Let me tell you a little story.
Last night I went out to one of the fanciest bars in Bangkok. It’s supposed to have some of the best cocktails in town and is known as one of the premiere jazz venues in all of Asia.
I had a great time, and the bar was exactly what I ‘d hoped it would be. Although for as much as I enjoyed the music and atmosphere, I had one (amazing) drink and it cost me $10. I’m not sure I’ve ever spent that much on a single drink in my life, and I certainly don’t want to do it again any time soon.
That said, on a fairly regular basis I will spend $4-5 on a beer when going out with friends. I won’t think about it, and I’ll often have multiple drinks. Then before I’ve even realized what happened, I’ll have dropped 30 bucks in an evening. I do this regularly without putting much thought into it or feeling guilty.
I also did something else yesterday. I registered a new domain name.
It cost me $10, and you know what? I analyzed the hell out of that decision. I thought about it for a good 30 minutes while I decided whether or not I should purchase it. I already have all the hosting and everything set up, so if I wanted to develop this site it would literally cost me no more than the $10 domain fee.
I bought the domain. And you know what happened next? I felt bad about it. Wondering if I had the time or motivation to actually invest in another site. Second guessing myself every step of the way.
Then I stopped to think about what was happening, and I asked myself an extremely important question that I feel is often overlooked.
Would I rather have a beer or a business?
For me the answer is simple: a business. Yet knowing this is the case, why is it so easy to spend money on a beer and not on the business?
It’s pretty crazy to think about the value of what you can get for your money when you compare these two things.
A beer will give you 15 minutes of enjoyment (although, I must say the selection of Thai ales leave a lot to be desired), and then it’s gone forever – well, at least you hope it is.
For roughly the same amount as two beers, you can secure an entire year to create something great. It can be the gift that keeps on giving, potentially making you hundreds, if not thousands of dollars if you’re willing to put the time into it.
One of the most important principles I’ve learned about business, that is almost always true on one level or another is this:
You have to spend money to make money
It doesn’t always have to be a lot, but in order to see the success you desire, you’re going to have to be willing to part with at least some money.
However, I should rephrase that previous statement.
You spend money on beer. You invest money in your business.
You aren’t expecting to get anything in return for your beer (well…usually). With a business, you put money in with the expectation that you’ll get a return on your investment. It’s the same concept as investing in the stock market, real estate, or that multi-level marketing scheme you fell for in college.
The difference between all of those things and an online business is that you can receive results as a direct result of your effort, and the effect can be more immediate. Many people wait years to see their stock or real estate investments pay off.
If you’re lucky, you could begin seeing a return on your new site in a week!
Ok, so it’s one thing to recognize all of this, but how do you actually change your mindset when it comes to spending and investing?
Well there are a few things you can do.
Cut entertainment expenses in half
While this may seem difficult, I promise you it really isn’t.
However much you were going to take out with you tonight to spend – only bring half. Take the rest and set it aside for when you have that next great idea and need some cash to get started.
You can also do this on a more global scale. If you normally spend $200 in a month going out, set aside $100 at the beginning of the month for your business. When you find a project you’re passionate about, you will find that will be more than enough to entertain you!
Explore ways to make it cost neutral
One of the easiest ways to do this is to take advantage of your hosting company’s affiliate program.
Most hosting services will pay you anywhere from $50-100 just for referring a new client. So perhaps you have friends that are interested in starting a blog?
Try sending a message to your subscriber list, or write a review of their services. You have a year to get one person to sign up, shouldn’t be too difficult.
Replace alcohol with something else
Lets face it, I used the beer analogy because alcohol can be ridiculously expensive, and almost everyone can relate. However, most of the people I know drink because it’s the socially acceptable thing to do.
Sure, there is always the occasional raucous night, but more often than not it is a few friends just hanging out. So next time this happens, remember that a rum and coke is costing 3-4 times more what it would be costing sans rum. Skip the alcohol, most people won’t even be able to tell the difference.
Bottom line, for under a hundred dollars you can have an entire website and hosting setup for a year. That’s 365 opportunities to generate some income. Not to mention if you spend an entire year working to make some money online, the chances are you’ll make that money back and then some.