How to Get Scrappy and Start your Business with a Small Budget
Starting your own business can be scary. What can be even scarier is using your hard earned money to invest in or start your side hustle.
I hear this story so often, "I want to start my (fill in the blank) business but I just can't afford it."
I get it. I've been there. Even the most successful people (yes, even Chip + Joanna Gaines) started at ground zero. They also had little to no money to invest in starting their business. So, what do you do when your pockets are seemingly empty and you have a dream of starting your own small business?
You get scrappy.
You get busy finding ways to get your business off the ground without spending a ton of cash that you don't have.
I started my Photography business with my Canon Rebel that I bought for $450. I had just the kit lens and maybe one other long zoom lens. I started taking photos of my friends and family. I did portrait sessions for $75 and charged only $300 for my very first wedding (I know, are you cringing?!) I WAS SCRAPPY.
Slowly I gained more customers, eventually I booked more weddings and when I did, I reinvested that money into a better camera, more lenses and education for myself. In just a few years I was booking 20+ weddings a year.
When I started my brick and mortar store, graced, I found money where ever I could to buy inventory, to purchase the outdoor signage and build displays. Slowly, I added more and more inventory. As I earned money I would reinvest as much of it as possible.
The store that I started just 2 years ago is quite different than the store(s) it is today. But when I first started I tried to find ways to do as much as I could myself and utilize as many free tools and resources as possible. As the money came in, I began to invest in more software tools to manage my business and was able to outsource more and more.
So, if you have a big dream of starting your business but are low on cash here are a few free or inexpensive tools to help you get started!!
E-Mail Service Provider - MAIL CHIMP
When you start your business make sure you also start your e-mail list. The best thing you can do to set yourself up for future success is to create that list. You're going to need an e-mail service provider to manage your list and I always recommend starting with MailChimp. Mail Chimp is free up to 2,000 subscribers and then after you reach 2,000 you are billed based on a tiered leveling system.
Even though Mail Chimp is free it is packed with tons of awesome tools, including the ability to create pop up boxes on your website and create stand alone opt-in pages. This is a BIG deal. You can start building your business without a website just by using Mail Chimp. You can build landing pages where your subscribers can opt in for a freebie and then their e-mail is added to your list. No fancy website or lead boxes required.
To learn more about how to start your e-mail list you can hop on over to two of my popular posts:
Domain Names - GO DADDY
If you have a name in mind for your business I highly recommend researching to find out if the domain name you want is available. Domain names are relatively inexpensive, so even if you're not quite ready to use your domain name on a fancy website at least you will own the domain when you can afford a more professional site.
Domain names tend to cost about $10-$14/year. So, again it's not too big of an investment and you always have the piece of mind knowing that you own it.
Book Keeping - QuickBooks
QuickBooks is the go to for accountants and book keepers worldwide which is why it's a great place to start keeping track of your finances. You can get started using QuickBooks for only $10/month. As your business grows you can add more functions to your QuickBooks account such as running payroll and paying taxes. Come tax time QuickBooks offers helpful reports and you can share your information easily with your tax preparer.
Out Sourcing - FIVERR
Fiverr is an online database of free lancers who are available to hire for a ton of different jobs. It's a great place to find someone to do graphic design work, voice overs, copywriting and even website building. The pricing starts at $5 and varies based on the project you are outsourcing but it's a great way to get projects completed at a low cost.
I personally used this service to record the introductions and commercials for the graced Business Podcast and only paid about $10 per project.
Where do I start?
I know that the very idea of starting your own business may feel overwhelming but remember to take it one step at a time. To read more about where you should be spending your time and what to focus on in your new business check out this post.