Issue #283

Starting Up Your Business… For Free?

A lot of people who are first starting out and looking to spin up a new online business find themselves having this one thought…

Not wanting to spend any money until you’re making it.

And the thing is… it FEELS as if that thought makes a lot of sense. But, I can tell you from experience…

It doesn’t work.

What usually ends up happening is a whole lot of wheel spinning and figure-figuring on how you can avoid spending money. The thoughts get a little circular, too. It is rooted in a fear of failure… and because you don’t know whether it’ll work or not, you’re afraid to spend any money on the idea.

People know they need web hosting. But, I’ve had some people who go over to Siteground (the web host I recommend), look at that intro-level plan and balk at the price. The intro rate is just $3.95/month, but you do need to enroll for a year or 2 at a time. It’s been awhile since I’ve done it, but maybe you need to sign up for 2 years to secure that intro rate? Even so… that would run about $94 if that’s the case.

So, $94 for TWO YEARS of hosting with a solid web company. Is this actually a problem?

I’ve watched people get into the weeds trying to use some free theme they found… all because they didn’t want to buy a premium one.

Or… they may try to make a “sales page” using some page on that free theme. It sits there and makes no sales because it looks like garbage… all because that person didn’t want to spend any money on a landing page builder.

So, it comes down to a basic matter of startup mindset here.

Every business has startup costs. Every single one. It just so happens that an online business has much lower startup costs than almost anything offline. So, that’s great! But, you can’t expect it to be zero.

If you’re going to be a business owner, you have to be OK with a little bit of risk. We’re not bettin’ the farm here. You’re not mortgaging your house here. We’re talking about very small, itty-witty startup costs in the scheme of things. But, you HAVE to be willing to do it.

You’ve got to put a little skin in the game, too. This isn’t even just about the fact that there are certain tools you need to even function online. It is also about the effects on YOU – mentally – of having a little bit of skin in the game of this idea. When you put a little money on the line, it is more REAL. Things got a little more serious at that point.

So, my recommendation for anybody who is in that “start from scratch” phase is…

Set aside some money for the purposes of startup costs. Just assign a dollar amount… maybe put it aside into a separate bank account.. and make that money that you put forward solely for the purposes of startup costs for your business.

Ideally, it would be an amount of money that you could lose and your financial situation won’t change.

At a bare minimum, I would recommend about $500 as a startup fund. If you can do more, then maybe up it to $1,000. If you go the higher amount, it would allow you to use some paid advertising to help jump things off. For the $500, it’d be mainly about acquiring the requisite tools of the trade. My personal recommendations would be:

  • Web Hosting from Siteground. In almost all cases, their cheapest plan is fine for startup.
  • Email List Hosting. Either Aweber or ConvertKit.
  • Thrive Themes membership. Will give you pretty much every marketing tool you’re going to need for Wordpress. VERY effective “bang for the buck”.

That $500 would get you pre-paid for quite awhile for hosting, get you all the Thrive themes tools, and pay for your email hosting for quite awhile. It you can swing it, you can even pre-pay for email hosting for a year and save some money.

But, then once you do that, you get busy. You have date-specific goals and targets. And you take concrete action to build the business on top of those tools.

Again, though, you have to be willing to take on those startup costs.

It is simply unreasonable, in my opinion, for anybody to expect to spin up a serious, profit-making business without spending any money. Not only from a tools perspective, but also just the self-defeating mindset that it would lead to.

I’ve worked with enough people by now to know this is true. 🙂

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