Episode 30. The 5 Best Investments I’ve Made in My Business
One of the most common pieces of advice you hear when starting a business is to “invest in yourself” or “invest in your business.” I completely agree, but not all investments are equal. I’ve made some investments that have massively improved my business, but I’ve also made some investments that bombed. It’s hard to know upfront what’s going to get you a return on your investment, grow your business, or improve your skills. I’m going to share the five best investments I’ve ever made in my business to give you an idea of what you can try yourself.
Listener shoutout: In a recent review, Aimee Cerka wrote, “Sam is amazing! I’ve been following her for years and it’s AMAZING to be able to listen on the go. She shares real, important info in a way that doesn’t put you to sleep—which legal can definitely do. Thank you for your training and insights Sam! I can run my business with peace now, knowing I’m covered on the legal front.”
If you’d like a shoutout (and a chance to win a $25 gift card), just leave a review on Apple Podcasts and send a screenshot of it to me on Instagram via DMs!
In this episode, you’ll hear…
- How to sift through personal investment opportunities
- The benefit of group business coaching programs
- Why you should invest in a copywriter (or learn to write copy yourself)
- The best tech investments I’ve made
- What Facebook ads did for my business
- Investing in relationships
If you’d like a shoutout (and a chance to win a $20 gift card), just leave a review on Apple Podcasts and send a screenshot of it to me on Instagram via DMs!
What investing in group coaching can do for your business
When I was just starting out, one of the biggest returns on investment I saw was in group coaching programs. While there can be a lot of value found in one-on-one coaching, group coaching offers the benefit of being able to learn from not just an expert, but the peers you’re working alongside as well. Being around other people who may be in different businesses but are all working on growing their business can also help you build your network and see different perspectives. And, just as important as learning what to do: you may learn from listening to others what you don’t want to do.
The power of potent copywriting
Whether you improve your own copywriting skills or hire a professional copywriter (or one and then the other), improving the sales copy of your business is crucial. The words you use and how you speak to your ideal customers can make or break whether or not they choose to do business with you. It’s a worthwhile investment of either your time or your money to make your copy pop. In fact, I personally recommend doing both – having your own copy skills level up will continue to serve you for years, and a dedicated expert will always be able to take things further when you have the money to invest.
How relationship investments pay dividends
Growing a team has completely transformed my business. I’ve had to grow as a businessperson, learning to be a leader instead of the sole operator of my business. I’ve worked hard to create a cohesive team that has similar values, and it’s been incredible to feel like I’m not alone and that there are other people who care about the business. If you’re looking to hire good people, look to referrals you trust first and foremost.
These are just a handful of the investments I’ve made in my business that have made a massive impact on its success. I hope this makes it easier for you to confidently invest in yourself and your business – as well as knowing where to start.
Listen to On Your Terms on your favorite podcast platform
Listen to the show on your favorite podcast player and be sure to follow, and leave a review to help introduce the show to more online business owners just like you!
Resources Discussed in This Episode
- Episode 26. Should You Really Run Facebook Ads? (Yes, But Here’s When)
- “Social Posts That Sell” Copywriting Course (affiliate link): https://samvanderwielen–christineblubaugh.thrivecart.com/social-posts-that-sell-samv/
- Free Copywriting Tips & Articles: https://copyhackers.com/category/copywriting/
- Business Coaching w/ Naomi: https://www.thelifestyleedit.com/programs/
- ATR-2100 and pop guard
- Mini Ring Light
If you’re ready to legally protect and grow your online business today, save your seat in my free workshop so you can learn how to take the simple legal steps to protect the business you’ve worked so hard to build. Click here to watch the free workshop so you can get legally legit right now!
Sam Vander Wielen: [00:00:00] Holy cannoli, I have got big news to share with you today. Listen closely if you’re way past due for legally legitimizing your online business, because this is for you. I’m hosting my very first live workshop of the year on Tuesday, February 15th, and Wednesday, February 16th at 1:00 PM Eastern, 10:00 AM Pacific to teach you how to get legally legit and make this your best business year yet, and I want you to sign up and join me there.
Sam Vander Wielen: [00:00:25] The workshop is called Five Steps to Legally Protect and Grow Your Online Business, and I’ll also answer your questions during the live legal Q&A at the end of the workshop. During the one hour workshop, you’ll learn how to form your business properly to be personally protected, what your website needs to be legally legit, how to properly work with people online, how to keep copycats away from your content, and the number one mindset shift that you’ve got to make to legitimize and grow your business this year.
Sam Vander Wielen: [00:00:50] I’ll teach you all that, plus you’ll get access to my legal knowledge during the Q&A at the end of my free one hour live legal workshop. Just head to samvanderwielen.com/oyt-live-workshop, drop your email address and name, and I’ll send you the link to join us live on February 15th or 16th at 1:00 PM Eastern, 10:00 AM Pacific for the live workshop and legal Q&A with me. If you can’t make it live, sign up anyway, because I’ll make sure you get the replay.
Sam Vander Wielen: [00:01:17] I’ll even be giving away some exciting prizes during the workshop, things like mics, cameras, Starbucks gift cards, and so much more for those who show up live, so make sure that you mark it on your calendar and clear your appointments after you sign up just so you can join us live. This is the best live event for you if you’re ready to legally legitimize your business, so head to samvanderwielen.com/oyt-live-workshop, and sign up to attend the live Five Steps to Legally Protect and Grow Your Online Business workshop and Q&A on February 15th or 16th now.
