A little over a year ago, I went through my credit card and PayPal statements and outlined all of the things I’d spent my money on over the previous 6 months. A lot of people really enjoyed that post so I thought I’d do it again this year.
(You can check out the original post here.)
In the content below, I go over pretty much all of my most significant business and personal expenses. Of course, there might be some things I miss. But I try to be as transparent as possible about what I pay for and why.
To organize the post, I broke my expenses down into the following seven categories:
- business investments
- mentors and consultants
- life/convenience investments
- other investments
- free tools
- things I used to pay for but don’t anymore
- tools I’d pay for if I didn’t have access to them
In no particular order…
Outsourcers and Upwork
I use outsourcers to help me with specific tasks, such as creating new designs, responding to emails, and tech support. I spend quite a bit of money on outsourcing. But, to me, it’s worth it.
To find outsourcers, I often go through my existing networks. For example, I’ve found a lot of fantastic outsourcers through people who’ve purchased the Low Hanging System. I’ve found some of my best workers through that course, including designers I’ve worked with to create designs for my Design Club. Other times, especially if I need to find someone quickly, I go to Upwork.
I also spend a lot of money on affiliate payments, but they’re a great thing to spend money on, in my opinion. Anyone who promotes my products, including the Low Hanging System and Jumpstart, earns a certain percentage.
My accountant says I have high software expenditures. But everything I have, I do use for a reason. You’ll learn about the specific software I use further down below.
As anyone who participates in LHS knows, you have to pay fees to Amazon, Etsy, and eBay in order to make sales using their platforms, so a significant amount of my spending goes toward that.
I hired a team to help run my Facebook ads. I have to pay for the actual ads as well, but I hired a team because Facebook ads aren’t my forte or something I enjoy.
StealthSeminar is something that helps run my webinars, and I have someone else who runs StealthSeminar for me. I would say that, overall, StealthSeminar has been pretty helpful, although it’s not really user intuitive. So I wouldn’t sign up for it if I didn’t have someone else running it for me. But since I do, it’s fine.
ManyChat is a service I use to talk with people who find my company via Facebook so I have customer support on that platform. I don’t know how easy or challenging ManyChat was to set up since a Facebook service did it for me, but using ManyChat once it’s been installed is fine. It’s been working well and I’ve been able to talk with people. I’m just not sure if it’s recouped any sales as of yet.
HelloSign is something I use when people sign up for Jumpstart, to make sure everyone feels comfortable sharing. I try to make it a safe space for everyone because I want everyone to prosper. So people sign contracts using Verisign when they first start using the program.
I use this website a lot with CustomHappy to hire new team members.
I finally decided to pay for an accounting service because people who are good at accounting are worth their weight in gold. They make life significantly easier. They help keep me on track, and I feel a lot more confident that everything is accurate. The service costs me $1,129 a month.
Dropbox is something that makes it super easy for my team and me to share files. We use it a lot with both of my companies, including the warehouse, and it’s great for hosting large volumes of documents and designs.
Brain.fm has great music that helps you focus, relax, or sleep. It’s engineered with different types of beats that are supposed to work well with your brain, and I use it often for focus. I think it’s very helpful and effective.
MerchantWords is really good for keyword research. I usually use SpotNiches, but if I need something in a pinch, it’s perfect.
I use My Fancy Hands to get both business- and life-related help. The service essentially serves as US-based virtual assistance and can help save you a lot of time. You can check out a blog post I created about the service here.
Evernote is incredible. I use this to document pretty much everything and stay organized. With Evernote, I create notebooks for all the different sections of my life.
For example, I have a notebook for the weekly email content I create. I have notebooks for the warehouse. I have notebooks for Amazon, eBay, and Etsy, and I have notebooks to keep track of things like different vendors’ pricing options.
Whenever I buy courses, I create notebooks for them. Then, I put my course notes inside Evernote so I can easily go through them when I go to my mentoring meetings.
Additionally, I have notebooks for personal things, including a health notebook, which I use to store any health-related information that I get from doctors.
There are so many things you can do with Evernote, and you can easily search to find what you’re looking for.
I’ve bought a lot of random things from AppSumo that have ended up being really helpful. If you’re not signed up, you might want to because you can get some really awesome things and some really good deals.
You just have to be careful to make sure you’re buying things you’re actually going to use because it’s easy to go crazy grabbing up all of the cool things that are available.
MeetEdgar is a tool I use to make sure I’m making the most of the content I create. Any time I create a blog post, I add the link to MeetEdgar so it gets posted to my Facebook fan page and Twitter account. I’m not exactly sure if there’s been an ROI from it. Nevertheless, I find it helpful and I at least feel better knowing my content isn’t being created and forgotten about.
I use Screencast and Screencastomatic to take pictures and record videos. It’s very easy to communicate things to my team using these tools — I even recorded dictating this blog post and then had it transcribed. Recording things like that is a lot easier and faster than typing.
