If you’ve been holding off on starting your business because you think it’s going to cost you a ton of money, then this is the episode for you! I started my first business for less than $300 and my first clients paid me a total of $3000, you do the ROI.
And I’m proud to say, not much has changed since 2016 (in fact, it’s gotten cheaper)! So let’s get started with how you can build a profitable business for less than a year’s worth of Starbucks Lattes.
Disclaimer: This post/episode may contain affiliate links. This means if you purchase I will get a portion of the profit for referring you. I have a strict policy of only recommending tools I’ve used for more than three (3) Months. Thank You for supporting my blog and business!
Start The Right Business
The quickest and most affordable business you can start online is a service-based consulting business. This means taking whatever skills and knowledge you have (Social Media, Web Design, Administrative Assistant, Project Management, HR, Legal, Writing etc.) and turning that into ‘Done-For-You’ Service Packages!
If you’re trying to become a coach and you’re serious about getting your coaching certification out there, then you’re gonna take a while and cost you a pretty penny (some times thousands of dollars). Likewise, ecommerce usually requires an investment for manufacturing of products and it can be a complicated process.
To get up and running quickly, serviced-based consulting is the way to go. And look, you can eventually move into coaching or ecommerce when you’re ready both emotionally and financially!
Think about what skills and knowledge you currently have and love to do. If you’re a little shaky on your skills check out awesome platforms like Udemy, CreativeLive, and Skillshare. I first learn to code taking courses via Udemy for $10.99.
Business License: $150.00/yr
Easily the biggest expense you’ll have up-front, but necessary if you intend to get a business bank account (which I do recommend) or hire on contractors (which you may want to later on).
Head to your local county administration offices and do this in-person rather than using a 3rd party legal firm as it will save you money. Even if you’re not quite sure what you’ll need, they usually have all the forms necessary and will help you get everything set up. They’re a bit nicer than the DMV (eye-rollllll).
Brand Photography: Free
Use your phone on Portrait Mode.
The computer processors in smartphones are phenomenal these days! There’s no need for you to invest hundreds of dollars in a brand photoshoot in the beginning stages of your business, but, having good quality photos that (a) prove you’re a real person and (b) show you are professional are still necessary!
Head outside to the nearest hippest area (cafe, park, mixed-use development) in your neighborhood (don’t worry about on-lookers) get a couple of vertical shots and a couple landscape (horizontal) shots which you can use for your website initially.
If you’re nervous about taking your photo, check out Sorelle Amore, she’s a travel photographer who started a movement she calls The Advanced Selfie University. Her channel has amazing tutorials on taking selfies including confidence, posing, and staging your shots!
Logo Design: Canva $14.95
Take full advantage of the minimalist movement when it comes to branding. A simple wordmark logo that is just your name in an elegant font (even if it’s not a script font) can actually speak volumes for your business and save you some money.
And even though I have the tools and exprience to create a professional logo, I actully just did my most recent one in Canva.
Canva is a graphic design tool that I use daily in my business and while they have a free version, I do use the pro which costs $14.95/mo.
Related: How To Choose Your Business Name
Domain Name, Website Hosting, Professional Email: Dreamhost Unlimited Shared Plan – $10.95/mo
Now it’s time to get your website set up. You’ll need a Domain Name, WordPress Hosting, and Professional Email Address such as email@example.com. This is so your potential customers can contact you and you don’t have to feel like a loser using your gmail account ( I’m talking to you firstname.lastname@example.org 😉
I know alot of people have been wanting to try all-in-one website builder like Squarespace or Wix, but I’m going to strongly suggest that you don’t for a two reasons:
- Customization – These providers are template based so when you choose your template you’ll go with what you have (even if you buy 3rd party templates) and change the fonts, colors, etc. but the actual layouts and many of the design features… what you see is what you get unless you know how to code.
- Integrations – WordPress is the most widely used website platform in the world. Therefore, it integrates with a lot. This means as you start to grow your business and you want to do things like host courses or sell products, instead of having to use another platform, you can build it right on your site.
Website- Page-Builder (Not Just A Theme) Elementor Pro – $49.00/year
Back to customizing your site. I’m a huge fan of using a page-builder theme like Divi by Elegant Themes or Elementor. For the purposes of keeping costs low, I’d go with Elementor Pro as it’s a bit more affordable.
Page-builders give you the flexibility to build your website the way you want it, without the dread of needing to code. They’re usually drag and drop and come with their own library of customizable page templates. You can add or delete elements and get your site looking the exact way you want it!
I suggest the following five (5) pages for all online business owners: Home, About, Blog. Services, Contact.
And I know what you’re thinking: But what if I don’t want a blog!! Short Answer: You need a blog! We’ll talk about why in another post!
CRM (Customer Relationship Manager) – $35/mo
Lastly, I’ll recommend you have a CRM: Customer Relationship Manager. These extremely useful tools are perfect for mapping out your entire client experience!
From sending quotes, contracts, and invoices– to creating a client portal so you can communicate on project details; these all-in-one platforms help keep you sane while making the customer journey seamless. Which is critical for gaining referrals and creating Customer Lifestime Value (meaning they keep coming back!).
Set up your CRM and embed your contact form into your Contact Me page on your website!
Great CRMs to consider are Dubsado, Honeybook, or 17Hats which all cost less than $40.00/mo.
So there you have it, total start-up costs: $260.00!
Pretty slim investment if you ask me.
And if you’re now wondering how you can turn that tiny investment into a liveable salary, then go-ahead and get started on these things and then come back to my channel to learn more about getting your clients and building your confidence!