Sam Vander Wielen: [00:01:54] I have made some really good investments in my business and I’ve made some that burn, and I’m going to be sharing them all with you on today’s episode of On Your Terms. In case you’re new here, hey, there, I’m Sam Vander Wielen. Welcome to On Your Terms. I’m an attorney turned entrepreneur who helps online coaches and service providers legally protect and grow their businesses using my legal templates and my Ultimate Bundle.
Sam Vander Wielen: [00:02:15] So, I am so glad that you’re here, and if we were having coffee today, I would probably chat with you about how excited I am that tomorrow is my live legal workshop, my free legal workshop, Five Steps to Legally Protect and Grow Your Online Business. So, I’m hosting it live on February 15th and 16th. If you can’t make it live, sign up anyway, because you’ll get the replay. Don’t miss it.
Sam Vander Wielen: [00:02:36] If you’re listening to this after the live workshops, don’t worry, we’ll share a link below where you can watch it anyway. But you definitely want to come live if you can, because these are so much fun, you guys. I only do these maybe once or twice a year. I don’t know when or if I’ll do it again this year. So, if you’re thinking about joining, I would just sign up and come anyway. And we’re giving out like tons of prizes and giveaways, and we’re just making it really fun this year.
Sam Vander Wielen: [00:02:59] So, if we were having coffee, I would tell you, I’m getting ready for that, I’m really excited about it, I really like hosting these live workshops, I love teaching it. People always just get so much out of it and like share such positive feedback about it, so I’m really looking forward to it. But I would also tell you like human that it’s just a lot of work to put on this stuff and that when you guys see that I have a live workshop coming up or something like that, that’s something that we’ve been working on for like six months.
Sam Vander Wielen: [00:03:26] It’s like there are so many people involved. It’s not just me. There are like copywriters, and designers, and strategists, and like just so much. So, there’s a lot that goes into these, I find them a lot of fun, and I just hope that everybody comes tomorrow and Wednesday, and has a lot of fun, and enjoys it, and I hope to see you there. I’ll be there live, so I’ll be able to answer your questions. If you’ve ever had a question, if you’ve ever been listening to my podcast, and you’ve been like, "Dang, I wish I could ask her a question about that", come to the workshop, because I’ll answer it. So, I hope to see you there.
Sam Vander Wielen: [00:03:56] With that, I want to read you the review of the week this week. I’m so excited to shout out to Amy Serka, who’s an Ultimate Bundle member. She left a review for the podcast on Apple Podcasts and said, "Sam is amazing. I’ve been following her for years and it’s amazing to be able to listen on the go. She shares real important info in a way that doesn’t put you to sleep, which legal can definitely do. Thanks for your training and insights, Sam, I can run my business with peace now knowing I’m covered on the legal front."
Sam Vander Wielen: [00:04:24] And she’s @AmySerca on Instagram. We’ll link to her below. Thank you so much, Amy, for leaving that review. And if you want to leave a review of my show, On Your Terms, on Apple podcast, you’ll be entered to win a 25-dollar Starbucks gift card. We pick a new winner every single month. All you have to do is leave a review. I’ll announce the winner on the podcast and across social media. You’ll even get a shoutout here and we’ll tell you what to do when you’re the winner. So, head on over to Apple Podcasts, leave a review for the show, I can’t wait to shout you out in the future.
Sam Vander Wielen: [00:04:56] So, let’s talk investments, investment, investment, investment in your business. So, there’s so much to go over with this topic, but I know that you get a lot of stuff thrown your way, right? You get a lot of opportunities, let’s call them. People putting a lot of things in your face on Instagram and elsewhere, from programs to tools, to courses, to text stuff, like all the things, right?
Sam Vander Wielen: [00:05:21] And when you start your own business, I remember what it felt like in the beginning, a feeling like I was going to accumulate a Best Buy’s worth of stuff like in my office, and it was really hard to tell like, what am I supposed to buy now? What can I wait for? Like how do I know which one’s the right thing? How much money do I spend on this? And then, you layer on this whole like, do I buy a course? Do I invest in a business coach? Do I pay for this mastermind? Like there are just so many things being thrown our way, right?
Sam Vander Wielen: [00:05:21] And it’s really easy when you start an online business just to fall into the online business world, and then you’re kind of surrounded by it all the time, where you’re hearing about all these things, and maybe other people you’ve connected with an online business are also doing like a mastermind and all this kind of stuff. So, it just starts to become very prevalent and you constantly have FOMO, and you feel like you’re missing out, and you feel like it’s the reason why you’re not able to get ahead, because like you’re not in that course, or you didn’t take that coach’s program, or you don’t have that camera, or whatever, it’s really easy to start letting that stuff pile up.
Sam Vander Wielen: [00:06:22] And it is hard to know what’s important, and what can wait, and like how are you going to get your best return on investment? What are the things that you should be investing in that will actually help you grow your business or whatever the goal is? Right? There are other reasons to invest in things in your business other than just growing the business. Maybe it’s you want to improve your coaching skills or you want to work on some mindset thing that’s popping up for you.
Sam Vander Wielen: [00:06:45] There are lots and lots of different reasons, but it’s really hard to tell when you’re in it, what’s actually going to help and what doesn’t. And I have seen so many people over time who overinvest in their business, mostly overinvest their time, I think, like not only the time spent searching for all these things, considering all these things, like wondering, looking, searching whether or not you should be buying certain things, but then also spending your time in those programs, it turns out not to be that helpful.
