Hey, I'm Alethea—and I'm a
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I’m an all-in or not-at-all-in kind of girl. Which meant that when I started my business, I committed to giving it 100%, even if that meant pulling money out of my savings for “worthy” business investments.
The thing is…you quickly realize that there are a lot of things you can be persuaded into believing are business “essentials.” So if you’re wondering what kind of stuff is actually worth spending money on, I’ve got all the juicy investment details for you.
(Is this blog post full of affiliate links? 1,000% Would I ever recommend something I didn’t wholeheartedly believe in? Not in a million lifetimes. 1) Because I’m a horrible liar and 2) you and I having a good relationship built on legit trust is way more important to me than making 10% off whatever you purchase. These resources are the bomb.com, cross my heart.)
1 – Dubsado
When I first started, I used HoneyBook and it was… okay. However, it quickly became obvious that HoneyBook was seriously limited when it came to personalization. And, as someone who is very into personalized touches when it comes to client experience, switching over just made sense.
Dubsado is GREAT! Their support is awesome, their beginner course is free, and they even send you a cute little sticker welcoming you to the family.
HOWEVER, it is a lot to learn and to input my fonts, I had to try my hand at coding. Which I figured out but did not enjoy. Eventually, I hired Fran (who is awesome) to help with setting up some backend stuff and that was super duper helpful. I also ended up winning a free Dubsado audit from Martine and she was amazing too!
Bottom line: Worth it, but expect it’s going to take some time to get used to and might require investing in professional assistance. And if you want 20% off your first year, it’s all yours!
2 – Dubsado Templates
Not to keep talking about Fran, but…I’m gonna keep talking about Fran because her Dubsado Form Templates rocked my world.
The first round of DIYing my Dubsado form templates involved Etsy templates which were great! But they sure as sh*t weren’t as great as Fran’s Dubsado Form Templates and the main reason is because all of the elements of her forms are built within Dubsado itself, so you don’t have to edit things in an outside platform like Canva.
Instead, Fran walks you through customizing each section of your template, including the code that’s already been set up 90% of the way for you. All you have to do is edit the code to add your fonts.
(And if you’ve ever tried to edit code on your own as a non-coder, you know how brutal it can be trying to figure out what any of those scary-looking strings of letters mean. With Fran’s templates you don’t have to worry about ANY of the code because you’ll be following her super straightforward instructions.)
Plus, everything is set up properly so your text and images don’t stretch out in a weird way.
(I learned after buying these templates that my spacing had been seriously messed up for some time on all of my Dubsado forms… awkward.)
So if you want a contact, questionnaire, contract, and proposal form without spending a ridiculous amount of time trying to make everything look pretty (and without spending a ridiculous amount of money)…
Check out The Passions Collective templates and if you want to save $50, use the code: SPICY.
(Feel free to thank me later.)
3 – Website Design
Website design is one of those things that doesn’t make sense to invest in immediately. The first site I had, I DIYed (it was awful, but it got the job done). The second site, my friend designed which was soooo much better. And after a year of being in business, I decided I was ready to invest in a custom website. Similar to website copy, investing in website design is worth it only after you’ve been in business for a little while and have a clear direction you want to go in. (If you’re debating whether or not to DIY your website copy, this might help.)
If you’re just starting out, but still want a professional-looking site, I’d recommend buying a template (and you can’t go wrong with one from Tonic Site Shop or Sarah Kleist) That way it’s still gorgeous, but costs a fraction of the price.
(And, if you want 15% off your Tonic template, use the code “SPICY15” at checkout!)
4 – Brand Photography
Investing in brand photography was one of those things I wish I had done earlier because it gives your brand such a polished look and putting your face everywhere is SO important as a personal brand. With that said, it’s also expensive which means it’s worth taking the time to PLAN for.
Consider things like what space you’re going to use (I rented an Airbnb, but Peerspace is a great website to check out for spaces you can rent by the hour). Put together a mood board or hire a designer to help you determine what vibe you’re going for (I relied heavily on help from my fab website designer when it came to deciding the creative direction for my photoshoot). Plan out props, outfits, and your shot list.
And, of course, you want to hire the perfect photographer (I HIGHLY recommend Gracie Wilson).
If you’re not in a place of planning all of that or brand photography feels out of your budget, go the DIY route! Look for a local photographer and offer to do a service exchange with them or have a friend take photos of you. While the photos my mom took of me weren’t anything breathtaking, they absolutely did a fine job for the first year I was in business. No matter what, take some damn photos and show the world your face and as soon as you can, invest in brand photography.
