I had a few skills that I felt were marketable and I launched my website with high hopes and the smallest budget any man or woman has ever started with: Zero.
I had nothing! I didn't have money to pay my electric bill so I sure didn't have money for investing into my business.
I figured I was building with 100% sweat equity.
I'm a hard worker and a pretty smart cookie so with time and effort I did build my business.
I gained a few clients, a few referrals and after six months of pure grunt effort I was making about $100 a month.
Don't laugh at my $100 a month, I was glad to get it! I had fallen into the work at home Mom online community and I spent a lot of time on message boards and discussion lists and I knew that there were hundreds of Moms trying to make an income from home who would throw a party if they made $100 in a month.
So I counted myself among the blessed.
I found a really good web host who provided me with inexpensive hosting that allowed me to host multiple domains - this was really key to my initial business growth because when I got an idea for another income opportunity I was able to go for it with only the cost of the domain name - and more sweat equity.
After six more months of hard labor I was making about $200 per month.
Again, don't you laugh! That was my goal to start with.
I had figured that if I could pull in $200 more per month, I could at least pay the bills.
But I was working about 25 hours a week and that comes out to about $2 per hour.
Yikes! I heard about others who were making much more than I and I started to hang out around them to try to learn what they were doing.
This was exciting, inspiring and frustrating.
Exciting because I wanted to earn more money desperately! Inspiring because it seemed that normal people just like me were making good money online.
Frustrating because they were all attributing their success to the purchase and consumption of Internet marketing information products.
Imagine yourself a fly on the wall on a message board and you're reading testimony after testimony about how someone had learned so much from so and so and they were now making $500, $1000 or even more a month from affiliate marketing.
Great! Sign me up! Then you click on the link and find out the ebook they're talking about is fifty bucks.
Well the heck with that, that's one fourth of my business income.
I need that money to pay my electric bill.
I can't afford that.
Goodness, why is it so expensive? Can't I learn this stuff somewhere for free? All of those thoughts went through my head and I set out to dig out this information for myself.
I scoured message boards, I read every article, I listened to every free teleseminar.
I spent hour after hour after hour hunting down information.
Then it slowly dawned on me..
I was investing an awful lot of my time into this quest for information.
I realized there are two ways you can invest in your business.
You can invest time or your can invest money.
And it doesn't take a whole lot of smarts to know that time takes longer.
I had just finished a big job and I had some cash in my PayPal account.
I bit my lip and sweated through the purchase of my first information product.
I bought the Super Affiliate Handbook by Rosalind Gardner.
I devoured it in a couple of hours and sat back to digest.
I was amazed at how much information it had packed into it and overwhelmed by the possibilities for applying it in my business.
I won't bore you with the details but since then I've spent close to a thousand dollars on information products, membership sites and business learning of one kind or another.
As I look back at my receipts for 2004 I am a little shocked at how much I did spend! Spending that money wasn't easy either.
$100 a pop for this or that when I would have much rather spent it on something else at the time is a sacrifice for this single Mom.
But it has been worth it.
I learned something valuable and made priceless connections with each expenditure.
I'm now earning more than $1000 per month from my home business.
That is 500% growth! I am still applying what I'm learning, I am still investing back a certain amount and still growing my income.
I've made such big strides in my personal finances that I am set to become debt free (not counting my house) by mid 2005.
I not only learned the value of investing money in business learning, I loosened up the purse strings on software, outsourcing and equipment investments that help make my work easier.
I have some friends that I've known since I first started my business.
They are still doing the same things they have always done and they are still earning the same amounts of money and they are still expressing their earnest desire to earn more.
Sadly, when I encourage them to invest in learning products they say the same thing I used to say.
(I need that money to pay my electric bill.
I can't afford that.
Goodness, why is it so expensive? Can't I learn this stuff somewhere for free?) I can honestly say now that I had a poverty mentality for a long time.
I was so used to not having enough, I was always consuming every penny I made.
It was just too scary to think of investing in my future.
What if it didn't pay off? That attitude will only keep you in poverty.
You must break out of that line of thinking! Earmark an amount to begin investing into your business learning.
If it's $25 a month, well then that's what you're going to start with.
If it can be more, great.
Then set apart a percentage of your business income for re-investing each month.
Be brave and make it a good amount.
Set aside some time each week to really focus in on studying and absorbing new information - both what you pay for and what you can find for free.
You can invest time or you can invest money.
You can invest both wisely or you can invest both foolishly.
Sadly the web is running wild with crazy get rich quick schemes and dishonest business people making crazy promises.
My advice to you is to find someone smart, successful and honest to mentor you.
Run every penny you spend past your mentor - they will help you make sure that you get the best bang for your buck.
If you will do this, you will learn more than you ever imagined and you will grow your business!