Sam Vander Wielen: [00:07:14] And then, obviously, I’ve seen a lot of people over-invest their money when they purchase things that aren’t super helpful, and it ends up, I think, slowing down your business growth or development. And I want to help you today to try to like clear up some of the muck of like, what should I be investing in, I thought it would just be interesting to share with you what I think the five best investments that I’ve ever made in my business. And these are things that either helped me to become a better entrepreneur, a better leader of my business, a better legal educator, or a better like marketer, something like this that helped me to grow my business, to have less stress, maybe, all that kind of stuff.
Sam Vander Wielen: [00:07:54] So, I thought it’d be helpful to talk through these five things. Obviously, these are not the only five things you should invest in or the five things that necessarily might help you, but it might give you an idea of how to differentiate through some of these options that you have, because I know that you have a lot of them, and I know that a lot of people share with me that investing, whether it’s investing in the Ultimate Bundle, investing in legally protecting their business, investing in legal templates, it feels like a lot, and they’re like, "Oh, I don’t know. I don’t know if I should do this yet."
Sam Vander Wielen: [00:08:23] And so, I can tell you, for one, I have a special episode coming for you next week, February 21st. I have a really cool episode where I interview three Ultimate Bundle members. We’re going to talk to you about that, and like how they knew when they needed to invest in legal, and what they wish they could have gone back and done differently about getting the legal side of their business taken care of and all of that.
Sam Vander Wielen: [00:08:42] So, you’ll have that to look forward to for next week. But I can also just tell you after working with thousands and thousands of online coaches and service providers that you waiting to legally invest in your business or to like legally legitimize your business, however you do it, is not going to be a great growth strategy, because you’re never going to feel fully confident to grow your business until you know that you’ve got the like Ts crossed and Is dotted, right?
Sam Vander Wielen: [00:09:08] And what I see time and time again is that when you hold back on this part and it’s something that’s bothering you, if you’re somebody who feels like you always do things the right way, you’re scared that you’re going to get called out for doing something wrong, you’re afraid that you’ve accidentally done something wrong, or there’s something that you don’t know about the legal side of running your business that could get you in trouble, if you have that in the back of your mind, then you’re never going to fully like market your business, right?
Sam Vander Wielen: [00:09:34] You’re always going to run into this wall of like, "Well, I don’t want that many people in my program because that increases my risk. I don’t want to work with that many people. I don’t want that many eyeballs on my social media stuff." So, you’re always going to either consciously or subconsciously keep yourself a little smaller, a little quieter than you could if you don’t feel like you can really stand on that mountain top and scream, which is what you need to do in a crowded market, to be honest.
Sam Vander Wielen: [00:09:57] So, consider that as, tomorrow, on the 15th, you’re going to hear us start talking a lot about the Ultimate Bundle being on sale and there’s a big promotion going on with a lot of time-sensitive bonuses that you won’t see again. And as you’re thinking about that, if you have any questions, of course, DM on Instagram @SamVanderWielen, I’m happy to help. Listen to next week’s episode if you need to hear more from people who have actually gone through it on your side of things, but with that, I really want to get into the five best investments I think I’ve made as my business has grown.
Sam Vander Wielen: [00:10:27] So, the first best investment that I ever made in my business, and it comes with a big caveat, but hear me out, are the group programs or the business coaching programs that I invested in earlier on in my business. So, right now, I don’t work with anybody, I don’t have a business because I’m not in any programs. I tend to be somebody who likes to hire for very specific like questions or issues, like if I want to learn more about funnel strategy, I’ll like hire that person, and then work with them, and then I don’t work with anyone while I implement that person’s strategy, right?
Sam Vander Wielen: [00:11:01] So, that’s kind of my 2022, that’s basically been my way of operating for the last couple of years. But when I was starting my business, I think one of the best investments I made to help the business grow, to help me grow as an entrepreneur and especially as a marketer was joining group programs, because there was just something about being in that environment. I mean, one-to-one coaching is invaluable, it’s super helpful, right?
Sam Vander Wielen: [00:11:26] But I think the cool thing about some kind of group program or mastermind is that you’re going to be in the company of your peers and have an expert, and you’re going to learn from both, right? Because obviously, you learn a lot from the expert, from the business coach who’s hosting this program, but you’re also going to learn a lot from the way that other people are doing things, not in the copying sense, but I mean, you’ll be inspired by them, right?
Sam Vander Wielen: [00:11:49] You see what’s working for them and you get the benefit of kind of like drawing upon these other industries and these other people’s experiences. And I think that like I remember being in a group program where everybody came to it with such a different background, like people had been all different kinds of careers or had different like walks of life, and what they were bringing to this group program, and I used to just learn a lot through listening to them.
Sam Vander Wielen: [00:12:14] I also learned a lot through listening to them in terms of what I didn’t want to do, right? And it helped me to kind of chisel down and further define what I wanted to be and what I wanted to do as an entrepreneur, what I wanted the company values to stand for, because sometimes, when we aren’t really sure about those things and we hear somebody else tell us like, "You should do this, or you should do that, or it’s really popular right now to do this", that would actually trigger some sort of reaction in me to be like, no, actually, that’s not what I want to do.
Sam Vander Wielen: [00:12:44] And just in hearing somebody else say these kinds of things, it helped me to come to a decision that I probably wouldn’t have come to on my own. And it helped me to, I think, have the confidence to start to be more of myself, because so many people in the group program were doing so many different things and they were all successful, right? And everybody was doing it differently. So, I found that kind of environment really helpful.
