At some point in our businesses, there will come a time where we have to make the decision of whether we’re going to level up or give it up.

After 5 years of blogging sporadically as a hobby, I finally reached that point in December 2015, and as you can see, I chose the former. 😉

Deciding to “go pro” and invest in my business this year was a HUGE step not only in the right direction but well, WELL out of my comfort zone.

I was very much the ‘free resources’ and ‘find cheaper alternatives’ kind of girl. I was cheap. SO cheap. And most of the time I just wouldn’t make the investment when I should have which stifled my business and it’s growth.

Once I decided to finally make the commitment to my business and invest in Jan this year, it didn’t come without it’s hiccups i.e accidentally purchasing a 36-month plan instead of a 12-month plan and checking my credit card statement to find that with the exchange rate I’d spend over $400 on a software program. 😭

But one thing is for absolute certain; the strategic investments I have chosen to make has grown my business substantially in just the three months since I re-launched.

Today I want to share with you those 7 software programs I invested in, why I chose them and the results I have been getting from using them.

Bluehost

Investment: $125.64 (36 month plan @ $3.49 per month)

Why I Joined: For 5 years I had been running my “business” on Blogger. When I decided I wanted to step up, go pro and take my business seriously I knew I needed to move to a self-hosted WordPress site. I chose Bluehost because I had heard from pretty much EVERY. ENTREPRENEUR. EVER. that Bluehost was the best domain & hosting provider with awesome 24/7 customer service. I was sick of the restrictions Blogger had, so it was a no brainer for me.

Results: A 60 minute turnover when needing to sort out tech issues. The customer service, although outsourced, has been exceptional. I have 1000% more piece of mind about my website now. I just wish I had transferred my website over sooner.

WordPress Theme

Investment: $49.99

Why I Purchased: I wanted a theme that represented me as an entrepreneur. I had spent years using blogger templates and now I wanted something more sophisticated that offered features and plugins that were beneficial to me starting my business. Browsing through Etsy, I wanted a theme to jump out at me and make me say, “THAT’S IT! THAT’S THE ONE!!!” and that’s why I chose the Boss Lady theme by A Prettier Web, not only for it’s stand out features like the CTA boxes and lead pages, but because of the easy customisability.

Results: A cleaner more “on-brand ” website design that is easy to use and appealing to you the reader. It’s so purdy now don’t you think?! 😉

Edgar

Investment: $49 per month

Why I Joined: I wanted to rekindle my relationship with my readers on facebook and twitter by consistently posting on those platforms every day. The only problem was I hated social media scheduling systems and having to manually add content every couple of days. I wanted a system that eliminated me having to manually do it. Edgar offered to automatically recycle the content on different days meaning the only thing I had to do was add more content when I felt like it!

Results: Since I joined in January, my facebook post engagement has increased by a whopping 641% and my twitter account has received a modest 77.1% increase on impressions. But best of all it saves me at least 5 hours of scheduling time each week.

Mailchimp Pro

Investment: $10 per month

Why I Joined: I learned waaaaaay back in 2012 that if you wanted to make money from your blog, you needed an email list to do it so I signed up with Mailchimp. It was only this year when I decided to go pro that I really wanted to utilize my list and offer a crap ton of value to my readers at the same time. So I created a free email course.

Results: I launched my free 6-day email course ‘Blog Your Way to Passive Income‘ mid March and by the 25th of the month I had already seen a 150% increase in subscribers for March alone. A great conversion rate considering I hadn’t had a single subscriber for a couple of weeks prior!

 

Facebook Ads

Investment: $3 – $5 per day

Why I Joined: My goal was to promote my free course to a fresh new audience, and I wanted to be able to target very specifically based on where my audience hung out on facebook, what devices they used to consume online content and the precise cities they were living in.

Results: After 7 days of running my campaign, I had already reached over 3,552 people in my targeted audience which created 67 conversions (aka 67 new subscribers!!) costing me roughly $0.58 cents per conversion – which isn’t bad for a first campaign!

TEACHABLE

Investment: Free (until I upgrade)

Why I Joined: I had been studying and experimenting with sales funnels for the previous four months and wanted to create a course that showcased what I did and how any other entrepreneur could use them in their business to create substantial growth and sales in less than 90 days. I wanted to be able to teach the course through a platform that could upload videos without crashing and was also super freakin’ easy to use.

Results: Being able to join, create and sell my course for free right away was a huge incentive. Obviously the fees are higher at $1 + 10% for every credit card transaction that’s processed until you upgrade (which then lessens the fees). But the benefit of that is that you can start making money without having to pay upfront. Other bonuses I found was that everything you need is already integrated into the platform, all I had to do was add the detail, create my course and upload the content.

Leadpages

Investment: $297 (12 month plan)

Why I Joined: I wanted to start converting readers into subscribers on all of my posts by offering content upgrades. I couldn’t do that as easily and simplistically with Mailchimp alone.

Results: Having only just recently purchased Leadpages (like a few days ago!) I have already seen a spike of 3 – 5 more extra subscribes each day. I want to take a bit more time to analyze my conversions and results so I’ll update the post again once I have a more rounded out result.

 

Conclusion

Overall I chose to measure my success in the first quarter of the year by the amount of subscribes I received. I didn’t start gathering emails until I launched my free email course which was in mid Feb, so since then I have had a 1500% increase in subscribes overall. In the next quarter I will be focusing on measuring sales.

Have you taken the big leap and invested in your business? What are the software systems you chose to invest in? Share your answers below!

Elise xo