We’ve all heard the online business success stories. Hewlett Packard and Google started in a garage. So did 42 Below Vodka. Great ventures often have humble beginnings and frugal budgets. So if you’re keen to start your own online business, don’t be discouraged by a lack of funds. It’s still possible to get up and running on a shoestring. But where to start? Here are our tips for starting an online business with no money.
Decide on your product or service
Even if you don’t have the budget to purchase wholesale products to on-sell, you can still sell your time, experience and talent. Whether that’s writing content, coaching, designing, photographing, coding, video editing, personal shopping, or consulting, there will be people in need of your expertise who are willing to pay for it. Choose an industry you’re passionate about or trained in, and don’t be afraid to pick a small niche. You are less likely to run into a huge amount of competition if you specialise.
If you do want to sell a physical product, then drop-shipping is a good low-budget option. With drop-shipping, you don’t stock any of the items you sell but instead purchase from a third-party supplier as you receive your customers’ orders. The supplier then sends the product directly to your customer, meaning you don’t need to worry about warehousing or shipping. Companies like Shopify can even manage the process of connecting you with overseas wholesalers.
Create your brand
To have an online presence that looks professional and appealing, you’ll need some branding. That doesn’t mean you need to shell out for expensive graphic design. Adobe Spark has a free logo maker where you can quickly create, customise and download a logo for your business – all you need is a free Adobe account. Alternatively, you can hire someone from an online freelancing service like Fiverr to create your logo and branding for you – it can cost as little as $20 for a custom design.
Set up your online business website
There are plenty of free website builders out there, and while it’s possible to get yourself online without spending any money at all, they have plenty of drawbacks – we wrote a blog about them not that long ago. But the good news is that if you’re willing to do a bit of WordPress DIY, you can get online hosting with Moreweb for as little as $5 a month and reap all the benefits of paid hosting like support, backup, and a generous data allowance.
WordPress is an excellent choice for your website because it’s one of the world’s most popular platforms – 30% of the internet runs on it. Because of this, there are thousands of free plugins available to you, as well as integration with a plethora of third-party services. Plus, you don’t need to know any coding or design to create a professional-looking website, with over 100 attractive pre-made themes from which to choose.
Don’t forget your social media
It costs nothing to set up Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest accounts, and they give you an easy way to connect with your customers and drive them to your website.