Sam Vander Wielen: [00:13:06] I think that memberships and things like that can be helpful. It kind of depends on like who’s offering it and whether they’re still really highly involved. My friend, Naomi, I’ll share her membership program here, because I think that’s one where I know like she’s super hands-on, and you’re still getting a lot of access to the person who’s running it, and she has such like high level business knowledge, but it makes me a little more concerned when I see some people running memberships, where it’s like a mil, and they’re not really like involved, and it’s just kind of this like generic like you get monthly content and like you can post questions in the Facebook group, but then their like assistant is the one responding to you.
Sam Vander Wielen: [00:13:44] I don’t really think that’s helpful and what I worry about with those that they’re big time sucks. So, I would personally look at something that gave you this intimate group environment both filled with your peers, like depending on what you do, and I think it would be bonus brownie points if you could find something that had people who were a little bit outside of your industry. It was, I think, very helpful for me to have all these different kinds of businesses we had like in this one group program.
Sam Vander Wielen: [00:14:15] None of the programs, by the way, that I took in the beginning of my business exist anymore, and most of the people who ran them have like retired, so that’s why I’m not sharing names, because it wouldn’t help you anyway, then I haven’t taken them in years. So, I just want to tell you more of like the characteristics, and also, I find it really important that you actually find something that works for you and not just like, "Oh, did this group program, so I’m going to do it, because then that means I’ll be successful".
Sam Vander Wielen: [00:14:40] So, I think it’s important to learn more of like the ingredients of the successful program versus like just take this program, one size fits all. So, I think being in that group environment where there were other people doing other things was really helpful because one of the best things that I implemented years and years ago was to pull my head out of the clouds of the online business world and to start learning from other like areas of business, right?
Sam Vander Wielen: [00:15:08] So, like I started reading books that were by people who weren’t coaches, they weren’t online like business coaches or anything like this. Like they were CEOs. They were philosophers. They were like other types of business thinkers and innovators, because I wanted to get information that was unique, and innovative, and different than all the garble that we’re just getting constantly regurgitated and thrown at us.
Sam Vander Wielen: [00:15:33] It’s like all the like, "Be yourself, be unique, show up on Instagram", like it’s all just so basic and boring. And frankly, most people who are doing business coaching online don’t have any business experience. They have no point of reference other than possibly building like their own. Like some of them, it’s just like, "Oh, I built my own coaching business, so now, I teach other people how to do it". That doesn’t necessarily mean that you know anything about business.
Sam Vander Wielen: [00:15:59] You’re not going to be equipped to handle what happens when it comes to scaling, and leadership, and KPIs, and like understanding bottom line, and profit margins, and all of these things that start to come up as your business really grows, right? So, it’s more than just like aspirational marketing on Instagram. And I found like just taking these little tidbits and pieces from other people outside of our industry were super helpful.
Sam Vander Wielen: [00:16:23] So, being in this group program, if you find that would be helpful to you, do a business coaching program, I think like a business coaching program where you would be in a group, an intimate group, and maybe even have one-to-one or private access to the coach at some interval would be amazing. Like that would be probably the best case scenario so that you could go into those sessions with like very specific questions for that person and you could get out of it just the most that you could.
Sam Vander Wielen: [00:16:48] So, that’s what I have to say about kind of group programs and business coaching programs. I would pick quality over quantity, I’d put down the courses, put down all the cheapy, freebie like entry level. A lot of them are just not very helpful and I think you need to ask yourself if you’re implementing what you have already before you just go and collect another thing, right? So, this is like how I am with mugs.
Sam Vander Wielen: [00:17:11] I love mugs so much that I’ll be like, I’m not even using the ones that I have already, do I really need another mug? And then, I force myself to say, okay, if I get a new mug, that means I have to donate a certain number of other mugs. And when I’m not willing to give that up, I don’t get a new mug, right? Very similar here that if you’re already not using the courses you’re not implementing, if you haven’t nailed the strategies of those things that you have invested in already, then I think that’s a good sign that’s like you’re not ready to invest in something new.
Sam Vander Wielen: [00:17:38] That’s also why I like this quality over quantity approach, because you’re going to be able to dive deeper into something, and truly implement it and give it the time than it needs to marinate to see that if it works for you before you hop on to the next thing. I so often think that people in our industry just don’t give it enough time, right? We like hop, hop like to course program, coach.
Sam Vander Wielen: [00:17:58] It’s like you need to implement a system, and try it for at least 90 days, if not more, and track all of that in order to understand if this is actually like a causation issue, so—a correlation or causation issue. So, you need to know whether or not these strategies that you’re actually implementing from these people are even helping you. So, quality over quantity. I personally would look for the group environment. Don’t be afraid if it includes people who are a little different than you or doing things differently than you. I think that’s actually healthy.
Sam Vander Wielen: [00:18:28] The second best investment that I’ve made in my business is in copywriting, both in learning more about copywriting and improving my skills, and then in hiring out for copywriting. So, in terms of improving my own copywriting skills, the best investments that I’ve made on that side are that, for one, I’ve invested a lot of time in just practicing of like writing. Writing my email list every single week since 2016, never missing a week, right?
Sam Vander Wielen: [00:19:01] Whether I thought I had something to say or not, whether I thought it was a great email or not, I sent it every single week since 2016. So, practicing, I think that is a great investment of your time. I think that’s a great way to spend a lot of time in your business. When you have this kind of business, you have to know how to make your words speak to your ideal customer, and your words can make or break whether somebody feels connected to you, whether they think they see themselves in your language, and whether they feel like your offer is the right fit, whether they like your personality, because like maybe you’re just not letting them see your personality through your writing.