I like to learn a lot. I love learning with non-fiction books and escaping with fiction books. Reading fiction can actually also help me business-wise to get out of my business mindset and just relax for a bit and think about something different. This form of escape often sparks good ideas for my businesses.
Whenever I’m driving to the warehouse, I listen to an audiobook, usually a non-fiction one.
I’ve been using Zaxaa for awhile. I use it for recurring sales and old affiliate links, although I also signed up for PayKickstart because it has more features and I’m not exactly sure how up-to-date Zaxaa is.
Zaxaa does do a good job, but I’ve heard rumors that Zaxaa isn’t putting a lot of effort into ongoing development. I’m just not sure how true or not that is. Nevertheless, I feel like PayKickstart will continually stay up-to-date, so I signed up for that as well and it’s been great.
Rev.com is a wonderful transcription service. Every week, we have Jumpstart calls, during which we do Q&As. These calls are also available via my individualized coaching. And after each call, I have them transcribed for people.
Another similar service that I want to explore more is Temi. One of my team members used this service once before to create a Jumpstart coaching transcript, and she said it was pretty decent. She’d rate it 3 out of 5 for the value she got. But depending on what you’re using the service for, you could get even better results. She said she was actually surprised at how good the transcription looked overall. So I just wanted to mention that.
I used to use GetResponse for my emails. I don’t really use it all that much anymore, but I’ve been still paying for it as a backup.
ConvertKit is what I use to send out my emails now. I think it’s a pretty good tool. It has great customer service.
I use this tool to automate certain processes and make them easier. The automations could be anything from copying my Google contacts into Evernote to logging all of my Etsy sales. To learn more about Zapier, click here.
I have weekly coaching calls with people who sign up for Jumpstart, and I use Go To Webinar to facilitate these calls. I also use GoToWebinar for general training calls sometimes.
I’m always investing in different training courses. I love to learn, so I like buying courses to learn new things. I’d say I’m pretty picky about the types of things I buy, though. So for other people, I recommend outlining a goal then making purchases accordingly.
I used to use LibSyn when I was doing my podcast regularly, which I would really love to start up again, as I’m still getting downloads every month.
I have two different companies. With Rachel Rofe Enterprises, I pay a bit of money to my CustomHappy business for fulfilling orders, and that’s where I do a lot of the testing in order to teach the Low Hanging System.
I’m trying to streamline hosting payments for the various websites I have. So I use places like LiquidWeb, along with a few others, to put everything into one particular hosting service. I’ve also looked into Amazon’s services, but I think they’re a bit scattered.
YouTube Premium used to be YouTube Red. It bypasses all of the ads with videos, which I prefer. And I love YouTube for learning. I pick up some really awesome information there. For example, I was recently interested in learning about stock options, so I watched a few quality YouTube videos and got a lot of information quickly.
I use Fiverr for a lot of random things, including getting help completing case studies.
Random coffee shops
I often find it easier to work in a coffee shop, as it’s nice to switch things up. I found a bunch of purchases on my credit card statements from the various coffee shops I go to.
I’m still paying for ClippingMagic, but there are many free alternatives. The tool erases backgrounds in photos so you can have a nice, transparent background.
Listing Mirror is supposed to sync your inventory in one place — so your inventory from Amazon, Etsy, eBay, and any other websites you have. You’re supposed to be able to make changes easily from one platform. It’s pretty pricey, though, and I don’t think the average person needs it. But if you have thousands of products across multiple platforms, it’s awesome for organizational purposes.
Mentors and consultants
I hired Randy as my mentor a few years ago to help me with my big-picture business goals. He’s very successful but also very heart-centered, a genuinely good person, and I learn a ton from him.
I work with Avoc at the warehouse. He’s an EOS consultant. Basically, he helps the warehouse team hold weekly meetings and keeps us all on track. He’s really great.
Doug is someone who worked at another company similar to CustomHappy. He no longer works there, but he gives me really great feedback on how to run CustomHappy.
Baby Bathwater Group
Baby Bathwater group is a group of great entrepreneurs that I’m a part of. The goal of being in the group is just to interact with like-minded people, and it’s really helpful if I’m having any business issues.
Outside of business expenses, travel is where most of my money goes. I believe travel is an investment in yourself, as you broaden your horizons and expand your world view anytime you travel someplace new and interact with new people.
With this service, every week, people come in and deliver fresh water to us so we don’t drink bottled water as much, which is terrible for the environment.
Instacart and Postmates are similar services. With Instacart, you can have items from Whole Foods and other grocery stores delivered to you, thus saving you quite a bit of time. And with Postmates, you can get food delivered to you from healthy restaurants.
At this time last year, I was paying to see a therapist weekly, which I thought was helpful, but I’ve since ended up doing something different. The weekly therapy sessions were okay, but I wasn’t getting the results I was hoping for long-term.
I’ve made a lot of random donations. I won’t list them all out, but they include GoFundMe, Oxfam, Charity Water, and other charities that tug on my heartstrings.
