- Tori Dunlap started her financial advice blog with $40 and grew to $4 million in revenue last year.
- Today, she teaches clients how to invest, save money, and build their own startups.
- She shares the most important investments for any londonbusinessblog.com and what founders should avoid.
This article originally appeared on Business Insider.
Tori Dunlap started her business as hustle in 2016 with just $40. Last year, her company posted $4 million in revenue.
Dunlap scaled the $100,000 multimedia platform Her First into a podcast, a book and more than 2 million social media followers. Through her financial advice platform, Dunlap shares her guidelines for investing, saving money and building a business.
Speaking to Insider, Dunlap shared the top business investments she’s made and what founders should avoid. This is an as-told-to story based on an interview with Dunlap. It has been edited for length and clarity.
Lead a lean team until it is no longer necessary
I started the business with very little money, just $20 for the website and $20 for the domain. Those low start-up costs were critical to the business, especially since it was a side business to begin with.
Sometimes new founders try to take on too many expenses at once, which can drain your finances. Whether buying brand new equipment to launch or investing in too much advertising before the business concept is proven, founders need to keep it as lean as possible until their company makes money.
Most of my investments in the first few years were in the form of time and energy.
People are the most important investment
Although I started the company on my own, outsourcing tasks and adding people to the team has been the best investment I’ve ever made. In fact, the moment I could outsource, I did: I hired my first freelancer when the blog was a side business.
They only worked about five hours a week and I couldn’t pay them much because the company didn’t make much. But if I wanted it to grow beyond a side gig, I knew I needed the help.
The first tasks I outsourced were email marketing, graphic design, Instagram posting, and calendar management. I realized that anything that didn’t require me to be physically present could be outsourced to save time and energy.
I get a lot of messages from other entrepreneurs asking how I could trust others to help me build my business. There are great people out there with many different skills and strengths, so I gave up control because I realized I couldn’t do everything alone.
If you can afford to hire someone and you can’t, you’re actively holding back your business.
Investing in trends can be a waste of money
Dunlap invested in her podcast after her audience showed interest. Thanks to Dunlop
Founders should remember their core goals when making financial decisions or investments. Determine your own priorities and determine your finances in that way.
I often see founders taking on too many expensive new ventures. For example, it’s very tempting to go all in on creative projects, like a podcast or a YouTube show. But make sure that whatever you invest in actually helps you achieve those core goals.
It can be a waste of money if you pay for something just because other business owners are doing it.
So many people want to become entrepreneurs because they look up to other founders online. Social media can make it seem like you need to buy the latest equipment, tools, or products or invest in new branding or expensive marketing tactics. But founders should take a look at their books and determine whether money is being spent to keep up with a trend or someone else’s business model.
Instead, think about the long-term effects of how that new venture or product will make you money in return.