Sam Vander Wielen: [00:19:38] So, I feel like investing in that amount of time, and just practicing and strengthening those skills was just invaluable. I did purchase Marie Forleo’s and Laura Belgray’s course, The Copy Cure, which I think is really helpful if you’re literally just starting out with copy, and you’re starting out an online business, and you just kind of need an introduction to like the basic tips of like making copy about the other person, and some little tips and tricks about how to do that, and some tips and kind of like prompts for headlines, and subject lines, and how to structure emails, and things like this.
Sam Vander Wielen: [00:20:13] I think that kind of thing can be really helpful. My friend and one of my copywriters, Christine Blubaugh, she also has a course called Social Post that Sell, and that focuses more on the actual social post side of things, and helping you to write compelling and highly converting copy. So, I’ll link to all that stuff below, but those were the two things that I found were very helpful more on like the course side.
Sam Vander Wielen: [00:20:35] The other thing I would encourage you to do with copywriting kind of goes to like you investing your time and energy into like becoming a better copywriter, being more of a conversion copywriter, too, and storytelling copywriter is investing in any resources that you come across, or again, we can just be talking about investing time. It doesn’t mean you have to buy something. But there are certain like websites or books that you can find that have to do with certain types of copywriting, kind of depends on which part of your skill you want to strengthen.
Sam Vander Wielen: [00:21:04] Do you want to strengthen your storytelling? Do you want to strengthen persuasion? In the sales psychology side, there are different resources for different things. I’ll share some of my favorite links below and some of the websites that I know I go to every once in a while just to like read about some copywriting like tricks and some of the copywriting formulas. Like I use like the Problem-Agitate-Solution one.
Sam Vander Wielen: [00:21:25] And so, I read about some of those sometimes and try to like see how I can make that work for my own copywriting. But that’s kind of what I’ve done on like the courses, resources side of things. There are probably even better courses out there for people who want to learn how to strengthen copywriting skills for like larger projects of like book writing, and blog post writing, and all that kind of stuff, but those are just the ones that I’ve used and I’ve really liked, and I found really helpful.
Sam Vander Wielen: [00:21:52] In the other side of investing in copyrighting that has just been absolutely invaluable to my business has been hiring copywriters, professional copywriters once I could, right? So, this is not something I could do for the first several years of the business, but once I could, this was one of the best places my money went that got a huge return on my investment. So, I really focused on hiring for sales copy in my case, because I like to write and I was working a lot on the day-to-day copywriting, regular social polls, emails to my email list, nurture emails.
Sam Vander Wielen: [00:22:29] I felt more confident doing that myself because of how much time I had invested in practicing, and really trying to like hone in on my voice and my take on things. And then, obviously, with Christine’s program and stuff, it was helpful as well. But when it comes to sales copy and sales strategy, so I’m talking about like emails that you’re going to send out to your list when you’re running a promotion on something, like a sale, like a limited time thing, or launch, or something like that, that kind of copy is very influenced by both sales psychology, somebody heavily knowing your customer, your ideal customer, and their pain points, and their objections. That’s huge.
Sam Vander Wielen: [00:23:10] And then, also understanding what some of the trends are in online business or in the way that we all do business, right? So, they might be better suited to understand what some of the trends are with how people are interacting with emails right now, how people are responding to webinars, how people are interacting with bonuses and freebies, all these kinds of things.
Sam Vander Wielen: [00:23:30] So, when you hire a copywriter who’s a sales copywriter, that is more than just an investment in the copy itself. You tend to get their brain in terms of the strategy, a lot of the sales psychology, and then every sales copywriter that I’ve ever worked with has also done market research, competitor research, and customer interviews. And that has been very helpful because when my customers speak to my copywriter, for example, they share things.
Sam Vander Wielen: [00:23:58] I mean, first of all, she knows what questions to ask that like I wouldn’t even know what to ask in that way, especially, but they also share things with her that they wouldn’t necessarily share with me directly, right? Somebody might feel uncomfortable telling me that they were so scared about investing in the Ultimate Bundle, because it felt like a big investment for them, but they’ll tell my copywriter that, and then they’ll explain how they were able to get over that or what helped them make that decision and how much they’ve loved it ever since, right? And now, they wish they would have invested earlier.
Sam Vander Wielen: [00:24:26] But I can imagine, I understand, like I don’t know how comfortable I would be getting on a call with somebody being like, "Yeah, I was like terrified to buy your thing, because I thought it was super expensive at the time. Now, I’m happy, but I thought it was expensive." So, it’s really helpful to have that kind of like neutral third party who can ask them some things, and there might be some nuggets that come away from those conversations that you wouldn’t get otherwise.
Sam Vander Wielen: [00:24:48] Especially as your business grows, it’s not really on your radar anymore to like put aside time to be interviewing your clients at some intervals. So, the fact that like I have somebody who does that for me pretty much every quarter, and then I get those interviews, I get like all the kind of notes and downloads from those, I can listen to them, it’s super, super helpful. So, I would highly recommend investing in copywriting if and when you can.
Sam Vander Wielen: [00:25:12] If you’re not quite at the place yet where you could hire somebody to write out a copy, like a copywriting sequence for you of some sort, I would do the first part of what I said, and invest more of your time, and energy, and possibly some money in some of the resources to strengthen your copywriting skills. That, I just can’t even like stress this enough how important copywriting is to your online business.
Sam Vander Wielen: [00:25:31] You have to be a good writer. It has to be something that we have to keep working on. If it doesn’t come naturally to you, keep working at it, right? So, I say this as somebody who came to this industry as a lawyer who wrote in these like super stiff, formal ways, right? And I had to untangle all of that to start writing in the way that I would speak to normally or the way that you would all speak to each other normally.
