Hands up if you feel like you’re spending too much money on your business!

*all the hands raise* 🙌

Oh I feel ya! It’s so confusing to know what the heck to invest in. You want your business to have the best possible chance, but you also want to be efficient and not fork out for something your business is not ready for or doesn’t need.

You want to invest in the things that are going to make your business thrive for where it’s at.

And THAT can be like like navigating a Cambodian mine field, blindfolded.

So what’s an entrepreneur to do when they’re stuck in this pickle?

They test the data, darling!

Over the last few months I’ve been tracking how the services & software I invested in are performing in my business and really accessing whether they were worth continuing with or not.

I based this on:

  1. Conversion rates
  2. Necessity

What I discovered was that not all were performing as well as I wanted, and I was in fact spending a lot of money unnecessarily.

This is what the data told me about how people are interacting with my business:

  • My highest traffic driver is Pinterest – by miles.
  • 87% of traffic coming from Pinterest are brand new to House of Brazen
  • Traffic from Pinterest also has the highest bounce rate at 79%
  • Facebook is my second highest traffic driver with a bounce rate of 66%
  • I get the most subscribers from Facebook – woohoo!
  • Twitter generates the least amount of traffic for the amount of work I put into it
  • I get the best engagement & returning visitors from Instagram – wtf!?
  • I make 80-90% of my income from my own products 🤑👌
  • The majority of my affiliate income comes from my blog & Pinterest.
  • Ads are an absolute waste of space on my website 😩

So now that I had all of the data, it was time to match it up with my expenditure and whether it was providing the results I wanted.

MY MONTHLY EXPENSES BEFORE TESTING DATA

Note: These expenses don’t take into account the Facebook ads, annual services, equipment or courses I’ve invested in as they’re budgeted for on a case-by-case basis and not a monthly expense.

All items with * are affiliate links

Total: $255/month

Ouch! That’s a lot of money to be spending on a new online business each month, especially when you like to keep things as lean and as feasible as I do. And while I chose to invest in them for the right reasons, it wasn’t about whether it was smart, it was about whether they were performing the tasks I was paying for.

And unless they were giving me the direct result I wanted, there was no point in using the service. So something had to give.

EDGAR + SUMOME

After seeing the results from Twitter, I realized I was spending too much money on a platform that wasn’t converting for me. I knew I could spend a fraction of the cost (A.K.A nothing) on a platform that focused on Facebook and get 10x the results, so I cancelled my subscription to Edgar. I also believe I invested in Edgar way to early on in my business. House of Brazen was brand new, not earning any income and hadn’t grown a following yet which is why I couldn’t justify the $49 expense.

The only reason I chose to use Welcome Mat Pro was because SumoMe had a promotion that if you joined a Pro account they would review your website and send you a video notes and tweaks to make. I chose to Welcome Mat Pro because I wanted to have a prettier background image for my Welcome Mat. Unfortunately I let the prettiness get in the way of the clear fact that it wasn’t performing that much better than when I was using the free version.

Check out my monthly stats below. I started using Welcome Mat Pro in May.

sumo-me-stats-2
As you can see, the conversion was pretty much the same even with the larger amount of mats that were seen. I don’t know about you, but I’m not a fan of paying $20 a month for the same results I was getting when it was free – even if it was prettier!

Obviously I could have split tested mats and headlines etc.. but I wanted to focus on what was working and spend more time on that. AND – it’s a big one – they never sent me my damn review! Grrrrrr! 😡

THE MEMBERS CLUB + HAUTE CHOCOLATE

I love Carrie Green from the Female Entrepreneur Association, so when she opened up spots to join The Members Club, I was all over that like white on rice! I believed it was going to be an awesome resource to use while I built my business, and it is. But I found that I already knew the majority of the information that was being taught, and I wanted something a little more advanced. So I cancelled my membership because I didn’t feel it was right for me. But I feel like I just need to state that The Members Club is PERFECT for someone new to blogging and I highly, HIGHLY recommend you get on the waitlist for the next time she opens slots.