5 – Social Media Templates
I suck at designing so naturally when Tonic announced their social media templates package, I immediately put it on my “to invest” list. And, I have zero complaints. The graphics are stunning and it makes the task of creating content for social media fun instead of absolutely dreadful.
(If you’re looking to purchase them for yourself, just use the code “SPICY15” for 15% off!)
Minor Monthly Subscriptions
Sending videos of my screen where I can explain things as I scroll through it is VITAL in delivering copy. And if you want to use it for free, you can! You just have to keep it under five minutes.
As someone with hour-long meetings, a paid Zoom is an absolute necessity. Having the time limit notification pop up during a call? Not so professional.
This handy dandy board allows me to track all of my client projects in one place. I highly recommend it.
Which is free! But, if you use it with your clients, you’ll want to upgrade to the pro version.
For emails, it’s the best way to go; stupid easy to use and pretty to look at. And, you can get 50% off your first year if you sign up with this link, but if you’d rather pay full price, go right ahead. 😉
The Mindset Stuff
Pretty quickly into starting my business, I realized everything everyone was saying about needing to get your mindset right was absolutely true. So, I got serious about investing in my education and coaches. Here are some of the investments I’ve made.
1 – Site Series (Website Copy Course)
Taught by a website copy queen, Sara Noel, this course was the best copywriting course I’ve taken so far. She goes above and beyond with her examples, she’s fabulous at telling you things in a way that actually makes sense, and the course included way more than just how to write website copy; it also included all of the other parts that help your website copy get found. Like, SEO, Pinterest, and email marketing, etc.
Highly recommend this course to anyone looking to write their own website copy or for any fellow blossoming copywriters! And, if you want, you’re more than welcome to use my affiliate link.
P.S. The course isn’t always available, but you can always sign up for the waitlist!
2 – Selling with Soul (Sales Course)
One of the first serious investments I made in my business education, and worth every penny. Learning HOW to sell, what to say on a discovery call, what the hell an ideal client is and how to understand their emotions, AND how to market on Instagram taught me the fundamentals I needed to start my business.
While I don’t think it’s necessary to spend a lot of money upfront to get the ball rolling, this investment felt worth it for me because I was ready to go all in and learn from the pros.
3 – SEO Group Coaching
SEO is one of those scary words that comes up a lot in the online space. And one that I felt like I should know the basics of so I could write copy for my clients for their readers and for Google. This SEO course was a skill-adjacent investment and 1,000% worth it. I’ve continued to be a part of the Duo Collective SEO community ever since!
4 – Katelyn’s The Tasting Room (Copywriting Course)
Katelyn is a fabulous copywriter whose course was a no-brainer investment. I learned the basics of email marketing, sales page copy, website copy, and brand positioning for a ridiculously affordable price. The course includes so many amazing templates as well.
And I’ll definitely be investing in her brand messaging course soon.
1 – Mentorship
Deciding to bite the bullet and pay Sara’s hefty (and justified) price tag for a copywriting mentorship was a next-level commitment to my business and one that has been 100,000,001% worth it.
Working with someone who is where you’re trying to go is THE way to get there quicker and with way fewer mistakes. Hiring a mentor who is in your specific industry is a game-changer; not only can they teach you the ropes of everything they’ve already learned making you feel way more capable to take on clients, but they’re also as obsessed with your industry as you are and that’s an irreplaceable connection (and will help you get through the crappy days of entrepreneurship).
2 – Business Coach
Yes, a business coach is different than a mentor. (Although they can absolutely overlap.)
A mentor is someone in your industry who is teaching you how to perfect the skill, a business coach is someone who is helping you work through the ways you put yourself out there which ends up being a whole lot of introspective work. You know, the mindset kind of stuff.
At one point I had a biz coach and a mentor and I had some WILD growth and breakthroughs. While I think that approach was a little extra, I do think it’s absolutely necessary, especially in the beginning of your biz, to hire someone who can hold you accountable, who you can share your big and small wins with, and who can help you develop a plan of attack. Having that someone will make sure you keep moving forward, even on the days when all you want to do is quit.
Hopefully, this helps you decide what your next worth-it investment is or gives you something fun to put on your “investment wishlist” – I know mine’s always growing.
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