Sam Vander Wielen: [00:25:57] If you were meeting with one of my other customers, and you guys were talking about like your difficulties and confusion around legally protecting your business, you would talk to each other a lot differently than I would talk to you about it. So, it has taken me a lot of time and effort. Don’t just think that like for other people, this stuff comes naturally, but not for you. It’s very like labor and time-intensive, and it’s something that I think that however long you’re in business, you’re going to be working on. It’s just as long as you have an online business, copywriting needs to be a skill that you’re continually strengthening in my humble opinion.
Sam Vander Wielen: [00:26:31] The third best investment that I’ve made in my business is just some basic media and tech tools that I want to share with you. So, I will admit, first and foremost, that I am really into tech stuff, and I’m very like into technology and innovation, and like ever since I was a kid, I always wanted like the new Tamagotchi, or like the new Game Boy, or the new whatever, I was like always into this stuff.
Sam Vander Wielen: [00:26:55] So, I recognize, first and foremost, that this is something that I prioritize, right? And also, that it inspires me to do this kind of work, to have pretty things, or to have things that work really well, or things that I’m just excited to use. And so, while all of these things aren’t necessarily necessary, I just think that they can help to elevate your business. And for me, they’ve been a great investment in my business because it’s made me more excited to show up, it’s made, I think, the quality of my content more professional, and that went a long way for me.
Sam Vander Wielen: [00:27:30] So, some of those things include a mic, for example. Now, the mic that I use is like, by far, not the most expensive mic. Like it’s funny because the mic that I see like everyone share about all the time and like that I feel is much more popular is actually like double the price, and apparently, it’s not nearly as good of quality. I’m only taking that from my guys at the podcasting agency that could tell me all the cool like sound and audio tips that I need.
Sam Vander Wielen: [00:27:56] And so, according to them and also according to me, I love my Audio-Technica mic. I have the ATR2100-USB. I’ll link to it in the show notes. But I have had this mic for like four years. It is, again, not the most expensive mic. Hopefully, you think the podcast sounds really good. And also, this is what I use for any other kind of audio that I need to record in the business. So, this was a mic that I bought very early on, didn’t have a lot of money in the business, but I knew that if I had really good sound quality when I was hosting back then like Facebook Lives, or doing workshops, or filming all the trainings for the Ultimate Bundle, I knew that would help me in the long run to just sound and look more professional, and I think that it was helpful.
Sam Vander Wielen: [00:28:38] So, if I was just going to take, if I was going to invest in anything with this kind of business, I would say a good mic. A good camera, whatever you use to do your photos, your video, whatever. So, if you use your phone, totally fine. 99% of the time, I use my phone or I use the built-in camera on my Mac, but whatever you’re using for your video and photo stuff in your business should be very high quality.
Sam Vander Wielen: [00:29:03] One of the best tips I can give you about using your phone is just make sure you always clean the camera lens on the back of your phone and on the front of your phone. I feel like, so often, people just don’t do that and you’ll be like shocked how much better your content will look for that. But otherwise, I don’t think you need to invest in like a fancy camera or any of that stuff.
Sam Vander Wielen: [00:29:23] I don’t even think you need like a webcam or anything unless the camera in your computer is not that great and you want to get a higher quality. But otherwise, honestly, I know, like with the Mac’s, the one that’s built into the Mac tends to be just as high of quality as like the external webcams, so I didn’t get a schmancy pants camera until about a month-and-a-half ago. I’m about five years, almost six years into business, and I just got a schmancy camera.
Sam Vander Wielen: [00:29:48] It took me like a month to figure out how to even like plug it in. So, it’s completely unnecessary, right? I could have kept doing what I’m doing already. Again, go back to the whole like interest in tech thing, but it is not necessary. What was more important was good quality sound, and then that I had something that had good quality for videos. So, for the first several years of my business, I just recorded all my trainings directly through my phone.
Sam Vander Wielen: [00:30:11] If you’re going to go that route, then the best investment you can make is in a little tripod, because then you have something that’ll hold it, right? And I can link to the tripod. I actually have two different ones that I recommend. One is like a small one that would go more on your desk for when you’re doing like Instagram Stories, or Lives, or maybe a video for your group, or something like this.
Sam Vander Wielen: [00:30:28] But then, I have, really, like a flexible, tall one that can go, like it can change height, and all shapes and angles, and all kinds of stuff. And I use that more for like filming Reels, and if I need to do some stand-up-type video, when I do my Facebook Ads, I use it for that. Both of them were really inexpensive, very accessible. I will link to both of those below. But if I were you, I would just make sure you have that good quality sound and video however you can best do that right now, but please do not think that you cannot produce good or high-quality content until you get a fancier anything.
Sam Vander Wielen: [00:31:02] You can do whatever you need to do in your business right now with what you’ve got, but as things change, and if and when it becomes available, those are the pieces I would invest in first before some of the other stuff. So, those were super helpful to me. I’m also going to link below, I just remembered, I have this little thing, it’s like $11, this little tiny circle ring light that clips onto your phone, or you can clip it onto your computer or iPad. And it’s really small.
Sam Vander Wielen: [00:31:28] It’s like the size of the palm of your hand. And it was, again, like 11 bucks. And that was such a great little investment in like putting together a very basic media package of sorts with having this mic, having a tripod, and then putting that little like ring clip on my phone or something. It makes the stories and everything look so much brighter. So, if you have like a darker space and you need more natural light, I’m definitely going to recommend this to you, so I’ll put it below.
