Starting Your Own Business on a Budget: Tips & Tricks

starting your own business on a budget

Starting your own business can seem unattainable, especially when you have limited funds to work with. When thinking about launching, you might feel as though you need a large sum of money in order to even begin. But, I have good news; this is not always the case. In fact, I was able to start my own business for roughly $650, including the paperwork to register as a limited liability company (LLC). I still have yet to take out a business loan. So, fret not; starting your own business on a budget (and without a loan) is possible, and the following are some tricks and tips to help you launch:

Starting Your Own Business On a Budget

Don’t quit your day job:

Normally, “don’t quit your day job” implies you should not pursue anything more than what you are currently doing for money. But, when I say this, I mean maintain your full-time job as you develop your dream. Spend a few hours every night after work (or at your leisure, depending on your level of motivation to start) developing your business plan. Know that you want to start a business but unsure where to begin? Pick something you are passionate about or very knowledgeable in.

As you start the process, plug away some money from your full-time job each month for your business. Even if it is jus $20 a month, every little bit helps and will make launching more of a reality.

Reach out to friends:

Assuming you have already done your market research and developed a business plan, you can reach out to supportive friends who may be willing to help you with certain services you may need to move forward.

For example, if you are a copywriter needing a logo, see if one of your friends in graphic design would be willing to do a trade for service and/or a discounted rate to create your identity. Most of the time, you will most likely find someone willing to help. Even your friends with a background in law may be available to provide some tips on getting started with paperwork or offer a lower rate to help. You can also use the money you’ve been saying from your full-time job to pay for these services up front. Never assume your friends will do it for free; they are, after all, also in business and need to make money too. Also, don’t forget to refer them and spread the love! They will appreciate your word of mouth referral more than you know.

Start online:

The internet is full of amazing opportunities. You can easily start your business online through the creation of a website. Sites like Weebly, Wix, and even WordPress.com all are great platforms to begin on a budget as they all offer templates you can work off of with zero web design skills. With these, you’ll also need to purchase a domain name (AKA your business web address), a process they each walk you through when you sign up. When using WordPress, you will also need a hosting site, which is basically a home for your domain name. Weebly and Wix have theirs built in to their platforms, but their customization is not as advanced as WordPress. Bluehost or GoDaddy.com are both examples of where you can find hosting sites. Again, you may want to reach out to a friend or use a consultation with a marketing company to help you get started with this particular process, as it can sometimes be complicated.

In addition to a website, you can now sell items on Facebook. If you do not want to upgrade your site to be secure enough to sell items (all websites need to have what is known as an SSL certificate when selling items or even collecting emails, which protects private information of site visitors), you can create an account at Shopify.com and connect it to your Facebook page or use Facebook as your store. You will need, however, a PayPal or Square account in order to move forward.

Starting online allows you to save on initial overhead costs (other than your website) on a brick-and-mortar. But, you can surely invest in a physical location after getting your feet wet. This all depends on whether your business would benefit on a physical address or if you can survive solely online.

Make it a side hustle and have supplementary income:

Starting your own business on a budget does not mean you have to wait until you are no longer at your full-time job to begin. You can start with it as a side hustle and continue to grow it until you are ready to be full-time. By all means, you can also make it your primary focus and help your financial situation with a supplementary income until you start seeing a profit in your business. House sitting, dog walking, and freelancing are all examples of easy ways to get this going. You could also use the money from your supplementary income to invest into your business if you needed the extra funding for a special project.

Grow through networking:

Networking is an especially cost-effective way to grow your business. No matter what industry you are in, everyone can benefit from networking. Check your local events calendar to see where opportunities may be for you to meet prospects. You can also utilize your existing connections or memberships to grow. For instance, if you have a gym membership, and you are starting a catering business, you can reach out to the gym manager or members who work at local businesses to see if they would be interested in your services.

All in all, know that starting your own business on a budget can be done. No matter what, though, it always takes consistency and a lot of work in order to make it happen.

Have you been dreaming of starting your own business or have you already? What tips would you add to the list? 

How to Bounce Back from Taxes as a Business Owner

how to bounce back from taxes as a business owner

Running your own business is no easy task, but it can be especially difficult during tax season. From the moment you meet with your accountant to writing that big check to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), your shoulders tend to be clenched tighter than a boxer in the middle of a fight. But, the good news is that once you pull off that band-aid, there are ways you can easily recover. The following are just a few ways to bounce back from taxes as a business owner:



How to Bounce Back from Taxes as a Business Owner

Create a Passive Income Stream

Relying on one source of income can be straining, even in the business world. When you only have one revenue stream, your business is reliant on customers buying products or services, both of which can fluctuate in different seasons. By creating a passive income for your business, you’ll stress less about sales and be able to put more into the business. Business blogging, YouTube videos, an app for your business are all great examples of a passive income that you could start utilizing this year.

