Our Journey to Profitability
For the past nine years, my wife and I have been self-employed! To top it off, we will have been married for twelve years next week and to celebrate, we’re having a baby.
In our time together, we have started two businesses from scratch and helped dozens of individuals and small businesses build their brands, launch their websites, and expand their reach. With the Lord's help we have successfully kept eight children alive and our marriage from falling apart at the seams all while homeschooling. We're probably crazy. Running a business with your spouse is no joke.
Since 2013, we've worked directly with our clients to ensure their businesses are viable from the start. From establishing pricing to creating a target profile, we've helped build businesses from a kitchen table napkin-scratch idea to sustainable models with millions of dollars in assets. We personally aren't that cool, but our clients sure are!
For the past year, we've devoted 50% of our efforts towards one business we're currently consulting. Our main goal: long-term viability.
Pricing for profit is one of the most important pieces of a business plan. How do you know how to price your goods or services? Are you just getting started and you're not sure what your time or talent is worth? We get it. For two years before we went full-time, we did photoshoots, logos, and websites for free or next to nothing. We hustled, bootstrapped and drank a ton of coffee and Redbull. We were just students in college and parents of suicidal toddlers trying to navigate adulting and the intentionally convoluted system of student loans and personal finance. Thank God we had computers that worked (sometimes) and a reliable internet connection. We realize that not everyone has those luxuries.
After losing my job, I knew I needed to take the leap. I could either continue to make $7/hr supporting three kids and a wife at the age of 23 and never leave my father-in-law's basement or I needed to actually start a business and run it like it was a business, not a hobby. What does LLC stand for again?
I learned everything I could; Youtube, blogs, forums, and yes, even books! This was before the age of online courses and shortcuts. Nine years ago feels like ages in the virtual sense. Does anyone else feel like they've spent a decade in front of a screen?
I enrolled in an online business school after earning an Associates Degree and graduated two years later with High Distinction. Whatever that means!? I spent hundreds of hours in front of a computer or with my nose in a book while my wife worked nights and I stayed home trying to be present with my children. I failed. All I ever wanted was to be a good father and husband, but I wasn't sure how I could create a version of a life I grew up in. How do you give your children a life better than the one you had or at least of a similar caliber. My parents made $24,000 a year and we went without healthcare our entire lives. I kept all my teeth and only have one broken bone, which my parents paid for out of pocket. It can be done.
All I knew was I wanted to be around my kids and not have to outsource the job I felt called to do. Maybe you're of a similar mindset or you just want to pay off your student loans or leave your desk job. No one was made for a cubicle, but I assure you, we were made for work! And our work can be glorious and fulfilling, but you will never get to where you need to be if you're not pricing for a sustainable wage and you certainly won't get there continuing to dream without taking the next step.
How many widgets would you need to sell to pay all your bills and still earn a living? What about insurance, chamber fees, licenses, accountants, a storefront!? You don't have to leave your main job until you have it all figured out, but in the meantime, are you undercutting your own value and or industry?
If you're not sure and numbers give you anxiety, you're not alone. For many of us, we're good at a couple of things, but that doesn't mean you have to GOOD at everything. Proficient is okay. It has taken us over a decade of both parenting and entrepreneurship to figuring out and we're still learning. Thankfully, you don't have to be perfect to be profitable and you don't have to do everything yourself!
Within just two years of owning our own business, we were able to buy our first home and then started a second business with the help of a local grant competition. In a few short years, we were able to flip that home and upgrade for our growing family. We're now student debt-free and working towards 100% debt free by 40, but owning your own home is a whole new adventure we're still painfully enduring after one of the worst winters we've seen in decades, but that if for another time.
In short, don't make the same mistakes we did! We've worked harder, not smarter for much of a decade and missed out on time we can't get back. Time truly is our greatest commodity.
We'd be happy to chat with you in our brand new studio about your hopes and dreams for the future! We started our business with a Best Buy credit card and a blog, but we can help you do one better.