I am always grateful that I run an online business, and one that's wholly digital. Somewhere along the way, when the business started growing and I needed more than one pair of hands to make things happen, I started foraying into the magical world of apps and resources that allowed me to do things faster and better and easier... for free. I love the generosity of these app creators and the free accounts have really helped me when my business wasn't quite ready to pay for help. But as time wore on, I became so comfortable and accustomed to paying close to nothing in my business that taking the step into paid services felt unneeded.
As legacy entrepreneurs, we know that there's a time and season for everything, right? So if you're in the season that requires the free accounts, that's great -- we've all been there, and some free accounts are amazing. But when the time comes to leap to not necessarily solve an imminent problem but to make your life easier and better or to grow your business, we need to be able to transition to that season.
So I wanted to talk to you today about when free stops being good enough and when it's time to upgrade to a paid plan (for any service or app)!
You're ready to upgrade when...
1. You're doing more manual work than you should.
These apps and services are there to help make our lives easier, so when they've stopped doing that 100% and some of the work falls back to you, it's probably time to assess if the paid plan will work for you. Take a look at all the free plans you are on, and see if (1) you require all of them, and (2) they are working well for you. I say working well as in, it should be literally helping you make a process simpler or eradicate a recurring task from your to-do list for real. If it falls into the in-between and helps just a little, maybe the paid plan will be more suitable for your new season or maybe a new app would help better altogether.
Remember, a business with legacy is all about FOCUS and SIMPLICITY, and that means not making things harder than it needs to be. Pick an app and plan that makes this simpler, not harder.
2. You're ready to level up in some form in your business.
This is a biggie for me -- every time I've upgraded to a paid plan or service, my mindset and feelings towards my business can drastically change in that area. Every time I feel a bit of growing pain in my business and discomfort, I know it's time to stretch and move and grow. This happened when I knew the problem with sales in my business was due to me not picking up the phone and getting on more client calls, so when I committed to ScheduleOnce earlier this year, it really helped me frame my mind to be prepared for client calls and clinching deals. It happened again when I craved more connection with my subscribers and I was running into problems with MailChimp -- I jumped right into Campaign Monitor and felt more ownership in content marketing. This is happening again as I'm growing my clientele and waiting list -- I am getting geared up to upgrade to Active Campaign's Plus plan with Customer Relationship Management (CRM) built-in so that I can always stay top of mind and in touch with my clients and prospects.
It goes back to FOCUS -- is this an aspect of your business that you've been trying to grow into, or have felt discomfort in? We grow the most in discomfort (I am living and breathing proof of that!) and shining the spotlight on this aspect and upgrading into a paid plan can really help you give more energy and attention to that aspect. Do one thing, and one thing well. How can the paid plan help you grow into this area better?
For the longest time, I've felt a lot of resistance in paying for subscription plans to paid apps and services -- it just felt like I was paying for something that could very well be free, or that the free plan wouldn't be too far away from. But every single time I committed to upgrading and then learning the features for the new app, I've only felt more improvement and growth in my business than before.
Have you felt the same way? Let me know if these two simple "checklist items" help you decide if it's time for you to move on up or stay here for right now. I've yet to make an upgrade I regretted, and even then, I could just stop the subscription immediately or ask for a refund (if the digital product is covered by a money-back guarantee)!
Share with me and let me know when has free stopped being good enough for your business and how you've grown into the paid plans!