9/22 Update: This project is now live at BuyMyFuture.com

Project Galaxy Expenses

*Updated as of 9/23/15

Today I want to pull back the curtain on the Project Galaxy expenses. I also want to share with you why I’m spending money on certain things and how I’m avoiding spending money on other things.

This is what I’m trying to avoid with this project.

Before I get started I want to preface this journal entry with this: I was awful at tracking project expenses a few years ago. And when I say awful, I mean I had no idea what I was doing and I didn’t track a single dime. Pretty dumb huh? Well unfortunately I’ve seen this same trend with a lot of entrepreneurs, creative professionals and small business owners over the years. Not only are we not taught how to run our businesses in the real world, but we certainly don’t learn how to track expenses in the digital time we live in. I’ve only learned through painstaking experience and mistakes.

If you’re reading this and just getting started with your business, please hire someone to help with your bookkeeping and accounting. You don’t have to spend an arm and a leg on these services. I would highly recommend checking out LessAccounting if you’re looking for an affordable software that can help you out (I am not getting paid to endorse them, I just know their software works well). Okay, moving on…

What am I spending money on?

I happily invest in my own projects. I believe in great design. I believe in easy to use and intuitive websites. And I am happy to pay to outsource my weaknesses (or things I simply don’t like working on).

Design and Branding: $105

$105?? How is that possible!? I am very fortunate to have picked a life partner who is supremely talented at pushing pixels around a computer screen. My girlfriend Caroline is doing all the website design and branding for Project Galaxy and it’s kick-ass so far! The $105 is not going to her, it was actually used to buy a few custom fonts.

I’d like to note that for my other projects where Caroline did not do the design work, design and branding was always one of my largest expenses.

Development: $3,400

Update 9/7/15: This budget is likely going to double due to added functionality and technical work.

I have yet to pay for any development work, but having built many websites and projects before, I know the going rate for what I’m having constructed. I’m trying my hardest to keep my budget to $3,000 (previously $1,500) which will include front end development, responsive web design, hooking up a payment processor, backend dashboard, simple CMS (WordPress), and a few other odds and ends. This is not an area I try to skimp on, but I do try to be conservative.

Project Galaxy Video: $2,200

For many of my previous projects I handled the video production work on my own. With Project Galaxy I knew I wanted to take this aspect of this project up a huge notch. Luckily I have friends who know people, so I was able to get a really really great price. Video production costs can get really high really quickly, so you have to be careful. I can’t wait to work on this video and will have more to share around September 10.

Copywriting: $800

This is another expense I wouldn’t normally incur, but as I mentioned in yesterday’s entry, I wanted to invest in the words that promoted Project Galaxy. Because I’m a master haggler (and because I had a friend make a recommendation) I was able to negotiate a lower rate for Hillary’s copywriting work. She told me this was her absolute minimum rate and that I was lucky to get it (I’ll take it!).

Terms and Conditions: $1,000

Some of my projects are crazier than others and this one is no exception. Because it’s a bit out there I needed to invest in some legalese to protect myself and the project going forward. This price included a few hours of legal work from my friend Ruth. She’s super fun to work with and makes legal stuff suck just a bit less (sorry Ruth, I just don’t love legal things and paperwork, you’re still awesome).

Miscellaneous: $200

This money includes things like domain registration (I use Google Domains), website hosting (I use Flywheel [aff link]), MailChimp monthly fees, and a few other odds and ends. Most of these things I’m already paying a monthly fee for, so this number is a prorated amount separated out for this project.

T-Shirts: $200

Added 9/1/15: T-Shirts are not going to be the focus of Project Galaxy, but I got a few made up for the Project Galaxy video. I purchased six shirts, all different high quality brands and variations of the color purple, and had a friend print the Project Galaxy logo on each of them. You’ll see them soon!

Intercom and Vimeo: $108

Added 9/20/15: Decided right before launch that people buying something for $1,000 might have questions. While I could have used a contact form, I didn’t want people to leave the BuyMyFuture website. Intercom’s Audience feature let’s me answer questions right on the site. And Vimeo Plus was purchased to be able to customize the embedded Vimeo player for the BuyMyFuture video.

Podcast Expenses: $156

Added 9/23/15: This written journal ended when the project launched, but I wanted to keep sharing a behind the scenes look of what was going on. I spent $135 for the Soundcloud Pro Unlimited service (where the podcast episodes are hosted) and bought a galaxy-ish-sounding song on Audio Jungle for $21. You can listen to the podcast on iTunes!

Total Expenses: $8,169

Not too shabby. It was certainly nice to save money in the design category and with the discounts from friends on video production and copywriting. I could have easily been paying double or triple this amount if I didn’t lean on a few of my existing connections.

What are my future expenses?

Before wrapping this entry up, I wanted to mention things I am planning on having to pay for once Project Galaxy is up and running:

  • Payment processor fees (Gumroad charges 5% + $0.25 per transaction)
  • Retargeting ads on Facebook (as of 9/23 at $372 spent)
  • One of my under promise and over deliver items
  • Custom branded shipping boxes
  • Shipping supplies
  • Postage

These expenses are going to be interesting to watch as they are completely dependent on the success of this project. If you read my early Project Galaxy journal entries then you know I have a low goal of 100 sales and a high goal of 1,000 sales. I will share my total expenses after the purchase window closes for Project Galaxy on October 6.

If there are any other expenses or questions about money that have to with Project Galaxy, please don’t hesitate to tweet them at me or ask in a note here on Medium. I enjoy being transparent with expenses whenever possible so other business owners can learn from my experience.

Day 24 >>

This entry is part of a 60-day journal I’m writing that will share all my planning, strategies, pre-launch efforts, and marketing tactics leading up to a big crazy project codenamed Project Galaxy. Start reading here.