The lesson was…your bottom line is more than just your revenue. It is all well and good to bring in six figures, but a little less impressive if you spend more than half of that money on “expenses”. Training and tools are good, but so is investing in your business or actually bringing in more money. But the effect of the “waste” goes beyond just not having the money, the opportunity costs multiply the loss. Over years, that $10 a month subscription could end up being very expensive.
Here are some places where most online workers could plug up some holes in their business budgets.
Subscriptions and Monthly Continuity Programs There are many tempting offers out there for masterminds, monthly support groups, newsletters, web-based tools etc. Some bill monthly, but some of the trickier ones bill yearly or every six months. I try to pay for most of my subscriptions through paypal so that I can easily discontinue the subscriptions I no longer need. I also do a quarterly audit of all my subscriptions to ensure that I am still using the ones I am paying for.
Payment Gateway Fees Online fee processing fees can really add up. Once you have an established online business, it pays to shop around for the best deal on payment processing. This often ends up being a standard merchant account rather than paypal. As part of a quarterly review, you should look at the fees you are paying and make sure they are as low as they can be.
Web Tools Many web tools (such as shopping carts, article submission services, audio services, etc.) charge a subscription fee for you to use them. Many are worth their fee many times over. But, you should review all tools every couple of months to make sure that you are not paying for tools you are not using.
Not Giving Yourself A Raise Even in tough times, small business owners (especially virtual assistants) need to raise their prices to keep up with increased cost of living. The key is to give advance notice to clients and to raise rates in small amounts on a regular basis.
Affiliate Income Virtual Assistants and other home business owners are constantly recommending tools for their clients. Many of these tools come with affiliate programs where you can earn some extra money for referral. The client doesn’t pay any more for the tool and you can earn a (sometimes hefty) percentage just for passing on a heartfelt recommendation.
Time Tracking It is also very easy to lose money by not billing your clients for your actual hours worked. One of the easiest holes to plug is to start tracking all those “quick favors” and “quick replys” that sometimes turn into real projects.