictures for you. Either way, the value is there, even though it is extremely difficult to part with money when you don’t have any revenue yet.
Where I am Getting It Right
One of my passions is permaculture. I’m quite a newbie at it, and don’t even really have a yard. Permaculture is basically an ecosystem design approach that focuses on increasing linkages and decreasing risk. There are a million definitions, but in short, it’s a way to approach gardening, farming and landscaping.
I haven’t bit the bullet to do a Permaculture Design Course yet, but I have taken a rainwater harvesting course, attended Convergence, taken an online introductory course, and purchased several books. Despite having watched literally dozens of hours of YouTube videos on the subject, the books and online course have been fantastic investments. Logical, organized, progressive, and not surprising me with terminology or words I don’t know because I haven’t learned the information in a set order. If anyone is interestesd in the subject, I highly recommend Gaia’s Garden. It is an excellent book.
I’ve also invested in wine courses. I have my WSET Level 1 course under my belt and will be taking Level 2 at some point in 2016. My spouse makes an excellent point, that we enjoy wine and the sooner we learn more about it, the longer we have in our lives to benefit from that knowledge. PS: I highly recommend them, if you are interested in wine. They’re rather pricey, but very worthwhile.
In what areas have you found yourself being too cheap and regretting it?