Sam Vander Wielen: [00:31:55] So, the fourth investment that I’ve made in my business that I think was just so, so helpful was actually in Facebook Ads. So, if you haven’t already, I would definitely recommend going back and listening to Episode 26 of On Your Terms, where I talked about when to start using Facebook Ads, like why I waited so long, what I think you need to have in your business in order to successfully run Facebook Ads.
Sam Vander Wielen: [00:32:14] I talked about it all in that Episode 26. But I think that investing in Facebook Ads when I did, so again, you’re going to want to listen to that episode, not just saying to run out and invest in Facebook Ads, yeah, you got to listen to Episode 26, but when I did invest in them, that was a great decision for me. I mean, it helps with me being able to say this with hindsight that the ads worked really well and continue to work very well every day.
Sam Vander Wielen: [00:32:37] But I didn’t realize what the ads were actually going to do for me as a person and as the CEO of this business. So, allowing me to be able to take my foot off the gas a little bit, I was a content machine, I still kind of am a content machine, to be honest, but before that, I was even more of a content machine if you can believe it. I was doing a lot more what I would call like day-to-day, in-the-moment content of like Instagram Stories and trainings that would disappear right away, and Facebook’s like trainings, and Instagram Lives, and just kind of randomly posting, and scattered here and there.
Sam Vander Wielen: [00:33:13] And I thought that what was so cool about Facebook Ads that I never expected was that it allowed me to just focus on the highest quality pieces of content to slow down on the amount of content I was putting out and to instead focus on putting out pieces of content that I knew were going to be really helpful, because the ads were kind of filling the gaps for me in terms of top of mind awareness for my customers.
Sam Vander Wielen: [00:33:40] So, the ads were out there being shown to people who I would have to work my butt off to probably get in front of, or maybe given the algorithm, never get in front of, but with a little bit of ad money, I was able to get in front of those people, and it allowed me to turn inwards, and focus a bit more on actually growing my business and like really scaling it. And so, with the benefit of having ads running in the background to my freebie, and allowing people, and we also run, nurture like content ads that show people blog posts, and podcasts episodes, and things, I was able to focus on more of the strategy, right?
Sam Vander Wielen: [00:34:16] The high level like ideation and thinking about how I wanted to run a promo, and what I wanted it to look like, and serving my customers, creating new products, the things that were actually going to move my business forward. So, again, I only did this once like the business was really solid. I had the money to invest. It wouldn’t have affected the business if I lost all the money I did invest and my funnel was already working beautifully. And so, this was just like gasoline on a fire kind of thing, and it’s worked really well for me.
Sam Vander Wielen: [00:34:47] But that has been a great investment that I made. I don’t want you to be scared of running ads one day. I don’t want you to like think, I don’t know, because some people like take pride in like, "I never had to run ads". It’s like, that’s cool if that’s your choice, but like it doesn’t like make you better. I don’t know. There are a lot of good reasons for running ads, too, and yeah, I think it’s been a great investment for me. So, I would highly recommend going and listening to the episode if you want to learn more about ads.
Sam Vander Wielen: [00:35:13] Okay. Last but not least, the fifth best investment—this was in no order, I should have said that earlier. No particular order, but the fifth best investment that I made as my business guru was in people and relationships. So, on the people side, I want to say that growing a team has been just such an incredible experience, and I’ve been so lucky and fortunate to find these incredible people who, what that means to me is that they embody the company values, of being kind, and accessible, and down to Earth, and all of these things, and helpful, and smart, and driven.
Sam Vander Wielen: [00:35:48] So, it’s important to me that they embody those things, but it’s also been my experience so far, and I’ve been so fortunate that the people that I’ve worked with and hired have also been like the people who make you feel like they’ve got buy-in, like the people who make it feel like we’re all in this together. And at least for me, it’s been really important to have that kind of team like environment, that team mentality. It makes me feel really supported. It makes me feel like I’m not in this alone.
Sam Vander Wielen: [00:36:17] And I also like the fact that other people care about what happens around here other than just myself. So, running a business, especially of this size, by yourself is a very lonely thing to do. And so, it’s been just such a blessing to me to have other people on the team and to celebrate with, to convince with, to like just the whole thing. I just have been really happy about that. So, in terms of investing in people, what I would suggest to you is as much as possible, if you’re ready to hire a VA, or you need a copywriter, or whoever it is that you’re looking to hire, an OBM, in your business, I would encourage you, first and foremost, to like lean on referrals and references as much as possible.
Sam Vander Wielen: [00:37:00] I think some of the best people have come from like people who said, "Oh, I know somebody who’s actually looking or like my old assistant is actually looking", something like that. But one of the best people who works for me actually found through Instagram, I just searched, I couldn’t find anybody like her. I was looking for somebody very specific who do what she does. I couldn’t find anybody like her.
Sam Vander Wielen: [00:37:19] I searched for the term that I was looking for on Instagram, this just shows you like the power of good, like copywriting and stuff on Instagram, but I looked for her, I found her, when I went over to her profile, she had an active Instagram Story, I went over, kind of got a feel for like what she was up to, I read some of her recent posts, I really liked what she was talking about, I went to her website, it was really easy to navigate, and I reached out to her and set up an interview.
Sam Vander Wielen: [00:37:44] I had like no formal process at that point, nobody worked for me. I just went off of like, do I get a good feel? Do I feel like she’s somebody who could embody the company values? For me, it’s really important to feel like people want to grow with the business, because what can happen is that you’ll attract people who kind of treat you as like a layover. Like I get a lot of people who will say like, "Oh, I just want to learn from you. I just want to learn about business from you until I can like go and do it on my own."