One other notable charity is World Vision. It’s religious, and while I’m not a religious person, I think the organization is great because I love the idea of sponsoring a child. You can communicate directly with your child via notes, gifts, etc., which I love.
Acorns is a cool investment tool that rounds up your purchases. So, for example, if you spend $9.88 on something, Acorns takes the other $0.12, saves it for you, and then invests the money it rounds up. It’s a cool way to save money without having to think about it.
I use Robinhood for my stocks. If you sign up, you get a free stock, so sign up if you’re based in the U.S. because that’s a great promotional offer. I prefer Robinhood over others tools because you get free trades. I also use eTrade for my Roth IRA.
WealthFront is amazing. It’s another way to invest money. I’ve had an over 30% ROI on the money I’ve put in there.
I have payments from my Crypto Membership to Coinbase, which I won’t go into in this post. But if you want to learn more, click here.
Trello is a tool I use to organize a lot of different thoughts. It’s how I formulate my weekly blog post ideas. I use it to communicate with the warehouse team. And it helps me organize lots of different products with people I’m working with. I have sections about things to talk about in my upcoming meetings, things to follow up on, tasks for people to do — that kind of thing.
IFTTT stands for If This, Then That. It’s just like Zapier (mentioned above) and it’s super helpful for finding a variety of different automations. You can learn more about IFTTT and how to use it here.
Google Photos is incredible. You can put all your photos in there and then organize by albums. You can also search by location, date, or even person. I’ve been slowly moving every picture I have to Google Photos because of that search feature alone. It’s really awesome.
There are some things I wish were a little easier, though. Sometimes, it takes longer than it should for certain things to happen. But overall, I think it’s very valuable even though some people have differing opinions about it.
I developed this for people in the Low Hanging System to be able to easily create more designs. Anyone can sign up for this.
Things I used to pay for but don’t anymore
I’m really disappointed to include this tool in this section. I’m technically still paying for it, but I’m going to cancel. The company changed a lot of the terms after I signed up. Plus, the customer service is lacking. And I feel the company has little integrity. There are multiple ways in which I feel it hasn’t been truthful, and I just don’t trust it anymore.
I haven’t been using this tool much so I recently canceled it. But if you want to sign up for a tool that does the same sort of thing as AMZ Tracker, I would choose JumpSend over AMZ Tracker at this point.
Less Accounting was a tool I used for automated accounting. But I found that it wasn’t as accurate as I would’ve liked. I feel my company’s too big for something like this now, so I hired an accounting team to help instead.
HaikuDeck is something I used to use for my courses. It makes PowerPoint slides super easily, which is useful if you create information products. I just don’t really have much use for it anymore so I canceled it.
I’m still paying for this, but I don’t find it to be intuitive so I’m planning on canceling, although I know a lot of people love it and get good leads from it.
Wistia is a tool that used to hold my videos. I canceled it, though, as I started using YouTube more instead. I think YouTube is a better platform to put vlog posts on since Google owns YouTube and likely rewards posts using YouTube over those using Wistia or Vimeo.
I just stopped using this. I’ve been using Zaxaa and PayKickstart, and we stopped doing Kinstant Formatter, so I no longer had a reason to use Nanacast
Bonanza was one of the marketplaces I used to get sales on. I felt like I wasn’t getting enough sales to justify the monthly fee, though, so I canceled it.
AdRoll is something I used to have in my Shopify store. It’s a retargeting platform. If someone’s shopping at your store and they don’t buy anything, it just keeps re-targeting. I just deleted AdRoll, though. I discovered it wasn’t earning me any money.
Barefoot Student is something I bought to see if it would be worth it. It gives you access to a bunch of different people looking for internships. I thought it would be valuable since the tool makes it seem as if there are lots of people available to work with you. However, many of the profiles are super old and no longer active. So I canceled this because I got no value from it.
I got Trendosaur to see if I could find new product ideas for my warehouse or new design ideas for the Low Hanging System. But I found that I just wasn’t using it.
I ended up not working with a trainer because I developed a bunch of hormonal issues so I canceled this a few months ago. But maybe I’ll sign up to work with a personal trainer for weightlifting or something. We’ll see.
Tools I’d pay for if I didn’t have access to them
I’ve heard a lot of people say this platform out-converts Shopify by a lot. I’ve also heard you can make a lot more sales with GBPro than Shopify.
SpotNiches is something I own. And I would absolutely pay for SpotNiches if I didn’t own it because it’s super valuable in terms of finding profitable niches for the Low Hanging System. It’s just an awesome tool that I constantly use to find the best designs and get competitive keywords.
Well, that’s pretty much all the tools I can think of to report on. Now, I’d love to hear what YOU think of this list…
Have you tried any of these tools before? Are there any tools that you use in your business or personal life that you could recommend? Please leave a comment below and let me know! Also, if you enjoyed this post, please consider sharing it with your friends.