If you work from home, then your overhead costs are already pretty low. With a home office you save on transportation, rent, and utilities, but when times are tough you may need to look for more creative ways to save. The trick is to cut costs without cutting corners.
Cost Saving Tip: Going paperless is more than a fad, it's good business sense.
In the end, you do have to spend money to make money, but when you're a solopreneur, every penny counts. The more cash you can save by eliminating or reducing unnecessary expenses such as office space, equipment, and supplies the better your chances of surviving any economic storm.
Accounting: Save by Spending?
You wouldn't operate on a patient without an X-ray, right? Well, before you start to trim your budgetary fat, make sure you have a clear picture of your finances. If you're handy with spreadsheets, then you can build a budget and keep track of your spending for free with Google Docs. If you want something a bit more professional, small business accounting software, such as QuickBooks, is affordable and relatively simple to use.
If you feel overwhelmed by all the numbers, then consider hiring a tax professional. I know what you're thinking: Why would I pay an accountant? Aren't I trying to save money? But splurging on a CPA can save you money in the long run. Even the lowliest tax hack at H&R Block is sure to find a few deductions you've overlooked.
And beyond your refund, tax professionals generally accept responsibility for any penalties or interest that results from filing errors or omissions. Anyone who's ever faced an audit can assure you: it is well worth it. Yes, you can save a couple bucks by filing yourself, put it's hard to put a price on piece of mind.
Go Green During Self-Employment
Going paperless is more than a fad, it's good business sense. Cut down on costs, eliminate clutter, and take advantage of an opportunity to promote your business's commitment to the environment.
The first and most important step is buying an external hard drive. This is essential: until you've backed up every file, stay away from the shredder. Next, get rid of those messy and expensive ink cartridges. Sell your printer and your fax machine on Craigslist, use the money to invest in a high quality scanner.
If you are paying contractors or billing clients through the post, then consider switching over to e-billing.
Networking Will Save You Money
The cost of acquiring new customers or clients can quickly drain any advertising budget if left unchecked. This is where it pays to network, and network well. Relationship building is easier than ever. Through social media and word of mouth you could have a thriving network of referral building opportunities at your fingertips.
As long as you keep your focus on providing value to those closest around you, the time and energy spent on networking can far outweigh any money spent on advertising.
Recycle & Reuse
When you need office supplies or new equipment, don't overlook local secondhand stores. You may be surprised at what you find. If you don't want to spend time searching out stores, take your search online with Craigslist or eBay. Chances are you will find something suitable for your needs at a fraction of the cost. You can also double your savings and reap both sides of the benefits of sites like Craigslist. Take inventory and sell what you're not using or don't need anymore.