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How to Start an Online Business-No Investment Required
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Starting an online business is a dream for many. Entrepreneurship can be a very fruitful experience. It’s a lot of hard work but can be very rewarding.
A big hurdle can be startup expenses required. Startup includes up front costs like inventory, business supplies, equipment, packaging, shipping costs, etc. I’m going to show you how to start an online business no investment required!
Thinking about your Business Plan
It starts with your business idea. Maybe you’ve been brainstorming for a while or finally deciding to pursue your passion. Whatever route you decide to take your business, you can startup affordably.
You probably don’t wanna hear this but I HIGHLY RECOMMEND creating a business plan.
I know, I know, business plans are boring, they’re too much work, etc.
Your business plan is just your plan for your biz, put on paper. It can be as simple or complicated as you wanna make it. Just put something down on paper.
You can revisit it periodically to make sure you are tackling your goals and growing according to your initial plan.
Some things to think about:
- What will your business form be? (sole proprietor, corporation, LLC, etc.)
- How will you be organized? (Will you have managers, employees, contractors, work alone, etc.?)
- Projections (growth estimates, financial projections, etc.)
- What are your short term and long term goals?
- What is the company’s objective or mission?
- What are your plans for marketing?
- Social media strategies?
It can be overwhelming to think about it all. Break into manageable chunks and tackle each piece at a time. It can take a while to complete your plan. You can still work on other things while you’re doing your write up but continue tackling your business plan until it’s all done.
Take an assessment of what you need
This should be pretty easy. Think about what you’ll need to do to set up shop. Examples:
For an online retail business (like selling apparel, shoes, housewares, etc.) this might be things like:
- A computer for processing orders, email correspondence, etc.
- Packaging and shipping materials for shipping out orders
- Inventory system for keeping track of what’s in stock
- A storage facility or spare room to hold inventory
For a service-related business (like blogging, consulting, social media management, etc.), your needs for launch might be:
- A web designer for a professionally designed website
- Stationary or business cards to hand out
- Newsletter management service for sending email blasts to readers or customers
- Time management or organizational tools for staying organized, managing your schedule, etc.
- A virtual assistant for doing small, ongoing tasks so you’re free to tackle the big stuff
Now, onto your launch with no money required. Here are some ideas
Launch a crowdfunding campaign
Don’t be slack with this.
Crowdfunding campaigns are a big deal and require a lot of planning or careful execution. You might consider hiring an expert to manage your campaign (look at Upwork).
You can promise them a percentage of the campaign, pending successful funding. This way, it can be taken off your hands completely while you focus on other startup tasks.
This might sound more complicated than it is.
Solicit your friends and family to raise money. You can borrow and pay them back or you can make them equity partners, which means they take a cut of the profits after you launch. A great idea to many entrepreneurs take.
Hit up marketplaces (for businesses that will sell products)
How it works with marketplaces?
You sign up and create a marketplace store. Then, drive traffic to your store and wait for sales come in.
Not all marketplaces are created equally. Many are free but some are paid, requiring a monthly or annual membership fee, while others will take a cut of your profits.
Pick a Low Startup Business
This one’s simple. Not all businesses are created equal. Pick a no startup cost biz. Here are some examples:
- Freelancing (like writing, graphic design, etc.)
- Online selling
These low startup (or no startup) businesses are great because little to no investment is required and your return can be huge!
Win a contest
There are build a business competitions, especially catered to students, minority communities, and other groups. Find one and apply! How to find these contests: do some good ol’ fashioned research.
- Google “business competitions”
- Head to your local library (yes, I said library) and research
- Inquire within your community (youth center, church, etc.)
- Ask at school
An example: Shopify’s Build a Business Competition (a really good one I’ve been hearing about for years)
So you see, money isn’t a hurdle to starting your online business. You can look at crowdfunding, asking family or friends, sell in marketplaces, doing a low startup or no startup cost biz, or win a contest. Want more ideas to for you cash free startup?
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Did you start your online biz with no startup? Share your secrets with us, down below in comments!