Everyone worries about money and one of the many reasons that people hold off on starting their business (only those who want to because not everyone to be an entrepreneur) is lack of funds. These days with the advancement in technology it doesn’t cost that much to start a business (but it does take money to make it a success and keep it going). One important piece of advice for you is to keep your day job & work your idea as a side-hustle until you are able to successfully replace that income with what you make on the side.
My journey didn’t begin that way but I wouldn’t change either way. I take it as; I took all of the bumps and bruises so you don’t have to or at least make it a less pain road for you because trends and techniques do change. And this is exactly why I sat down and figure out several financial paths that you can take if you were starting your online business today.
So how can you start your savvy online business?
You are going to do so by making yourself a brand or expert in your field of knowledge through blogging. Forget what you heard – blogging is not dead. As with anything it evolved and now there’s a little more work you have to do in order for you to get your blog seen. I will cover more on this in a future but right now I’m going to breakdown the numbers to help you get started with blogging for business.
How to start your savvy online business for under $200
All of these scenarios assume that you have some funds available although you can probably do this with zero dollars. (FYI: The prices mention below are the most current at the time this post was published.)
Optional: Sign up for Ebates
Of course this is after you have done your brainstorming of what type of business you are starting. If you haven’t heard about it or seen the commercials, Ebates* is a website that you use to get cash back on some (if not all) of your online purchases. Do not skip out on doing this because some of the sites I am going to send you to participate in the cash-back program, so although you are spending money you can get some of it back.
When you sign up for an Ebates account, you get the option of getting a $10 gift card or $10 cash bonus. To make it easier for you to get cash-back opportunities, download the plug-in to your favorite Internet browser on your computer/tablet or just be sure to log in to the Ebates* site first before starting your search. This way you can always make sure your purchase will be counted.
Now lets get what you really want to know.
Start your savvy online business for under $200
For under $200, you can purchase a “.com” domain (Namecheap*), web hosting (HostGator*) and use the self-hosted version of WordPress (WordPress.org), along with one of their approved free themes (WP Theme Directory).
- “.com” Domain \\ $10.69 for one year (other extensions will cost you more)
- iCANN fee \\ $0.18 (mandatory annual fee by law – learn more about it here)
- Whois Guard privacy protection \\ Free (for the first year, $2.88 thereafter)
- HostGator’s Hatchling Plan \\ $107.40 (or $8.95/mo for the year to host a single domain)
- WordPress \\ Free (Hostgator has a one-click install to make setting up WordPress easy)
- WordPress Theme \\ Free (I would recommend only using themes found in the directory)
Grand Total: $118.27
This path will give you a very (and I do mean very) basic website – nothing fancy. You can worry about making your site more professional looking later on when you have the funds to hire a designer or make the time to learn how do some of the things yourself. Namecheap* is known to do several different promotions throughout the year. So you can save even more when registering new domains, transfer domains, and more. HostGator* also run sale promotions and offer discounts (for the first year) on new accounts.
Just keep in mind, that when you make your purchase through a sale or promotion that you remember that you are getting a discount, typically just for the first year. When its time for you to renew any of those services it will be at the regular price, so make sure you budget for that in the future.
Add some extra bells and whistles
If you cannot afford to hire a designer or just prefer to handle things yourself, think about skipping the free WordPress theme and go with a premium or paid theme. The best ones can give your site or blog some personality. My favorites are themes that are built to be use with the Genesis Framework from StudioPress*. They are easy to use and customize to your liking without the need to know any coding.
Cost of this investment:
- $59.95 – for just the Genesis Framework*. You have the option of then purchasing a child theme from StudioPress or other third party sites.
Grand Total: $178.22 (when you add the basic costs plus genesis framework)
- $99.95 – for the Genesis Framework + a child theme developed by StudioPress only (a theme from a third-party sold thru StudioPress site will cost you more)
Grand Total: $218.22 (when you add the basic costs plus genesis framework + child theme from StudioPress, it will cost more if you chose one from a third party site whether its through StudioPress or directly from that site)
With your new blog, you are going to need images. You have several options here as well. You can take photos yourself, you can hire a photographer to take photos (which can be expensive) or you can use stock photography. One of my favorite stock photography website is Bigstockphotos and a lot of the images that I use are from them (unless otherwise noted).
Cost of this investment:
- $49 – credit package gets you 25 images credits. I purchase the medium or large file size so I can use the image for both web and print.
Grand Total: $167.22 (when you add the basic costs plus stock images only)
Grand Total: $227.22 (when you add the basic costs plus genesis framework)
Grand Total: $267.22 (when you add the basic costs plus genesis framework + child theme from StudioPress, it will cost more if you chose one from a third party site whether its through StudioPress or directly from that site)
Now you are not limited to just using the tools or resources that I mention above. There are ton of other tools you can use. In fact, I know of over 170 different tools that you can use to help you not only start your business but grow it to your wildest imagination.
When I first decided that I was going to start using my web design skills to make an income myself I didn’t know what I was doing. Of course I had my previous work experience that kind of prepared me to be a freelancer. However, that wasn’t enough. Since my first love is technology and I also love to learn, I made Google my best friend. I also created a Twitter account, started blogging under my real name and networking online (mainly because I was unemployed and broke).
It was a very long, hard and tedious process. Looking back I wish that there were something that I could have gotten my hands on to make things a little easier. I am not talking about something to make it a complete cakewalk, but just something to help steer me in the right direction. I know that the best rewards come from seeds you plant and harvest yourself.
Sometimes you need to know which seeds are best to plant and what’s the best season to plant them in. This is why I created “The Essential Resource Directory for Entrepreneurs”. It is not an eBook full of tools that I only use.
That wouldn’t work. It’s full of every tool that I have come across that provides services you need from the starting stages and beyond. I choose to include a variety of tools because what works for me may not work for you. I truly want to help you dodge a few potholes on your path of starting your side hustle or business. Of course I have added my two cents because I want you to learn from my mistakes and believe me I made quite a few of them.