It’s another Expert Briefs, where I ask really smart business owners to answer your burning questions.
This week I asked our panel of experts…
“Other than web hosting & your autoresponder & shopping cart, what are a few things that you pay for monthly or annually that you're glad you do?”
I think you'll find the responses interesting.
Dennis Becker of Earn1KaDay says:
I also pay for several PLR sites, including CoachGlue of course.
Lynette Chandler of Tech Based Marketing says:
1. Outright. They just changed their name to GoDaddy Online Bookkeeping so I guess I should start using that name. I have an aversion to doing books and for a really long time, I paid good money to have it done manually but Outright does all this automatically for me at a much lower price. The other neat thing, it tells me how much quarterly taxes to pay.
It does take a little bit of setup, but the setup is less if you did it at the beginning of your financial year or as close as possible, not at the end.
I started somewhere in March so it wasn't too bad. For the first few months you have to tell it what to categorize but as the months go along it does a pretty good job of auto categorizing. I've tried many tools that claim to do this and they do, but this is by far the most accurate I've tried and I'm sticking to them.
You still have to go in every month to eyeball things and take care of a few transactions that it cannot understand. Some are recurring payments but it usually is just a handful. Much better than hundreds of lines every month. I also love that it emails me a weekly profit report.
Because I lack design skills but love great design, I go there weekly to seek awesome graphics for everything I need. Max does such a great job. There's always new content, sometimes every week and it's very affordable. The extended developer licensing is also pretty sweet.
Shannon Cherry of Learn How I Get *Paid* to Attend Events says:
You know, there's not a lot that I pay monthly for, not even my shopping cart, which I paid a one time purchase or my autoresponder. However, there are a few monthly payments I cannot live without:
1) Dropbox. I store everything I have on it so it's available no matter what device I am using.
2) Good outsourcing.
3) Good PLR. I'm lucky as I have found a couple of good PLR sources (Thanks, Nicole) that are so good I get a monthly subscription. Although I don't use every single piece, I get an idea of what the hot trends are and to expand my own knowledge, if needed.
On another note, what I'd love to pay monthly for is a good coach/mentor. Haven't found the right one yet who can take me on, but I know that person will come when the time is right.
Kelly McCausey of Solo Smarts Podcast says:
Here's what comes to mind for me right now with approximate prices…
Time Trade. ($49.00 per year) This has saved me a lot in Virtual Assistant expenses since my clients can book themselves into my schedule now.
Box Shot King. ($69.00 per year) I love having the ability to create a beautiful ecover graphic from any computer or even my iPad Mini.
Coach Glue. ($15.00 per month) I'm a Monthly Instant Expert Templates member and love it!
Sell PLR Plugins. ($17.00 per month) I signed up for the Monthly Membership there as soon a they came out. I love those plugins. They make great bonus gifts for my products.
Adobe Connect Pro ($55.00 per month) Sometimes I feel like I live in my web conference room. I use it for coaching as well as webinars.
I wouldn't give up any of these things!
Debbie Drum and Amy Harrop of Recycled Riches say:
Here’s what we spend money on:
Great & Smart Writers – We are constantly creating content so we need a really great writer for
1) Blog posts for new content on our blogs – We’ve gotten to the point where we ask our writers to research content that would be good for our blogs (on the topic of our niche, which is Book Publishing) – and they write the blog post for us too! We constantly need smart people who are capable of doing the research and the writing the makes sense for our business.
2) Book Publishing – Gone are the days where we write a single word in the books that we publish. When I first started (Deb) I would use a combination of PLR plus my own writing to publish books. YOu can’t use PLR anymore in Kindle Books, so everything has to be unique. We provide the writers with the article topics and they just write away…
3) Article Rewriters – Oftentimes we find great content, but we need to spin it to make it unique. No, we don’t use article spinners (huge waste of time) – we use a real person who knows what they are doing when it comes to rewriting things to make them unique and original
Another area where we spend money is:
Graphic Designer – I like to create banners because they are really simple. I also like to use web based photo editors for my facebook and google plus posts – but designing every cover and every graphic for a membership site just became too overwhelming. What happened was I was so busy pounding through my to do list that creating a cover great enough for kindle and other publishing platforms slowed me down because you really have to change gears to put on your creative cap – and that’s not always easy to do. I found someone who would create these quick graphics for us where creativity to them is like writing this blog post to me – EASY PEASY 🙂
Nicole Dean of .. here! .. says:
Wow. This took more effort than I thought to track all of these down. 🙂 Here's my list. I will update if I missed anything.
If you work with service providers, this tool can be very helpful to manage your team.
- Basecamp– Allows me to track projects and who is working on each one.
You NEED offsite computer backups if you’re running a business. Backing up to CDs or DVDs or an external drive is not enough.
- Mozy– Keeps my computer (and therefore, my income) safe. (Try it free.)
- Easy Safe File Sharing– Allows me to work with writers and editors and keeps all my files safe and secure. (You can start with this one for free, too.)
- GotoWebinar (click here to try it free)– I also use this, although not as much as I really should. It’s a great tool, though, if you want to record webinars – as that’s what it’s designed to do best. Here’s a cool blog post about making your webinars ROCK: Key Tips for Profitable Webinars.
Social Sharing for Additional Exposure & Traffic Generation.
- Social Buzz– I upgraded to the BASIC ($99/year) option so I can share less and still get lots of exposure. (The lazy option.)
- Monthly Mentoring Club – I pay for Terry Dean's Monthly Newsletter.
- Earn 1k a Day – I was paying for Dennis' Earn 1k a Day forum, but upgraded to a lifetime membership after the first month. If I hadn't, though, I would still gladly be paying.
How to Avoid Frustration.
As far as tips go for managing your subscriptions, these are mine.
1. I prefer to pay with paypal when given the option. It's much easier to cancel if the person does not deliver or if I decide that I no longer need the service. If the service ONLY offers credit card payments and not paypal, I usually pass. It's sometimes too hard to cancel otherwise.
2. I normally will try a subscription on a trial or monthly basis before I decide to upgrade to annual or lifetime options. That saves me from making a costly investment into something that I might not use.
3. If there is an affiliate program for a subscription that I LOVE LOVE LOVE and it's recurring, I will share that program. It helps to reverse the cost. Of course, I test programs that are recurring before I'd ever recommend them. And, only a few make it past my “this totally rocks” filter. (You'll see those above.)
4. I reassess my expenses on a regular basis. In fact, I found and cancelled two programs while writing this blog post. 🙂
If you're not using a membership, figure out why.
Is it you? Is it them? Or is it just not the best fit?
If it's you…
Set a calendar reminder to go get the content if it's something downloadable. Go download it (or have a VA do it for you and put it into dropbox for you). Systematize your learning.
If it's a program that you're not using because you haven't learned how to use it yet, then learn it. Schedule time to just dig in and learn how to use the darned thing.
If it's them…
Is the material being presented in a way that you just won't consume? Know yourself well enough to know what you will and will not actually use. If they only offer files in mp4s, but you want mp3s for listening to in your car, then ask them if they will offer it in both formats. If they say ‘no”, then cancel.
If it's not a good fit…
Cancel. You can always go back later – although it may be a higher price, it's better than wasting money on a program that you're not using.
My homework for you.
Take inventory of your monthly and annual programs. Go through them and schedule time to USE those investments.
What about You?
What programs do you pay for on an monthly or annual basis that you love? Let me know!