Now, the process of starting (and growing) your own business for less than $50 is:
- Realistic, if you know what you’re doing and are prepared to put the work in.
- A lot more involved than just what the details in this article reveal (future articles on this site however will delve into all the steps in much more detail).
Now, if you don’t understand the processes required to complete these steps, you can either pay someone to help you complete them, or start off very slow, and take the time to master them (this site is a great starting point… in fact that’s the whole point of this site!).
Okay, without further ado, here’s the five steps to take, to start (and start growing) your business for even less than $50…
Step 1: Decide on Your Business
First of all, you of course need to decide what kind of business you’re going to run…
- Will you be offering services? If so – what kind of services?
- Will you be selling physical products? If yes – will you be making them, sourcing them, or having them drop-shipped direct from the manufacture to the customer?
- Will you be selling intangible products like software or eBooks? If yes – will you be creating the products, paying someone else to create them, or purchasing rights to use someone else’s products/content?
- Will you be making money by creating a popular website and selling advertising on the site?
And there’s many other options too…
You could potentially build your business to do a number of these things, a mini-conglomerate so to speak, but when starting out it definitely helps to do one thing, and do it well. This helps create predictable income at the start when your business is at its weakest, gives you experience without being too distracted with multiple projects, and helps make sure you actually get the work done, rather than jumping from one ‘opportunity’ to the next without actually making money from any of them.
Multiple projects, all unfinished, won’t make you money. Whereas one single project that’s complete and proven to make money, can be very profitable, often for years.
Unfinished projects seldom if ever make money, it’s that simple. Some people may have the habit of purchasing a product that puts across an incredible ‘secret’ opportunity guaranteed to make you money. Of course, it’s never quite that simple, so the majority of people who purchase the product get put off by the effort required (there’s always effort required) and move onto the next opportunity…etc.
Not surprisingly, months, even years of this generally results in lots of money spent, but no results.
By focusing on one thing, doing it well, gaining experience, and actually bring in money, you stop being a hobbyist… someone who ‘dabbles’ in making money with their own business, and you actually become someone who has their own legitimate business, even if it’s still very small and making you just a few hundred dollars a month.
So make that vital decision (what your business is going to do), take time to make it right, and if you don’t have much, if any, clarity at all regarding this, this may be a decision you need to take very slowly as you educate yourself about the options available, the skills you’ll need, and what you’re actually interested in doing long term.
Again, the point of this site is to help you to start and grow your small business, whatever your current level of experience and knowledge, and very importantly this site focuses on cutting through the nonsense a lot of sites and products in the ‘make money online’ space put across, and actually present you the with the realities.
Now, the realities don’t sound as much fun or as exciting as the ‘make $10,000 your first week’ crowd, but when you’re ready for a breath of fresh air in the rather polluted ‘make money’ marketplace, remember this site…
2) Get a Dedicated Bank Account and Card
You don’t necessarily need to get an actual business bank account and card, especially when you’re not making much money and there’s not many transactions going through your account, but if your business income and expenses get mixed up with your personal income and expenses, that can rapidly lead to very messy accounts.
At the very least, you want to get a bank account and a debit or credit card that you only use for your business activities.
Make a note of the date your business starts, ideally get the balance to zero, then make a small investment into that business account (even less than $50) and your business is under way.
Then every piece of income for your business, before it reaches your personal account, should go through your business account.
So let’s say that you make $500 in February through your PayPal account, and you withdraw it all. Then that $500 should go from PayPal, to the bank account you have dedicated for business. And then you can choose to either keep it in the business, or transfer some or all of it to the bank account you use for your personal expenses.
This way, making sure all your business income goes through the business account before it touches your personal account, keeps the accounts tidy, and also makes doing accounts at the end of the year easy.
And the same applies with a debit or credit card — make sure you’re starting from zero if at all possible, remember the date, and then from that date onwards only ever use that card for any business expenses, no personal expenses. Again, it’s neater and makes keeping track of things, and the end of year accounting, an awful lot easier.
Of course, if you’re using a debit card, make sure it’s attached to the bank account you’re using for the business.
3) Get Your Domain & Web Hosting
If you’re not familiar with a domain name, it’s for example:
It’s your address on the internet.
And once you have your domain, you then need to have it ‘live’ on the internet. That’s where web hosting comes in – web hosting turns just a name on the web, into a website that people can actually visit and interact with.
You can certainly have multiple websites, but let’s start with just one. Take your time to think of a suitable name, avoid hyphens in the name if at all possible, and if possible make it catchy, relevant, memorable and not too long.
A domain shouldn’t cost you more than $10 a year. And I do recommend .com rather than .net, .org… but if you have the budget for it and really want to secure your name, you may want to get .com, .net and .org. But that certainly isn’t necessary, especially at the start.
