As a teacher, one of the hardest things about growing an online business is making investments in your teacher business. You want to be a good steward (not frivolous) with the money you do have, but you also want to make sound business decisions.
While making your money stretch as far as possible is a good choice, there are going to be some non-negotiable expenditures. These investments will be well worth your time and money because they will set your business up for success.
So in this podcast episode, we are going to unpack 5 of the best investments you will want to make at the outset of your online business venture (even if you aren’t making any money yet) that will pay dividends in the long run.
Investments in Your Teacher Business That are Worth the Cost
1| Invest in a tax advisor
For me, taxes were (and kinda still are) the scariest part of starting my business. I was terrified that I would do something wrong and the IRS would come and beat my door down simply for forgetting to file a specific form.
But those fears are exactly why investing in a tax advisor as soon as you determine you want to have an online business is a wise decision. He or she can provide you with a wealth of information and answer any questions you might have while also giving you peace of mind.
Be sure to do your research and ask around in order to find a reputable tax advisor.
One of my favorite places to find trustworthy individuals who can assist with all kinds of the financial stuff is Ramsey Solutions. (I am in no way affiliated with them; I just appreciate what they do!) They have an entire section dedicated to taxes you can check out here.
The truth is, you will have lots of questions as a new business owner about taxes and that’s why having a tax advisor you can trust is so important. He or she will be able to alleviate a lot of your fears and concerns…especially if you get a random letter in the mail from the state department declaring you owe money!
So how much does a tax advisor cost?
Obviously, every tax advisor charges a different amount, and this number can fluctuate depending on your specific needs and state requirements. But you can expect to pay somewhere in the neighborhood of $150-$500 for a tax advisor.
Having someone who is able to answer your questions and help you understand why you need to do certain things is priceless and that’s why it is number one on this list of investments in your teacher business.
2| Invest in your education
As a business owner, it’s important that you become a lifelong learner. And since you probably don’t have a business degree (or even a business background), there will be MANY facets of your business you’ll have to learn along the way.
So, you should invest in your education; in other words, you need to spend money to make money. This is exactly what you did when you went to college. You spent money to learn all the things you needed to know for your future career and then you used that knowledge in your job.
Now, you’re spending money in order to learn a new part of your specific business.
But before you go off to buy 47 different courses, hear me out.
For you to grow as a business owner, you need to invest in one educational “thing” at a time. This was something that Nicki Dingraudo, from The Sprinkle Topped Teacher, and I spent some time talking about in Episode 12.
Nicki talked about her strategy for learning new aspects of her business. She purchases a course or class, applies everything she has learned upon mastering the skill, and then purchases another course or class. This allows her to optimize that specific facet of her business before moving on to something else.
The truth is, it’s easy to half-apply a lot of information because there’s just a lot to learn. Everything feels important and you always have that nagging feeling of “If I had already done…, I would be…” But the truth is, unless you go “all in” on each new concept, you’ll never maximize your knowledge and fully apply that new skill.
I say all of that because FOMO is real and most of us are highly susceptible to “shiny object syndrome.” We are so easily distracted from our path by the newest, latest, and greatest course we see pop up on social media. Don’t believe me?
Let’s take a closer look at how this tends to play out.
You’ve decided you’re going to spend the next few months focusing on how to grow your email list, but one day you see a great sale or special launch price for an amazing course about growing your social media following. You know you want to grow your social media following…so you buy the course.
No big deal…in fact, you’re quite proud of yourself because you’ve saved a ton of money by jumping on board during the early bird special pricing! And realistically, that was a good financial decision if you know for certain that social media is your next task to tackle.
But the problem arises when your curiosity gets the best of you.
You see, instead of putting the course into the line up of things to tackle next month or next quarter, you get curious. You start watching videos in the new social media course because you’re bored of email stuff and quite frankly, you want to do something different.
You’re intrigued and decide to just go ahead and start learning about social media. By shifting away from the email course before mastery, you have inevitably skipped the most foundational part…the application.
Trust me when I tell you this is REALLY easy to do.
I can tell you from personal experience this is not the best plan of attack. I’ve found myself guilty of hoarding courses and then bouncing back and forth between them instead of doing the hard work to apply what I’ve learned one course at a time.