Re-evaluate Your Expenses

Now is as good a time as any to really dive into your expenses. As a fellow business owner, I completely understand how daunting this is; however, it’s important to regularly check on what you’re spending money on in the business and how necessary those expenses may be. For instance, in my own business, we noticed we had a couple subscriptions that really did not give us much more value than their free versions, nor do we use them all that often. We decided to cancel these and use this money elsewhere like more advertising and growing our savings account (more the come on that later).

Reach Out to Leads

Although it may seem counterintuitive to invest in advertising right now, this is actually a prime time to do so, particularly if you are a business-to-consumer (B2C) establishment. Consumers will receive their income checks soon (if they have not already) and may feel ready to spend. For those who are business-to-business (B2B), your potential clientele may also be ready to buy now that the stress of tax season is primarily out of the way. They, too, will be looking for ways to bounce back from taxes, and you may just be the key.

If you do have a smaller advertising budget, you can still reach leads through networking. This is one of the best ways to get attention to your company. With options available both online and offline, you should be able to sign up new business in no time. (As long as you are being consistent, that is.)

Start a Savings & File Quarterly

If you dread taxes every year (and who doesn’t?), look into filing quarterly, if you do not already. This is highly recommended and suggested by many to avoid paying such a large lump sum at once. My business partner and I decided from the day we opened our virtual doors for business that we were going to keep a percentage of our revenue in savings specifically for taxes so that we were not worrying about where to come up with the money. Keep a minimum of 30% of your net profit in a separate account at all times so that you have a better idea of where you stand. This will reduce the stress of taxes and keep your head in the game so that you can do what you do best — run your business.

What tips would you add on how to bounce back from taxes as a business owner

How to Shop for Eco-Friendly Products

shop for eco-friendly products

Earth Day is on Saturday, April 22, which means now is as good a time as ever to brush up on your earth-friendly ways. Going green isn’t always easy, but there are little things you can do over time to continuously help our planet, including shopping. But, when it comes to your regular purchases, it can be difficult to know what is actually eco-friendly and what is a sales attempt. Making smart purchases does not need to be difficult or take a lot of time. Here is how you can easily shop for eco-friendly products:

How to Shop for Eco-Friendly Products

Shopping green is not the same as shopping smarter. Some products do not live up to the title and cost you more. Here’s what to look out for:

  1. Biodegradable is not always the way to go. Just because an item is described as biodegradable does not mean it will work. They actually need to be composted and do not work in landfills. So, unless you live near a compost or have one, you should not purchase biodegradable products. Instead, look for reusable items.
  2. Research “natural” and “organic” products. Labels and companies can be deceiving, and some will go as far to completely lie, as was the case with this company in Atlanta, Georgia. Items that are truly organic will include the official seal from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), the Natural Products Association, or the BDIH stamp. These marks indicate that the products have met the criteria to be considered natural or organic. While natural is not the same as organic, natural products are still minimally processed and better for our Earth than many other substances we produce. Anything that claims to be but is not is not worth spending the extra money on.
  3. Hybrid cars can be our best friend. for the most part, nature loves hybrid vehicles. Plus, the government gives you a tax break for having a hybrid; that is, depending on the car battery size along with make, model, and year. However, don’t just go out and buy a hybrid for the tax credit. What you could do, though, is purchase a used hybrid or put the money toward your current car. Tune-ups do wonders for your gas mileage, which, in turn, helps the environment. Not to mention, when it comes to car shopping in general, look for the smaller vehicles with the best gas mileage. Mother nature likes these the best.
  4. Reuse plastic and paper bags. As great as the reusable cloth bags are, you should also try to remember to reuse your plastic and paper bags as well. This not only saves you money but is a great way recycle as well.
  5. BPA-free plastics may not be what they’re cracked up to be. Don’t waste your time with BPA-free plastics. You won’t know for sure if the plastic products contain the chemicals. Skip them all together. Use glass or lead-free ceramic containers instead.

Now that you have an idea of how to shop for eco-friendly products, you can test it out for yourself. Just remember to look for the seal of approval for natural and organic, reuse items as much as possible, and resist buying items just because of their “eco-friendly” claim.

What would you add to the list?