Sam Vander Wielen: [00:38:09] And so, for me, it’s really important that I have people who are here for the long run and who want to grow with the company, as it is growing like so fast. So, that’s been really important to me. And I would tell you to not focus so much. I think whenever we’re looking for people in our business, we can get a little caught up, and I’m guilty of this, we get caught up on like, does this person already have the experience for like all these things, like a checklist of what I’m looking for?
Sam Vander Wielen: [00:38:36] And I think as your business gets bigger, that is really important in the sense that you need somebody who might have experience working for a business that’s even bigger than yours. But I would say in the beginning, as you’re like really building a team at the same time that you’re building your business, I think that you can actually focus a little bit more on someone’s potential and the capability, like does this person seem like the kind of person who is a self-starter, is a go-getter, likes to learn, has questions about this stuff, and goes and investigates, that doesn’t just be like, "Yeah, I thought that was weird or I wasn’t sure about that, so I dropped it".
Sam Vander Wielen: [00:39:10] You want the person who’s like, "Yeah, I thought that was weird, so I went and like read this article about it, and here’s what I found, and here’s how I think we should do this differently moving forward". You want that person, right? So, if the person has those characteristics, those qualities as a person, you can really develop them through your methods and your training, and you’re going to be learning how to become a leader through the process, is a difficult thing, I will tell you.
Sam Vander Wielen: [00:39:32] This has been like a whole new world, whole new challenge for me in the last year, is like I don’t know how to like run a whole company with all these people. Like I know how to market. I love to write. I obviously know the legal side. I know a thing or two about like scaling the business, but then when it came to like hiring for these roles and managers, and having people execute, and then like it’s a lot. It’s a lot, right?
Sam Vander Wielen: [00:39:57] So, you’re going to be learning alongside this, which is why you need people who are like kind of up for the challenge and not necessarily like the person who worked for the famous like entrepreneur before. Like you might not be able to get that person right now, and that’s okay. So, that’s what I would focus on when it comes to people. And in terms of relationships, also, one of the best investments I have made are with people in the industry who don’t do what I do, but people who have similar audiences, where I have organically developed connections and friendships with these people that is friendship first and just so happens to have benefits, where we’ll be like, "Hey, you should be on my podcast. Hey, you should come speak at my conference. Hey, you should be on my thing."
Sam Vander Wielen: [00:40:36] That has been really helpful because it’s just a natural fit of like, of course, I would have you on my podcast, we’re friends. So, I think investing time and energy, I think what people tend to do or the mistake people tend to make, they only make friends with other people who do exactly what they do. And if I were you, I’d spend my time like organically creating genuine connections, not like a, "Hey, girl, do you want to hear about my program?"
Sam Vander Wielen: [00:40:59] But I would create organic connections with people who are kind of peripheral to your industry. So, if you’re a health coach, maybe business coaches, career coaches, life coaches, dating coaches, like people who do something a little different, even somebody who like you’re a health coach, but they’re a fitness coach, like you might even be able to come up with like partnerships in the future.
Sam Vander Wielen: [00:41:18] I think that kind of stuff is super, super helpful, and I think you’ll just find that you make a lot of really good friends and it doesn’t matter to you, at all of you, if there was any tangible benefit to this relationship. The benefit is that you’re friends and that other stuff’s like whipped cream on top. So, I would encourage you to spend time. I don’t think that’s like not a business activity that is really helpful, and it’s going to make you a happier and healthier entrepreneur, which is way more important than how much revenue your business makes.
Sam Vander Wielen: [00:41:45] You need to keep your head on straight, somebody just to keep you grounded. You’re going to need somebody to call when you get your first nasty comment on Facebook Ads, just saying from experience, and you’re going to want those outlets, people who really understand. So, those are the top five best investments. I could tell you about all kinds of things I invested in, things that were great, not great, but those were like the top five. I hope there was something that stuck out to you as being helpful or I hope I helped you reach some sort of decision as to what you’re going to do.
Sam Vander Wielen: [00:42:13] I would love it, if you could, pop open after you were done listening to this up, pop open Instagram, send me a DM on Instagram @SamVanderWielen, and let me know what your best investment has been in your business, and let me know maybe one investment you’re either considering making or not making now that you’ve listened to this episode. I’d be so curious what you have to say. So, send me a DM on Instagram @SamVanderWielen.
Sam Vander Wielen: [00:42:39] Other than that, I just so appreciate you always listening to On Your Terms. I hope that this episode was helpful for you. Next week, February 21st, we’ll be chatting with three Ultimate Bundle members on the podcast, and I can’t wait to share those interviews with you. They were just so incredible for me, and I hope that they’ll be equally as impactful for you. So, until then, I’ll see you next week.
Sam Vander Wielen: [00:43:03] Thanks so much for listening to the On Your Terms podcast. Make sure to follow on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you like to listen to podcasts. You can also check out all of our podcast episodes, show notes, links, and more at samvanderwielen.com/podcast. You can learn more about legally protecting your business and take my free legal workshop, Five Steps to Legally Protect and Grow Your Online Business at samvanderwielen.com. And to stay connected and follow along, follow me on Instagram @SamVanderWielen and send me a DM to say hi.
Sam Vander Wielen: [00:43:42] Just remember that although I am an attorney, I am not your attorney, and I am not offering you legal advice in today’s episode. This episode and all of my episodes are informational and educational only. It is not a substitute for seeking out your own advice from your own lawyer. And please keep in mind that I can’t offer you legal advice, I don’t ever offer any legal services, but I think I offer some pretty good information.
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