Worth the Money?

As a businesswoman, I have to decide what’s worth paying for and what isn’t. Anyone in business is barraged with opportunities to purchase software, gadgets, and all sorts of pretty office supplies in cool shapes in colors. High heeled shoe tape dispenser, anyone?

Well, okay, no office supply store I know of is giving away tape dispensers so you have to buy those. But what about other options, when something useful might be free, or you can buy an upgraded version?

One program I pay for is a database. I have so many contacts if this were 1980 I’d probably need three giant Rolodex files to keep them all. And I’d have to update them by hand! My database has a free version, but I elect to pay for the upgrade. When I have an issue – which so far has only been once in several years — a person answered the phone. Imagine that! The technician stayed with me until all was well.

Anyone using a free version of anything knows you’re at the bottom of the heap when there’s trouble.  You may just have to try your luck on a “community board” on the internet and hope someone can help. Or if there’s a way to contact the company, it may take days to get a response when you’re not paying. I know this because I have free versions of some programs, too. For example, a free version of software I use on a secondary computer requires a lot of attention. You have to press buttons and do all the updates yourself. It works, but it takes more work from you. The paid version runs and you never have to think about it. Ever.

Shopping for apps? Do you choose the free version with lots of ads, or do you pay for an upgrade so you never have to see an ad on the app?

Sure, it would be cool to be Top Dog with every company, but it doesn’t take long for a bunch of small charges to add up to big bucks if you elect to buy professional versions of everything.

It all comes down to decisions. Where is the best place to spend the money you have budgeted for your business?


Your turn:

What business tools do you think are worth paying for?

Which tools do you think are great as freebies?



21 Responses to Worth the Money?

  1. Connie Stevens August 25, 2016 at 5:37 am #

    CARBONITE is worth every penny I pay them. I’ve had to use their back-up service three times–twice when my computer crashed, and once when I got a new computer and they downloaded all my backed up files from the cloud to my brand new hard drive. When I call them, a person in Maine (not overseas) answers the phone and walks me through the process. They also have discount deals–cheaper if I pay for two or three years at a time, and if I renew early, I get two months free. Carbonite is a tool for which I gladly pay.

  2. Jackie Layton August 25, 2016 at 6:09 am #

    Hi Tamela,

    I still try to go for the freebies because I’m not making any money yet. I paid for Scrivener, and I love it.

  3. Reba Cross Seals August 25, 2016 at 6:11 am #

    My “worth the money” computer aid is Carbonite. People lose, drop in the lake, break external drives, thumb drives, and hard copy. But Carbonite is always there in the cloud when I change computers, lose my data in a storm, or have my laptop stolen. Well worth the money.

    • Christine L. Henderson August 25, 2016 at 9:59 pm #

      Wow. I am not a fan of Carbonite. Yes, it does auto saves, but when I had a crash last year. It took 3 days to restore, because the program kept crashing that did the restore and I had to keep starting over.

  4. Reba Cross Seals August 25, 2016 at 6:15 am #

    Tamela, what database do you use?

  5. Sheri Dean Parmelee August 25, 2016 at 6:45 am #

    HI Tamela:
    Thanks for sharing your tips. I feel that a great website is worth the money, so I am in the process of having one professionally made. (It may go live while we are in Nashville! I am so excited!) I am also having a professional blog made- I believe that, if we want others to take us seriously, we have to take ourselves seriously and treat the whole writing experience as a business. On the other hand, I agree with you wholeheartedly that a high-heeled tape dispenser is not worth the investment! 🙂
    See you in Nashville!

    • Carol Ashby August 25, 2016 at 9:52 am #

      That’s probably true for most. I’m taking a stab at doing it myself using WordPress as my CMS (content management system) like 25% of commercial sites in the US do. I used to write html code a little over 20 years ago, so I’m a bit better prepared than most here to try this. I can look at site source code and see what themes are being used by ones I like. I’ve got WordPress for Dummies and Beginning HTML5 and CSS3 for Dummies to help me. A lot has changed in 20 years. CSS is for the cascading style sheets that control the appearance of the page and can be used to customize a preexisting WordPress theme if you really know what you’re doing (which I don’t yet). They also let it look different on a smart phone or a computer screen, i.e., make the theme responsive.
      Maybe in a week or so (after the site is up), folks here can tell me if my site is user friendly and inviting. I sure hope I don’t have to lay out cash to hire someone to do this. I’m not making any money yet, either.
      I’d appreciate prayers that I get it figured out fast and easily!

      • Tamela Hancock Murray August 25, 2016 at 12:27 pm #

        Carol, I’d be happy for you to post your link here. I’m not permitted by the site to post links, but I think you can.

        • Carol August 25, 2016 at 1:13 pm #

          Thanks! I think my name will become a clickable link as soon as I enter a website address when I post here. I’ll mention when that happens.

    • Tamela Hancock Murray August 25, 2016 at 12:24 pm #

      Sheri, I ended up cancelling my Nashville trip but I’m checking in from time to time here, though. I’ll miss seeing you!

      And yes, a wonderful web site is worth the money!

      • Tamela Hancock Murray August 25, 2016 at 12:26 pm #

        Oh, and yes, Sheri, a professional blog is also worth the investment.

  6. Jenny Burr August 25, 2016 at 7:47 am #

    Like Jackie, I still use the freebies because I am not making much money yet. When the time is right, I hope to make wise purchases.

    • Tamela Hancock Murray August 25, 2016 at 12:29 pm #

      Absolutely, Jenny! At least you now know a few “must have” items you’ll eventually need.

  7. Virginia Welch August 25, 2016 at 12:52 pm #

    Can’t imagine going back to life without Carbonite. Wish I’d had it last summer when all my business records were lost to a failed auxiliary drive. Once you set up Carbonite you forget all about it. As a backup to a backup, I also use a secondary auxiliary drive. But still, it’s Carbonite that I rely on the most. And I love being able to access all my documents from my phone or iPad when I’m away from my office. Worth every penny.

  8. Laura Bennet August 25, 2016 at 4:58 pm #

    Master Writer has been an invaluable tool for me.

  9. Daniel J. Parker August 25, 2016 at 7:15 pm #

    Prayer, prayer and more prayer is a great business tool.

  10. Katie Hart August 29, 2016 at 7:59 am #

    I use AppSumo for a lot of my software purchases. While they do offer mostly software from startup companies, they do have some great deals for established products as well. Last spring they had Scrivener half off.

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