Redefining “Need”

I spent more money this year on personal and business development than any other year I’ve been in business. I can justify it too – it’s been the best year I’ve ever had, both creatively and financially. 

However, when I went over my books this month, I realized I was way overspending in that category than anywhere else in my budget.

Going through purchase by purchase revealed that there was far too much in the moment spending that happened because of really great marketing and sales funnels. (I’m looking specifically at Self Publishing Formula (for Facebook and other ads for writers) and Sphere of Influence (email marketing and landing/sales page design). Don’t click those links if you don’t want to spend money…)

I was thinking through today how I wanted to change that in 2019. Not that I want or need to spend less, because these products will actually pay for themselves in just a few months time, but because I want to strengthen my impulse control and be less trigger happy when it comes to purchasing the next thing I’ve been convinced that I need.

That desire sparked a new paradigm that has already proven to work. 

If you own a lawn mowing business, you absolutely should buy a lawn mower. It’s very easy to quickly see how your productivity will increase by being able to mow more lawns faster than if you used a reel mower. There’s not really a question there. As much as it may be more expensive, you can pay it off really quickly. 

But – do you need the top of the line new mower? Do you need a new mower every year? Every six months? Do you have to get the riding lawn mower, or will a push mower be more cost effective?

If you’re a writer, you can certainly get by with a pencil and some paper. Doesn’t even have to be a nice pencil. But, how much more productive will you be with a laptop? Two times? Five or ten times?

This is where the new paradigm comes in for those of us who don’t have some CFO running the numbers on every single business decision.

Can you live or function without it?

If the answer is “yes”, then don’t buy it. Close the shopping cart tab on your browser, end the sales call, or leave the store. Simple as that. 

If the answer is “no”, then use whatever metrics you have in place to make sure it’s a responsible decision.

Will it help you make more money? Can it pay for itself in a reasonable amount of time? Does it make you more productive or efficient? However you measure those decisions, make sure to weigh out the pros and cons. Especially if you’re going to use debt to purchase it.

Is there a version of that thing that is cheaper but still gets you as much productivity or effectiveness as the top-of-the-line model? Most of us don’t need a maxed-out Macbook Pro, where an iPad or Macbook Air will do just fine. Just make sure it’s a Mac 😉

Be ruthless with yourself when asking this question. If there’s even a hint of hesitation, I’d say move along and come back another day. 

Today I closed another browser window, thanks to this new paradigm. I can function without it. Until it becomes something I can’t live or work without, I can do without.

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