This tendency has set me up for failure because I never got far enough in the application phase to find success. So now I’m going back to courses that I previously purchased in order to apply all of the information I never completely mastered in the first place.
Do yourself a favor and invest in quality courses, classes, memberships, or private coaching ONE AT A TIME and then apply everything you learn to your business before investing in another.
If you’re struggling with this and need a bit of guidance, I am happy to help! You can schedule a free 30 minute Zoom call with me by clicking here, and I can help you uncover your next best steps.
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Understanding where you are currently and how to get to the next level is crucial if you plan to leave the classroom. Let me give you personalized insight into your next best steps!
3| Invest in people you trust
This goes along with investing in your education, but you need to find one person you trust for each facet of your business and then turn to them when you need a course, a class, or more personalized coaching.
The hard part about this particular investment isn’t actually the money…it’s the fact that every single person on the Internet claims to be “the” person for whatever it is you need to learn.
And Heaven forbid if you get curious about someone and click on a Facebook ad…you’ll get ads from EVERYONE who claims to be an expert in that business category!
If you want to learn more about a specific aspect of your business, ask your online friends or other people in your niche who they go to or follow for information about that topic. Then do your research and determine if your personality lines up with the expert.
Be willing to look for others outside of the names given to you by others…even if you trust those individuals because the truth is, we don’t all connect with every teacher out there.
There are some truly amazing business people I don’t purchase from simply because we aren’t a good match. It doesn’t mean they aren’t qualified, it just means I don’t connect with how they teach or the message they send.
Remember, you get to decide who gets your money!! So find someone you trust who you feel has integrity. Then invest money in that person by way of courses, memberships, or coaching.
And, if you’re going to invest the money…do what they tell you to do! This is an important piece of the puzzle that tends to be neglected. Learning is important, but application is essential!
If you are willing to spend money to learn from someone, make sure you are gleaning all you can and then applying all of that information as soon as possible in order to see a return on your investments in your teacher business.
4| Invest in a lawyer or legal templates
The amazing thing about the Internet is just how much good information is available. However, the sinister flipside to that is the countless number of scam sites just looking for easy targets. Of course, because many of us don’t have a background in law, we can be deceived.
So it’s important to find a lawyer you can trust. While it is advisable for you to find a local lawyer to help you with certain aspects of your business, you can also find helpful information and legal templates for business use from lawyers online.
The way a legal template works is similar to a mad lib. The legal contract, agreement, or disclaimer is already written to comply with the law and then you simply fill in the blanks with your information. Easy peasy!
My friend, Andrea Vetter, is a mom to 4 kids, a small business owner, and lawyer in Kentucky. Her website, Your Entrepreneur School, houses a wealth of quality legal information as well as a variety of legal templates for your online business.
I purchase all of my legal templates from her because she has the utmost integrity and guides properly. Here are just a few of her awesome templates and tips…
- can file your own LLC, using legal templates.
Remember, you have the option to DIY your LLC, contracts, and agreements by simply purchasing templates. But you can (and may still want to) hire a lawyer in your state to ensure you’re meeting all of your state and local requirements.
Yes this is going to be money out of your pocket, but it will give you peace of mind knowing that you have done everything the right way from the beginning. But I would still suggest that you spend time learning about the law and how it affects you because knowledge truly is powerful.
5| Invest in a Premium Seller Account as a TpT Author
Making the investment to become a premium seller on TpT is vital to your long-term success on the Teachers Pay Teachers platform! It may seem silly to spend money when you haven’t made much yet, but just like with every other part of this podcast episode, we’re discussing investments you need to make at the beginning of your business journey.
So even though it costs you $59.95 per year, you will more than make up the amount you invested. As a premium seller, you take home a larger chunk of your earnings to the tune of 80% as opposed to 55% on a Basic Membership and you have access to features that are essential to your business like video upload, five times the product upload size, and a variety of premium marketing tools.
If you know you can make more than $60 per year, then this is a worthy investment for you regardless of where you are in your Teachers Pay Teachers journey.
Investing in your teacher business is difficult at any time, but it feels completely counterintuitive at the beginning of your entrepreneurial journey. Shouldn’t you be making money before you spend it?
Obviously, your goal is to make money, but just like we’ve discussed throughout this episode about investments in your teacher business, knowing which investments are necessary will help you make wise financial decisions today and every day for the rest of your business future.