The drawbacks of being stingy in your business
One of the strangest things that I discovered as I went out into the world to make money, is that I needed money to start out. That is, I had to invest in certain things before I could look for a job, or go into business. I had to invest in clothes for job interviews, and in my freelance business I had to invest in the tools of the trade. I've been doing this for a long time now, and I have to admit it still hurts a bit, as my midwestern background has made me careful with money.
Being careful with money, and knowing value, however, is different from being just plain stingy. I know people who seem to be actually in pain every time they're spending money and think that maybe they could save a buck or two. And I've know people who are so cheap that they won't use something after they buy it for fear of wearing it out. I've known people who won't take the plastic cover off of the face of their phone, people who wouldn't think of going out for a meal at a restaurant without a coupon, and people who refuse to read the newspaper because it will wear out their glasses. The list goes on, I'm sure you can think of more.
I like to encourage people to go into business for themselves, or to improve their life by maybe getting a better job. But I can tell by listening to them if they're going to undermine their own success by being stingy. Of course, I'd never say anything to them, so I'm going to say it here. And no, if you think I'm writing this about you, I'm not - I'm writing this about someone else. But you can look over my shoulder if you want to.
I've been in the business of Graphic Design since before the invention of desktop publishing. That is, I started out with a drawing board, and a T-square. And you'd better believe that I had absolutely the best. I wasn't using an old crooked T-square that I found somewhere - mine was stainless steel, and razor sharp. I still have it, hanging in my garage. I worked with pen and ink - the very best I could find, and always on Duralene. And when I moved over to computers, I invested in a Mac. And every few years I upgrade to the very best. The software I use is Adobe Creative Cloud, which costs me money. I have the very best high-speed internet, I have an iPhone. I'm in business, and I never liked trying to struggle with cutting corners.
If that's not you, I understand. And I'm not saying that you won't be successful with your stingy attitude. Maybe that old phone that you got on sale will work OK, maybe the computer that you haven't updated since the Bush administration (and I mean the first one) will be fine. But chances are you'll spend a huge amount of time fighting with all of that stuff, instead of getting the job done.
This is what I recommend: leave being stingy to someone else. When your competitor is unable to do the job, be there ahead of them. Respond with lightning speed, make your tools King Arthur's Excalibur, or Thor's hammer. They won't come cheap, but then neither should you.
Posted by Brad Hall