The MilSpouse Guide to Starting a Business on a Budget |Kayla Roof, Business Advisor

One of the biggest fears military spouses share with me is that they are scared starting a business will cost too much money.  Forty years ago it would have been almost impossible to start a business for practically free. Now, with technology and social media, you can create and market your business without spending thousands of dollars.  The type of business you start will dictate how much money you will need to spend on your business. Today, I’m going to share with you how you can start a business on a budget.

 

The first step to starting a business on a budget is to determine the type of business you want to start.

When you create a business based on your unique gifts, skills and expertise, you have the ability to customize your product and service offerings around who you want to serve, who you want to make an impact on, and who you genuinely want to do business with.  Starting your own business allows you the flexibility to spend your money on what matters most to you. The creation of your business does not have to be expensive. In fact, you can begin selling your products and/or services with relatively little upfront costs and some none at all.

If your idea involves a storefront, often called a brick and mortar establishment, then you’re going to need to spend a great deal of money purchasing or renting the building to house your business. Instead, whatever you wanted to sell inside of the storefront, you should bring it online where people can purchase electronically and you can either ship or deliver your goods or services. The only costs of starting an online boutique is the creation of your website which can be done for as little as $8 a month if you Do-It-Yourself, plus the cost of the products for your business, and the fees to legally register your business.

There are four types of businesses that will allow you the freedom to work from home and from any duty station.

A physical product based business will require more money to be spent up front because you will need to purchase the goods to be sold or you’ll need to buy the materials to make your products. If your idea is to start a physical product based business, then you’ll want to make sure you get your goods or materials at the cheapest price possible without getting short changed on the quality. This will require research into suppliers.  You can find a ton of suppliers on ThomasNet.com (for domestic sources) and Alibaba.com (for overseas directories).  Keeping your product costs low will help you to be able to make a great profit margin when you sell your products.

A service based business such as coaching, consulting, freelancing, and any done-for-you services is generally the cheapest form of business to start because the only cost involved is usually your time. You can begin offering your services immediately by letting people know about your business for free via social media. Create a Facebook page, Instagram account, join a few groups on Facebook and let people know about your services. Depending on your business, you may want to email potential customers or customize a proposal for business owners, telling them what you have to offer.  I started my first business, my advertising agency, without a website. I created a proposal, called up a local business owner, and asked to have a meeting. I pitched him my services, he said, “Yes,” and I had my first client. The only cost was making sure I had enough printer ink for my proposal. If your services require expenditures on equipment to get started, check local sales groups to see if you can buy the equipment used. You can always upgrade your equipment after you’ve had a few customers.

Another type of business to create on a budget is a digital product based business, also called information products. Digital products are products that are sold online such as eBooks, eCourses, eGuides, video training programs, and membership sites. With this type of business, you’re basically bottling what you know and putting it into a format that can be sold online. To sell digital products, you’ll need to have a computer to create your product or spend some time at the library if you don’t have a computer yet. You can create an eBook with Word and save as a PDF or you can create a video training program by recording videos with your smart phone and editing them on your computer (iMovie works great for that). You can sell your digital goods on your own website or through websites such as GumRoad.com, SendOwl.com or sell your online course through companies such as Teachable.com or Teachery.co. This is a great way to start a business on a budget.

Blogging as a business is also a budget friendly business. It is super inexpensive to start a blog. In fact, there are many free blogging platforms out there. If you are seriously considering blogging as a business, I recommend buying your domain name (Usually under $14.99), starting your blog for free at  Wordpress.org (That’s WordPress.ORG, not WordPress.COM) and buying a hosting plan which will run you at most, about $8 per month.  (I use Bluehost and you get a FREE domain name with the purchase of your hosting account). Read my post here on how to do this step-by-step.  You can even use a FREE theme (which is the design of how your site looks). If you want a premium theme for your blog which will cost you around $89, I always recommend Divi by Elegant Themes, as they make it super easy to build a gorgeous site by yourself.  However, for as little as $8 per month, you can launch your blog.

What about the legal fees?

To get your business set up legally in your state and city, there may be legal fees involved.  These fees are all contingent on where you live and what type of business you have. Some states have very low fees and others higher.  A great way to determine these fees is to visit your state Board of Equalization website, or check out SBA.gov and they will provide you with what you need to know. Don’t let the legal set up process slow you down. You can always get started and then adjust your legal structure as your business grows.

My biggest advice for starting a business on a budget is to get out there and start selling your products and services NOW.

Use social media to let people know about what you have to offer. It’s FREE. Use local buy, sell, trade groups to sell locally. Pick up the phone, call potential customers, and ask for an appointment to meet with them. You can even send invoices for free using PayPal. Once you have some sales, you can then put that money into building a website, purchasing more materials or getting more advanced technology to help you grow your business.

 

Obtain all of the FREE information you can. 

Out there in Internet-land, there is LOADS of free material at your fingertips. You can find so many great videos, blog posts, and articles jam-packed with information to help you grow your business. YouTube and Pinterest are my go-to for quick tips. Speaking of excellent free information, I have put together a FREE training series for you to check out.  If want to fast-track the learning curve to starting your own business, be sure to dive right in. Click on the image below and I’ll email you over the first video.

 

Starting a business, doesn’t have to be expensive. Don’t get hung up on needing premium everything, just GET STARTED.

If you’re READY to get started, I’ve created a program to help you take your ideas and turn them into a profitable business. For more details on The Work from Anywhere Business Academy™, click here.

 

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