When I signed up for Haute Chocolate, I was doing it solely because I wanted pretty graphics to use for my blog post image designs. Not long after I realized that my images were swimming in a sea of sameness on Pinterest and they weren’t standing out. I couldn’t tell my images from others and so I made the executive decision – look at me all grown up and stuff! – to create more distinctive image designs.

I wanted to people to be able to tell that the post was from the House of Brazen. And so my image designs went from these..

house-of-brazen-blog-post-designs
To these..

house-of-brazen-blog-post-images
See, more distinctive.

Once I did this, I didn’t really need to be subscribed to a stock photo service anymore so I cancelled my subscription. However, if you do need stock photography, Haute Chocolate is affordable with gorgeous images and graphics. Or, you can grab free stock photos here!

GLEAM

I used Gleam once for a giveaway, so it made sense not to continue paying for the service when I wasn’t using it. The awesome thing about Gleam is that you can change your plan any time you want so you have the flexibility to go from a free account when you’re not running a giveaway, to a pro account for the time that you are running a giveaway.

MY MONTHLY EXPENSES AFTER TESTING DATA

Total: $71

Woah! You’re looking a lot trimmer there expenses! I suppose that’s what happens when you save an extra $184 a month! So the question remains, what did I keep and why?

MAILCHIMP

Well this should be obvious. Having a mailing list is essential to your business, how else would you capture leads??? I use Mailchimp because it’s all I’ve known and it’s functional for what I need right now. But as my business continues to grow I know I will need more features that Mailchimp doesn’t provide, which is why I will move over to ConvertKit. So keep an eye out for that!

BOARDBOOSTER

As you saw, I receive the most traffic from Pinterest and so I have chosen to invest more time and energy into pinning more effectively to help my business thrive better. At this present moment, this is the only social media scheduler I pay for and for the other social media platforms I use free apps like IFTTT, Social Jukebox & Buffer.

DEADLINE FUNNEL + SENDOWL

Since I discovered I make 80-90% of my income from my own products, I started researching more about tripwire products and their effectiveness. So after having a good little chat with Summer Tanhauser from Lady Boss League, I decided to test out Deadline Funnel and use it with SendOwl to sell my tripwire product to everyone who subscribed to House of Brazen. My goal was to sell at least 7 tripwires to make back what would be my initial investment (you get free 30 day trials for Deadline Funnel & SendOwl). This would tell me whether it was viable or not and whether I’d continue selling my tripwire product for another 30 days. I sold 8, therefore chose to continue with it.

The important thing to note here is that nothing is definitive when it comes to building our businesses, we are always growing, learning and improving on what we are creating. Maybe I’ll reuse one of these trimmed services again, maybe not. The point is to keep on testing, keep on experimenting and keep on growing!

Now it’s your turn! In the comments let me know..

  1. Have you trimmed any expenses lately? If so, what were they and why?
  2. What investments do you believe are essential for your business?

Elise xo

  • About your tools I also used some of them. But now I’m using Revive Old Posts WP plugin (which is free but it cost $75 one time), BoardBooster for Pinterest, Mailerlite (for email marketing I think is even cheapier that Mailchimp) and I also purchase photos from Haute Chocolate :/ But I think maybe about canclation and making something which “stand out”. Do you using some app for Instagram? I’ve tried Onlypult which is great, has stats, following, comments, reposts and much more but I’m not sure which I needed. Do you know any tools for Instagram?

    • Hey Alex, these are great tools. As you know, I LOVE Boardbooster. I’ve tried using Revive Old Posts but got fed up with it, so now I use Google Cal for all my tweets a FB posts. I haven’t heard of Mailerlite but that sounds great if it’s cheaper, I’m in the process of moving to ConvertKit. I cancelled my subscription to Haute Chocolate for the same reasons, so if that’s what you want go for it. I still think Rachel creates stunning images though!

      And I don’t currently use an app for instagram, but I’ve heard that Latergram and Hootsuite are great for it so check those out! 😀

      • Yes, Boardbooster is awesome tool 🙂 Google Calendar for tweets and FB posts how you do that? I have not heard about such a possibility. How it’s working? Do you use some plugin? I already test ConvertKit but for me is too much options for now I think.

        I think about something more unique for my Pinterest images but still Rachel has great photos 🙂 Thank you for Latergram I will try this tool 🙂