Or if your site is going to be country specific, you may want to get a .co.uk domain name (if you’re in the UK), a .com.au if you’re in Australia…etc.
And for example, if you’re offering services in your own name, you may just want to start with getting a domain that’s your own name. JohnSmith.com for example.
But something useful to keep in mind also – if your domain can be told to someone by phone and they’ll understand it, that’s good. If you need to actively spell your domain when telling people about it, that may be a clue that it’s either too obscure, or includes words that are difficult to pick up.
And for web hosting, it’s beyond the scope of this particular article to talk you through how to turn just your domain name into a live website. But you need to purchase web hosting initially, and this can be as little as a few dollars a month.
Once you have a web hosting account and your domain name, you need to point the name to your web host. If this process is something you’re not sure about at all, either your domain registrar (the company you purchased the name from) or your web host should be able to talk you through it.
Then, once your name is pointing to your web host, you need to actually get a website created…
4) Creating Your Site
One of the easiest ways these days to create your site is install WordPress, customize it a little, and then add the text and images you’d like to display.
Some web hosts make it very easy to install and customize WordPress.
(What’s WordPress? It’s software that hides many of the technical aspects of running a website from you, so you can just enter your text, images and videos directly, and WordPress gets them live on the internet for you, immediately.)
However, if you’re not comfortable with this process, it may well be worth you taking the time to get comfortable, or paying someone a small fee to help you… either someone you know, or through a site like eLance, oDesk or Guru.
However, learning at least some of the technical skills required to run and update your site will be helpful, otherwise you may struggle nearly every step of the way, and will be required to pay someone whenever you want to change anything on your site, which can quickly add up.
Or you could potentially go to WordPress.com and create your site that way, and choose the upgrade option to have your own domain. So you end up with JohnSmith.com, rather than the default JohnSmith.WordPress.com (doesn’t look anywhere near as professional).
And there’s other paid services that help make setting up a site easy, like TypePad for example, amongst many others.
5) Start Your Marketing (And Never Stop)…
Once your site is live and ready for visitors, the sad truth is that no one knows about it. You’ll need to start taking actions to help people find your site, and frankly, this part of the process never stops, which is true for every business — marketing should never stop.
Even if your business is thriving, and you have a lot of repeat website visitors and even lots of repeat customers, you may be happy to cut back on the marketing and may still find yourself incredibly busy, but without new visitors and new customers, over time your business will shrink.
However, at the start of the marketing process it may well seem like pushing a boulder up a hill. A huge amount of effort, for very little, if any, reward. However, consistent marketing efforts can definitely be accumulative, rather than just incremental, and that consistent effort can over time produce greater and greater results.
That may not be clear at all at the start of the process, and that may well be one reason why people give up, before they really start to see results.
Now, talking you through the marketing steps involved to grow your business is far beyond the scope of this single article, but will definitely be the focus of many future articles.
But at the very simplest level:
- You have a website
- People visit your site
- You make money from those visitors (either by selling advertising, selling them products…etc.)
And for example – if let’s say you offer writing services, and people come to your site, see samples of your work, get in touch through the site about how they can order your services… then you can reply with those details, they send you payment, and you complete their order for them.
If they’re happy with that initial order, they may want to order from you again. This time, they come direct to you (to your email address) bypassing the site entirely. This means you’re making money from repeat business, without making use of your site at all, since your site was only required for the first step of this sales process.
Now, something like this certainly doesn’t happen with every type of business. If you’re selling books from your site and have set up a shopping cart system on your site, people are unlikely to order via email (unless they’re perhaps making a huge bulk order, more than your shopping cart can handle).
Most orders in that example would always be placed through the shopping cart on your site. So in this second example your site will nearly always be required to collect payments from customers. There may be many repeat website visitors and many repeat orders, but as this is a different type of business to selling your services, the ordering process is different too.
And getting people to visit your site can come through advertising, through networking (posting on blogs and forums), through word of mouth (referrals), through the search engines… and there’s many other ways too.
And depending on your site and the type of business you’re in, you may want visitors to sign up to your email list (so you can follow up on them), or order directly through your site, or perhaps submit their details so you can get in touch with them via email before they order.
Or if you’re in the business of selling advertising on your site, the more visitors the better, so you may want to bring lots of visitors in, and ideally get them to fall in love with the content on your site, so they visit again and again, until you have thousands of repeat visitors to your site each day, and are making many thousands each month in advertising.
Again, all this will be covered in a lot more detail in future articles, but it’s vital to remember that nothing happens online without marketing. You have to actively take steps to let people know your site exists both at the start of your business, and then pretty much every day after that.