Spending money on your business isn’t always a bad thing. In some cases, it may be an investment that helps you bring in more revenue.
Still, there’s a fine line between investing in your design business and making frivolous purchases. The latter could be disastrous. Factors such as a tight economy, geopolitical upheaval, or a pandemic make the practice even riskier. Thus, if your ideal company car is a Porsche, you might want to consider scaling back.
The good news is that our industry is one where it’s possible to operate on the cheap. Sure, there are high-end apps and hardware. But they’re not necessities. And in many instances, they’re overkill.
You don’t have to be a big spender to have a successful design business. Today, we’ll share some ideas for cutting corners while still maintaining quality. Your savings account will thank you!
Reassess Your Needs
First, let’s consider a deceptively difficult question: what do you actually need to run your business?
On the surface, it’s easy to say that we need a specific product or service to do our job. But sometimes those items are more of a want. Yes, it would be nice to have that 40-inch monitor. It may even make you more productive. Yet it isn’t a requirement.
When you can discern between a true need and something that would be beneficial, you’re on the path to running your business on the cheap. Electricity is something you need. That luxurious office chair probably isn’t.
That isn’t to say you should never give in to the “wants” on your list. If a particular item has a reasonable cost and will make you money in the long run, it might be worth the splurge. The same goes for items that promote better health.
But having the critical thinking skills to make good decisions will ensure that you have what you need – and perhaps a bit more.
Get the Most Out of Your Hardware
Buying hardware is a major expense. And the COVID-19 pandemic made things even worse, as supply shortages led to sky-high prices for components such as video cards.
If your desktop or laptop device isn’t exceedingly old, it might be worth squeezing another year out of it. This is especially so if your everyday apps run at an acceptable speed.
What’s more, there’s always the possibility of making a key upgrade or two. For example, adding more memory or high-performance storage could extend your computer’s useful life even further. Both can be done at a fairly reasonable price when compared with buying a completely new setup.
While it’s nice to have the latest hardware, it’s also entirely possible to get by with what you already have.
Use Free Apps When Possible
There are several niche apps targeted at designers and developers. And their costs can add up quickly.
The shift towards subscription-based software doesn’t help matters. Buying in puts you on the hook for significant yearly licensing fees. Plus, choosing not to renew often means losing access to the app.
Thankfully, the open-source movement has created some outstanding free alternatives. They’re often similar to commercial behemoths in terms of basic functionality. Sure, you may be missing a few fancy options. But if they aren’t necessary for your job, there’s no reason to part with your hard-earned cash.
For instance, you don’t need to drop a week’s pay on that commercial office suite when Libre Office essentially does the same thing. And if you need a photo editor, GIMP may have enough features to help you get the job done.
There’s also a tie-in when it comes to using your existing hardware. Opting for Linux instead of Windows or macOS not only saves money, but it may also run faster on your legacy processor.
Even better is that any savings you get from using free software can be applied towards the cost of the commercial apps you need.
Go Bargain Hunting
Be it hardware, software, or services, prices can fluctuate quite a bit throughout the year. What costs $200 in May might set you back only $150 in December.
The obvious times for sales tend to come around the holidays. Black Friday is very much a worldwide phenomenon these days. But your locale may have other periods when good deals are available.
In addition, new product launches can also mean heavy discounts for the previous generation. When that new iPhone inevitably launches, the older models will come down in price. If you’re looking to upgrade, it’s worth considering the not-so-new version.
This can also work both ways, as a newly-released product or service might have a limited-time sale price. For instance, startup SaaS (software as a service) providers are often eager to get early adopters to sign up. As such, they’ll offer a much cheaper price for those who take the plunge.
All told, it’s worth keeping in mind that when you buy can make a significant difference. Jumping in at the right time is key to keeping costs low.
The Benefits of Being Cheap
Frugality isn’t always considered a good trait. We complain when clients do it. But under the right circumstances, being cheap can be an asset.
Besides, saving money in one area can provide an opportunity to “go big” elsewhere. It could be the difference between buying a low-end computer and one that has the latest features.
With that, cheapness doesn’t have to be an all-encompassing lifestyle. Just a strategy to keep your business healthy and strong.
- You Don’t Have to Be an Expert to Launch a Freelance Career
- Those Things That Can Come Back to Haunt Web Designers
- The Grumpy Designer Asks: Are You Tired?
- The Keys to Becoming a Self-Reliant Freelance Designer
- The Importance of Diversifying Your Client Roster
- Sifting Through Design Information Overload
- Is It Worth the Money? Making Wise Investments in Your Design Business
- Making Money with Open-Source Software: What’s Our Responsibility?
- Like It or Not, Being a Freelancer Means Making Decisions
- How Web Designers Working Remotely Can Thrive